Finally, I seriously have been waiting for this album since Cursed released last year's furious EP, Blackout at Sunrise. No, scratch that because the wait has been going since I listened to II (their obviously titled second album), and while Blackout at Sunrise was a bit of a tease and served to get listeners through until III. Cursed lay down eleven tracks of their loud and brash version of hardcore/ punk thrashing with what is appropriately the band's third full-length, III: Architects of Troubled Sleep to my surprise includes none of the songs from their recent EP but instead offers a whole new batch of tracks with Chris Colohan's personal polemics to digest.
When I first put III on my stereo, the sound collage of individuals speaking create a nasty set up for "Night Terrors," a track that sounds like an anguished man in primal scream therapy that is exorcising all of his demons all at once. Cursed pummels their instruments with a fast tempo and buzz saw sounding guitars while Colohan wails at the seeming hopelessness situation of "civilized" humanity, "The death toll pornography they feed you all day comes back at night and it comes back in spades. Dead twin in the room staring back at you, with a message from all your tomorrows: ‘You Never Get Out.’ Are you hopeless enough?" The record just keeps pouring it on as "Magic Fingers" kicks the album up a notch with a powerful invective against Christian religion and its ties to business (a la the "Protestant Work Ethic" kind of theory) that is delivered with some ridiculous sounding descending scale guitars while the drummer, Mike Maxymuik, just attacks his drum kit. The lyrics are some of the best or rather eloquent that I have seen regarding the subject: "When they say Every Day is a Gift they mean Blessed Are the Working Poor, whose high hopes pay for all these golden crosses / Never catching up but never stopping, taxed to death and still repenting when they say that you'll burn up in hell if you die with this mark on your soul." The invective flies at the music industry on the pounding dirge, "Friends in the Music Business" as the bass and drums lay down a thick and suffocating groove as Colohan just goes off on a tangent screaming like an absolute madman; it is an interesting experiment by the band that I find myself being drawn to listen to its pounding call.
As "Into the Hive" blasts in with swirling noise and heavy riffing with an intense rush of voluminous sound, Cursed sounds as though they are on a mission to plow through the listener with a an absolutely vicious music accompaniment to what seems like a discourse on the commoditization of gentrification and condominium living in or around cities. "Unnecessary Person" is a great track having an almost lethargic tempo and execution that fits the vocal delivery just about perfectly; the song sounds filled with a dejected and demoralized emotional tone that comes from the darkest corners of the psyche. "Dead Air at the Pulpit" is another top notch song on III with its breakneck tempos and great lyrics regarding skepticism and contempt for television evangelists and their ilk: "Congregation, eyes skyward to Heaven while holy old white hands reach deep into their pockets for a taste of the Old Time Gospel Hour."
Cursed step up the variety of sound on III a bit compared to what they made on previous albums by experimenting with different sounds and production techniques, but this album also maintains the ferocious intensity that listeners have come to expect from this Canadian band, even with the multiple variations and timbres of sound (they are still heavy and pounding). I seriously believe that III is my favorite album by the band thus far and maybe their best record period, even though their other records are excellent as well. There is not a single let down throughout the whole album, and the momentum just builds and builds like a tidal wave hell bent on laying your city to waste. On a personal note, I am stunned by how Colohan puts into words some of the feelings that I have about organized religion, the daily drudgeries of life, politics, and other things that seem out of my control; regardless of my personal feelings about this album, everyone into heavy music should get this album immediately and have all their faces simultaneously ripped by its sheer vitriolic anger and disgust.
9.1 / 10
Cursed are one of those hardcore/punk bands that are genuinely worth people's time and attention. Their music is vicious, honest, and gloriously consistent. The lyrics are both personal and politically ...
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