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Choice Cuts

Choice Cuts: UNDEATH Vocalist Explores The Chaos That Was CURSED

"Cursed is the one I'll forever hold nearest to my heart, and III saw them at the absolute height of their powers."

Choice Cuts 2022

“When the student is ready, the master appears.” 

The origins of the expression are widely disputed, but its message has proven itself accurate over and over again throughout my life so far. The first time my dad played me The Clash's self-titled debut and Topper Headon's opening shuffle on "Janie Jones" pulsed out of the speakers, it was like long-dormant hemispheres of my prepubescent brain suddenly sprang to life. Years later, having been raised on classic punk and punk-approved-rock but needing something that didn't belong to my parents first, the video for At the Drive-In's "One Armed Scissior" provided exactly what I had been craving in four minutes of awe-inspiringly controlled demolition. Most aspects of life have frequently confused and frustrated me, so when things instantly make perfect sense, it's never something I take for granted. And like The Clash and At the Drive-In before them, when a Canadian hardcore band called Cursed appeared to me, I was ready for them. I had been for a while.

Cursed had been broken up for a while by the time I finally got to them, but tales of their live show from older friends who had seen them only served to bolster my growing obsession. I have no idea if there's any validity to any of these claims, but when I told the oldheads in the scene that I was really getting into Cursed, I heard everything from "their guitar player only plays out of bass heads which is why his tone is so thick" to "when I saw them the singer broke his leg on stage and still finished the set before the ambulance showed up." I couldn't verify any of this, of course, but here's what I knew: their particular brand of ferocious, socially-concious-but-not-at-all-preachy, downright sinister hardcore was exactly what I needed in my life.

More specifically, their swansong, "III: Architects of Troubled Sleep" was the gift that kept on giving to my anxiety-ridden 16 year-old psyche. A brief sound-collage intro builds into "Night Terrors," which opens with frontman Chris Colohan laying a tortured scream over a lone blastbeat, and then the whole band spirals down into a barrage of blood-spitting hardcore that sets the caustic, paranoid tone for the album's all-too-short 35 minutes. Colohan provides you with a fair warning on "Night Terrors" when he sneers "Got problems? Now you've got problems," and make no mistake – the problems in Cursed's universe are vicious and seemingly innumerable. Everyone from predatory housing developers ("Into the Hive"), hypocritical bible-thumpers ("Magic Fingers") and loathsome music industry ghouls ("Friends in the Music Business," which is still the best "record company people are shadyyyyy" song of all time) pass through Colohan's crosshairs, and he dispatches them all with thorough and articulate care.

While hopes for a Cursed reunion dwindle more and more with each passing year, Colohan's projects since the band's breakup have filled the void the band left behind and then some. I'd highly recommend Burning Love to anyone who's at all curious what it would sound like if one of the best hardcore frontmen of all time lent his voice to a blistering death-rock frankenstein, and for the vegan straight edge folks out there (or really just anyone who misses the immediacy of his earlier bands Left for Dead and The Swarm), Sect is there to give you all the zero-bullshit hardcore you could possibly desire. Still, as much as I love all these projects, Cursed is the one I'll forever hold nearest to my heart, and III saw them at the absolute height of their powers.

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