Cursed Sun are a band that fall between too many stools, I’ve often thought.
They’ve been plugging away for years now with their melodic, chunky metal, and yet even reading that description says to me that it’s hard to know what else they’re about.
Seeing them over the years has confirmed my view that they’re a potentially cool band marred by terrible vocals – it’s what I thought on day one, and what also seems clear with this new demo.
Yet what’s even more frustrating is that this time round, they’ve managed to pen a song that is so far above their usual standard that it shows what potential really is there when they try.
And that’s the story of this release – a handful of common or garden Lamb Of God style workouts, plus one superbly written tune and its acoustic reversion.
So first up all the ordinary stuff. ‘Breeding From Bleeding’ is LoG and perhaps Trendkill-era Pantera territory with a bit of melodic harmony giving it extra metal points, but when the singer goes from growling to a few deeper roars, it just shows he’s not clear in his own voice yet, and it sounds a bit immature.
‘Cataclysmic Decline’ is moderately better, again with that Trendkill feel on foot of the more prominent bass element to the mix in the pre-chorus. I do like the cleaner bit in the middle, showing a good ear for dynamics – it’s well applied. The guitar solo, as elsewhere, is crisp and well done.
Later we have ‘Primordial Chaos’, in which we hear a laughable Harry Potter style baddie vocal sounding Very Evil Indeed intro’ing the song, for no real reason that I can grasp. The track itself isn’t the worst, with a good pulsing beat at the middle. Again, solid solo with good tone. But really, that intro… cripes.
So now to the good stuff, where praise is hugely due. Cursed Sun have written nothing short of a peach in their title track. Think of a slightly more metalized Stone Temple Pilots and you’re largely there: the two fabulous chord sequences at work in the song are woozy, modal and floating, while the nice tapped guitar lick over the top of them works very well indeed.
I really love this track, and I think it’s great that the also tacked on an acoustic version of it to the end of the demo as well, which so obviously suits it. So well done there.
Just a note on the vocals, which I’ve criticised elsewhere in these pages over the years. I dont want my moaning about them to sound like bitchy ad homs, because that’s not what they are; I dont know the band and dont know the gent with the mic.
But they just have a lot, and I do mean a lot, of work to do in getting them up to scratch. The acoutic version of Amygdala really exposes this quite badly, where notes are searched for high and low, with no hope of discovery.
The constant flitting between different types of growls also suggests that the band dont quite have their own voice yet either; it’s not variety and dymamic, it’s dilettentish and unconvincing.
But anyway, I’ve said enough and dont want to be more of a cunt than I have to. You get the point.
This kind of metal always does seem a bit suspect to me, a little facile, but I’m glad they’ve shown some deeper abilities with that standout track. It would be so much more satisfying to hear them explore this side of their interests than boring, conveyor belt metal in future.
– Earl Grey ::: 31/01/17