Thursday, October 17, 2013

Cursed 13-Triumf

Carnal Records

Cursed 13, which is another band that has adopted a very cool heavy metal moniker, hails from Sweden and was initially conceived of as a solo-project of vocalist/bassist Heljarmadr (Domgård). Before changing to their current name in 2006 though, with "Triumf" serving as their first full-length album, they were previously known as Cursed 666. Under that name the (then) Jönköping-based act, which was formed back in the late nineties, released 3 demos, one of which was unreleased. Besides having one cool name, and also a sweet piece of album art-work that almost perfectly reflects the product that lies in wait inside, the 3 members of Cursed 13 come equipped with the ability to take fundamental black metal and give it a modern shine that is neither too slow or too fast, but just right. Opening number "No Return" might suggest that this is a band that chooses to explore their hatred through painfully slow, doom that has been drenched in thick black metal, but give this release a chance and things open up immensely with "Dead and Gone". And from that point on the record moves about in ways both mysterious and maniacal. Guitarist Grim Vindkall (also of Domgård) has more then a few tricks up his (probably spike-encrusted) sleeve and it's his adventurous playing that helps to give "Triumf" a modern appeal. Of course these days there are more and more up-and-coming bands that are looking to expand on basic black metal and while I've witnessed both good and bad aspects of such a movement I'm still caught of guard when a band like Cursed 13, which possess the ability to take a style of black metal that for far to long was just stuck in neutral, makes you think about the material at hand and engages the listener. Before we go too much further though I must point out that the drums are handled by Dimitri "Dimman" Jungi (Spazmosity, Grá, Wan, etc.). His style of playing covers a lot of ground from almost primitive, early black metal-inspired percussion to more uptempo, face-slapping drumming that enables Cursed 13 to rip out more furious, modern metal when the time calls for it. So what are we to make of the vast display of past and present black metal arrangements that make up the bulk of this album? According to bassist/vocalist Heljarmadr the (often times vastly different) 11 tracks here were written between 1998 up to 2013. So, in a way this album was 15 years in the making! As a result of how long it took to get the material from concept to tape, and in some cases re-work material that didn't exactly age well, the listener is treated to a debut-album that is pure black metal in it's most vile and hate-filled form, but with a crap-load of different arrangements that reflect the slow evolution of this band. In the end, and thanks to the talent of the 3 members of cursed 13, the 11 tracks that came together to make up "Triumf " all gel together in perfect harmony while simultaneously keeping the listener glued to the LP with it's many interesting twists and turns. Fans of both older black metal and modern black metal should really give Cursed 13 a chance as there is a ton of variety crammed neck-deep into this Swedish group's debut album.

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