War Curse – Final Days (Self-Released)Tuesday, 3rd November 2015
Arising in 2013, Cincinnati Ohio’s War Curse normally would be seen as hopping on a bandwagon given their thrash orientation during this current renaissance of the style. Dig deeper into the membership though and you’ll notice drummer James Goetz has a decade plus of seasoning in other power/traditional bands like Division – plus a few spins of their debut effort Final Days prove the quintet delve a little more into the power/traditional side of things to keep away from becoming pure rip offs to their youthful record collection.
Keeping their eyes on a sound that remains melodic in terms of offering a selection of classic power riffs or engaging mid-tempo hooks, the band has a lot of love for the 1990’s transitional time period when acts like Megadeth, Grip Inc. and Iced Earth weren’t afraid to inject some outside classic or exotic phrasing to the proceedings. In fact of the six songs that appear on this recording, only the opener “Dawn Patrol” has more of that uppity jackhammer rhythm nature that is quintessential to the old Bay Area charge. War Curse’s strengths lie in the dual rhythm/lead skills of Justin Roth and Joshua Murphy and the aforementioned James’ effective tempo juggling maneuvers that allow “Severed Crosses” and the almost seven minute closer “Drudge” to escape conventional thrash platforms and give off more of a Metal Church vibe.
As a vocalist Tarek Puska will not be mistaken for any Halford or Dickinson oriented soaring clean passages – his delivery very militant, mechanical, and measured in line with the departed Gus Chambers (Grip Inc.) or possibly a cleaner Tom Araya. If given the chance to call the shots, some people would probably like to see Tarek break out of his tendency to follow the riff to a barking tee in verses for “New Chemical Warfare”, but that can be easily rectified as the band gains more seasoning and comfort on stage. Political and social injustices provide the bulk of lyrical content, while the production values for this material is beefy and solid.
Final Days may not gain War Curse a wide birth of adulation to the new generation who live for shock and awe technical tactics, but in the end their street level power approach has more long-lasting appeal. File this in the potential category.