Cursed CD RELEASE PARTY with Fucked Up , Protest the Hero , Damn 13 and the Cancer Bats at the 360 (326 Queen West), Friday (May 6). $10. 416-593-0840. Rating: NNNNN
Even before Cursed released their great new Two (GoodFellow) disc, I had a feeling it was going to be my kind of hardcore album. I'd heard the cover of the Stooges' Search & Destroy they released as a preview on 2004's Hell Comes Home EP. Raw, aggressive and thoroughly pissed off, Cursed attack like they've got a score to settle.
Yet their heavy wallop has little to do with the digital chicanery happening in hardcore today. If anything, Cursed's scorching second album - which deftly balances the group's punk and metal inclinations - seems to have more in common with mid-period Entombed or even Discharge than with any of their conventional chug 'n' grunt contemporaries.
Two should establish them as essentially a kickass heavy rock band. It just took a producer like C'mon's guitar ace, Ian Blurton, to help them unleash their inner Sabbath.
"We each listen to a lot of different things," says singer Chris Colohan, waking up after a show in Edmonton, "but modern hardcore isn't one of them. That overly processed sound that's popular now holds no interest for us. We plug straight into old tube amps - no effects - which is why we wanted to work with Ian. He has a good handle on the kind of heavy music we like."
That thick guitar grind - reminiscent of early 70s Black Sabbath and their prog-psych cohorts on Vertigo - is fast becoming a hallmark of Blurton production jobs, and it's really what sets Cursed apart from the crowd. Evidently, there was no computer gimmickry involved, but Blurton has more than a few old-school techniques he's picked up over the years.
"He has really good judgment and a way of making suggestions without being imposing or trying to steer us in any direction. He understood where we wanted to go and knew exactly how to help us get there.
"Ian's got a million little tricks. I don't want to give too much away, but he did this one thing where he recorded a part and then played it back over a piece of sheet metal with a speaker at one end and a microphone at the other about 3 feet away. We listened back and of course it sounded amazing!"
Since the January release of the Two album, Cursed have already noticed some changes in their audience mix while touring Europe and now across the western provinces.
"I think the crowd that's showing up is quite a bit different than what many people might think.
"There are still a lot of hardcore kids, but we're also getting metal fans and a lot of city people who just like heavy rock - and quite a few women, too, which is great."