War Curse - Official Website


United States Country of Origin: United States

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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: October 20th, 2023
Genre: Thrash
1. The Nothing (That Is Me)
2. Fortress Of Agony
3. Confession
4. Miracle Broker
5. Power Of The Powerless
6. The Convoy
7. Return To Dust
8. Sowing Division
9. Rusty Nail (Grip Inc. Cover)
10. Illusion Of Choice

Review by Felix on November 13, 2023.

After four years without a new full-length, War Curse return. Soft guitar tones welcome the listener. Is this another intro of the “calm before the storm” category? No, it’s rather an omen. The dudes from Ohio have made some steps from thrash to power / heavy metal. This is usually the wrong direction from my point of view. But I don’t want to prejudge the band for this stylistic move. Not only this – the more I listen to the songs, the more I enjoy them.

Of course, it takes some courage to connect melancholy and thrash, because they are not natural partners. But this is exactly what the musicians do. The songs have an accusatory, thoughtful and mournful aura. Okay, it is true that I miss fury and ferocity to a certain extent. But War Curse score points in other fields. Their melodies are often expressive, because they combine catchiness with force. It’s no brutal force, but the main thing is that any type of sugary lines does not show up on the entire album. The band’s talent to pen great melodies leads almost directly to the next extremely positive detail. War Curse know what has to crown a song. It’s naturally the chorus, and so they deliver a handful of excellent examples. 'Fortress Of Agony', 'Power Of The Powerless', 'The Nothing (That Is Me)' and some more songs boast fantastic chorus lines. That’s doesn't matter of course in view of the dark and fatal touch of the material I have already mentioned. 'The Nothing (That Is Me)' embodies a perfect opener. It’s stomping verses, the great riffs and the clean vocals form a piece that Testament or Metallica would be rightly proud of. Speaking of Testament, "Low" and Confession share more or less the same degree of heaviness. But War Curse do not mix five killers with some fillers. Their mostly mid-paced material is free from obvious stinkers. Instead, they offer cool numbers like 'The Convey'. Here lead singer Blaine Gordon varies his vocals cleverly and presents clean lines as well as raw messages. Additionally, the song shines with a menacing undertone and a discreet yet very expressive vocals line. I agree that its aesthetics lie in very close proximity to some Testament tracks, but I don’t care. I rather enjoy its great melodies once more. Fans of Forbidden will like them as well.

The riffs are never violent, but they do not lack sharpness and profit from the excellent production. This is the adequate, modern sound for the musical offering of the quintet. Transparency is written in big letters and guarantees a profound heaviness. Neither an instrument nor the voice fall by the wayside. This technical elegance goes perfectly with the stylish artwork. This is visual thrash art against the trend: no stupid neon-coloured or “radioactive” cover, painted in shrill yellow or red, makes you think of avoiding the album. At the end of the track list, the album shows little signs of weakness. 'Sowing Division' fascinates with a pretty aggressive instrumental part, but the “brother against brother” part is surprisingly lackluster. Moreover, with the choice of 'Rusty Nail' prove War Curse's taste, but they fail to give the Grip Inc. title its own flavor.

Nevertheless, I hope that Gus Chambers (R.I.P.) enjoys the song wherever in the universe his soul is currently floating. Maybe he even shares my excitement about the formidable closer. 'Illusion Of Choice' is almost as good as the opener and offers the last outstanding chorus. Thus, I must say that War Curse presents simply good music, no pure thrash metal, but still very recommendable sounds.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10