REVIEW: WAR CURSE – “Eradication”
These thrash soldiers aren’t a bunch of upstarts in a garage worshipping their heroes. They are a group of seasoned veterans whose callused hands and chord work are a testament to their dedication to the craft. Ohio based ‘War Curse’ returns with a star-studded line-up even without getting into their guests’ performance on this new record – ‘Eradication’
The album artwork is straight up apocalyptically portraying a drowned world and a raven, a sort of symbolization of death. The grim imagery can be interpreted in a manner of the end humanity has brought unto itself going by the theme of the record. It wastes no time and explodes right from the get-go with ‘Asylum’ a rhythm guitar dominated the track with an opiate of aggression in it. The song features Glen Alvelais (Forbidden/Testament) and his signatures is laid out prominently in the solo sections. ‘Sands of Fate’ experiments with some middle eastern influence yet retaining all the thrash elements. The structure is tight, and it has a certain definitive Priest vibe to it. Drummer James Goetz boasts some amazing chops and plays intricate patterns that add character to the tracks. Plenty of lead guitar and even a gnarly but neatly executed bass solo too. ‘Possession’ continues to tread the same path of aggression, but its more groove induced. Throughout the album, there are structured breakdowns and this one has a jazz element to it with progressive changes in time signature & patterns. There are more songs featuring collaborations too. Kragen Lum (Prototype/Psychosis) features on the already released ‘Serpent’ and Kyle Thomas in ‘Deadly Silence’, both of which have some ripping guitar work. ‘Iron veil’ sticks to the old school path on its sound and rhythm topped off with some of the tastiest lead guitar work. The title song ‘Eradication’ brings back that gnarly bass and has got it all, from winding riffs, great drumming, soul-tearing guitar solo work and some proper thrashy vocals by frontman Blaine Gordon, it’s got the element of carnage it should possess and satisfies till the very end. The final track ‘Polluted minds’ is not only a well-written song lyrically, but it has a different vibe to the musical layers too. Once again axe wielders Joshua Murphy & Justin Roth absolutely own the assault along with Jason Viebrooks giving them that backend girth and a massive wall of sound on bass. The album closes with this track fading slowly. Very…slowly.
Each tune is loaded with mad riffing and backed with a steel structure of thrash dominant patterns. Some may accuse this pattern of being generic and if you zone in on any one of them chances are it will sound that way. However, the strength of the album is how it brings all these so-called “generic” passages together to create something magnificent. The rhythm sections are no slouches either and dominate the record whether setting a frenetic pace or barrelling through some groove. There’s no shortage of lead guitar for you lovers of shred out there and drumming is a perfect marriage to the rhythm sections. The bass is prominent, growly and provides girth and dynamics to the layers. Production is top notch and each of the instruments has their breathing space. At 44 minutes in length, it’s decently long enough but leaves you yearning for more. Finally, what I like best about it, is that though the patterns are structured rigidly you don’t feel a sense of repetition as every song has something different to offer, even if it’s just a little bit, the overall tone and vibe is vastly different from the other.
‘Eradication’ is a rhythm guitar dominated record showing off great modern variation within structured patterns all while retaining that iconic thrash metal sound. Whether you’re a battle-hardened thrasher or newbie, this album delivers right till the end proving that thrash metal has plenty of life in 2019 and is not going anywhere anytime soon.