Cursed 13 – Black to the BlindMonday, 27th January 2014
“I will not play and create music that are meant to fit into a folder, I play what the devil tells me to play and the musical references are from a wide variety of genres. That’s how it used to be and in that perspective I think that Cursed 13 is old-school black metal, by breaking new ground instead of taking the safe paved roads.
“How would YOU label Cursed 13?”
Ah, ever the table-turner you are, Mr. Hejarmadr. Cursed 13’s frontman/guitarist/founding member posed this question to DR after we posited the band was not black metal after repeated listens to the band’s quite excellent Triumf (Carnal Records) debut. To these ears, they’re closer to the early 90’s Stockholm brigade, just without that really annoying retro blotch that so many lesser bands are getting down with. These songs are catchy, pretty dirty, and above all else, worthy. But back to that “label thing…”
“Well people always categorize pretty much everything and I understand it to a point, it helps to get a fast idea of what to expect,” says Hejarmadr. “Of course you can just call it ‘metal’ but are you then talking about Iron Maiden or are you talking about Marduk? There’s quite a big gap in between. Of course, art is in the eye of the beholder but since we humans tend to interact with each other, categorizing makes communication faster. To call Cursed 13 a metal band would be very misguiding because of the references that people already have.”
Well stated. As far as the formation of Cursed 13 goes, the starting line is 1998, where upon they were called “Cursed 666” (“I was young back then and with age comes wisdom, right? If we talk symbolism or numerology 13 has a greater meaning for me. And yeah, most people tend to agree,” says Hejarmadr). The band quickly signed with Black Plague Records, who folded a year later, leaving the band in limbo and their creations left to sit…and rot (of course). The band’s origins dictate the prospect of a one-man death metal wrecking crew, but those plans quickly were laid to rest.
“Well, in the beginning I had this naive vision about doing everything myself, but I eventually found myself in need of a drummer. Not just a guy who knew a beat or two but a real full time drummer with drums as an interest and as a trade. I’m the kind of guy who has that “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” attitude but I caved in and had to eat my hat.
“When I met Dimman (drums) after many years of struggle and trial/error, we started to gaze at the possibility to go live on stage. To do that we needed more people (simple math). With more people came the possibility to use guitar solos (which I suck at) and the story goes on. For the next release I have found a guy with another ability which I lack and that will be thoroughly used. More on that when we meet again, and that next release has seen the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Some of the songs contained on Triumf span well over a decade, but one wouldn’t know it if referencing the chug mastery of “Seductress” or the willfully dark plunge in the atmosphere department found on “I Love Cyanide.” These cuts are fresh, varied, and float with character. “I think that we got the best out of the old songs,” agrees Hejarmadr. “And the fact that the songs are written in different decades made the album more dynamic as a whole.”
“One of the big changes that has happened in the sound of Cursed 13 during the years was when my old friend Hulkoff of Raubtier forced me to tune down the guitar to B,” he continues. “He just came to visit me one day and picked up my guitar and started to change the strings. Then he said something like ‘Try it out for a while,’ and of course he was right. This was back in 2005 I think. Old songs like ‘Dead and Gone’ and ‘I Love Cyanide’ got a completely different and more aggressive atmosphere because of that.”
The new year poses numerous opportunities for Cursed 13, specifically on the live front, which should see the band put Triumf to work in the year’s early months. Work on album full-length #2 has already begun according to Hejarmadr, but for now, the Swede should be able to bask in the warm critical reception Triumf is receiving…and the fact it was released after all these years.
“Since we have put so much hard work on making it as good as it finally got, I feel pride,” he finishes. “It is a triumph in itself that it even exists.”