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Hazzard's Cure - Smoke Iron Plunder

Hazzard's Cure
Smoke Iron Plunder
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 26 April 2017, 12:57 PM

HAZZARD’S CURE is loosely a Black/Sludge Metal band based out of San Francisco, California, USA. I say “loosely” because much of the press I have read heralds the band for their lack of formula and genre limitations. Formed in 2009, the band has one previous full-length release under their belt. “Smoke Iron Plunder” is the band’s second, released at the end of 2016, and contains eight tracks.

“Master Of Heathens” introduces the album. Black Metal vocals combine with a fuzzy and muted amalgam of guitars, bass and drums. It’s like Black Metal and Black Sabbath had a child. The “wall of sound” is replaced by ultra-low instrumentation that sort of blends into a cloudy haze. “An Offering” is a bit longer, but the pacing is similar and it’s easy to get lost in that cloudy haze. Some accents provide texture but they are few and far between. “Hewn In Sunder” however starts with harmonized guitars, some clean vocals and a bit more “get up and go” to the sound. Without harsh vocals, is it Sludge Metal to the core. But again, with a disregard for genres, the bridge that leads to the solo and after the solo sounds almost Punk-ish. “No Hope” a slow, droning exercise in a sound that exudes absolute desolation. As the muted guitar notes fade, your life goes along with it. They really manage to steal all light away from the world with this track.

The slide guitar that opens “Sirens Wail” is a unique addition to the albums sound. It hangs around here and there and gives a Southern Rock feel, if the picturesque South was being pillaged by slow moving zombies. You can run but they will eventually catch you. “War Pipe” by contrast is a quick witted instrumental that clocks in at two-and-a-half minutes, and is led by a punchy running bass line and some linear movements in the guitar riff. “Gracious Host” is led by soft acoustical notes that soon spiral into madness. The Black Metal vocals are back and the doom and despair are on fully. There’s a bit of Thrash influence here with the fast picked guitar riff sections and it’s truly a unique offering. “This Is Hell” is the near to seven-minute closer. The first three minutes are instrumental in nature and when the rhythmic vocals come in with the swifter pace, it reminds me of the early work of SUICIDAL TENDENCIES.

“Amorphous” is the best way I can describe the sound here, but again loosely centered around Sludge and Black Metal. The tricky question is how a fan of a certain sound will find the surprises that are around many corners. I for one appreciate them, as it keeps things sounding fresh and not falling into a rut. The muted production is intentional I am sure, keeping with the overall style, but the murkiness of this approach keeps the extremes on either end from shining. If you are really looking for something completely unique, give this album a spin.

Songwriting: 6
Originality: 9
Memorability: 6
Production: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Master Of Heathens
2. An Offering
3. Hewn In Sunder
4. No Hope
5. Sirens Wail
6. War Pipe
7. Gracious Host
8. This Is Hell
Chris Corona – Guitars, Vocals
Leo Buckley – Guitar, Vocals
Shane Bergman – Bass, Vocals
Clint Baechle – Drums 
Record Label: Lummox Records


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