War Curse

The thrash genre largely misfired in 2018 but for nostalgists and enthusiasts alike, 2019 has been far more fruitful in delivering solid thrash goods. Boasting a hard-hitting style and no-frills old school attitude, Ohio’s War Curse offer a familiar blast from the past with just enough modern sensibilities and crunch to avoid being another cog in the retro thrash wheel. Influences range from classic Metallica, Testament and Slayer to a variety of reference points from the classic thrash playbook. However, without the solid instrumental skills, character and song-writing individuality, Eradication, the band’s second LP, could easily be mired in derivation and rehashed mediocrity. Fortunately, War Curse ensure this isn’t the case.

Eradication may lack a degree of adventure and originality, but I’ll be damned if it isn’t simply a rock solid, tight and punchy collection of thrash tunes, minus bells or whistles. “Asylum” serves its role as a catchy, riff-ready opener loaded with killer riffs, tons of energy and catchy hooks. It’s a strong primer for the material that follows. Despite donning several key influences proudly on their sleeves, War Curse exhibit a freshness to their writing that finds the band avoiding slipping into derivative retro thrash territory. Certain tunes raise the stakes and rise above the pack but thankfully there are no throwaway tunes or pointless interludes, as War Curse aim for the jugular and largely deliver a consistently entertaining thrash platter.

The exhilarating “Sands of Fate” is a neck-wrecking cracker of a tune and one of several notable highlights scattered throughout Eradication. Strong dynamics, streetwise grit and headbanging groove compliment a tune packed to the hilt with boisterous energy and powerhouse riffs. “Iron Veil” finds War Curse deftly balancing explosive bursts of aggression with pleasingly melodic currents. Adding to the arsenal are several inspired guest spots adorning the album, including killer solos from Forbidden’s Glen Alvelais (“Asylum”) and Heathen’s Kragen Lum (“Serpent”). Meanwhile a strong vocal performance from Exhorder’s Kyle Thomas lends steel and attitude to the scorching “Deadly Sins.”

The musicianship is watertight, with the shared chemistry and energy evident through the strong workmanlike individual performances. Forgoing unnecessary flash or flair, guitarists’ Joshua Murphy and Justin Roth get the done efficiently with aggressive, catchy riffs, sleek melodies and ripping solos. Meanwhile vocalist Blaine Gordon’s decipherable, classic thrash bark has enough grit and personality to stand on its own and drive numerous memorable choruses. The only real knocks against the album is that it offers nothing particularly original or earth shattering, while several of the track lengths nudge past their welcome, causing some minor bloat to an otherwise tight and vibrant package.

Eradication is a finely tuned album from the up and coming thrashers, successfully merging a rough and tumble aesthetic with refined and precise execution. War Curse confidently mesh their old school values with modern sensibilities, addictively crunchy riffs and infectious song-writing, hammering out an album that sits among the stronger thrash releases unleashed so far in 2019.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
June 26th, 2019


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