by Mark Allen
– Senior Columnist –
There are no certainties in life, and that axiom holds true in the macrocosm of metal music where bands rise and fall on a daily basis. But even in the face of such uncertainty, you can bet the last penny in your pocket that this won’t be the last time we hear from Final Curse. Unlike Lindsay Lohan or reality TV, this band is too damn good to just go away. Their motto is “No Bullshit, 100% Thrash Metal” and there is no need to read the fine print, because there isn’t any. The band’s strategy is simple: mesh the thrash styling of Metallica and Megadeth with the pure power of Pantera and the frantic fury of Slayer. To say they have succeeded would be an understatement equivalent to calling Dimebag Darrell an OK guitarist.
Final Curse hail from North Carolina, but their sound is firmly rooted in Bay Area thrash. That said, like any new band worth their chains and leather, Final Curse bring their own ideas to the table. Sure, you can hear plenty of early Metallica or Testament in the band’s approach, but it is not slavish mimicry or simple regurgitation of what has come before. Final Curse are crafting their future by borrowing from the past, but they are most certainly their own band with their own artistic expression.
Final Curse know thrash. Know it the way someone knows every curve of a long-time lover’s body. Forget faux flash and soulless sizzle; Final Curse maintain tight control over every element of their sound. They are tight and focused and professional rather than careening crazily out of control in pursuit of speed for speed’s sake. The guitars power up some pummeling riffs that demand you bang your head and really, there’s no use even fighting it; just have a neck brace ready for when the album ends. The drums are slammed around like an Al Qaeda terrorist in a CIA rendition program while the bass flexes its muscularity with some thunderous bottom end. Rounding out this heavy-hitting juggernaut is a vocalist who knows how to properly deliver this kind of stuff. No guttural growls that sound like a glass-and-gravel cocktail being dragged over the singer’s esophagus, no metal-core screams that sound like a cat being doused with gas and set ablaze…just aggressive singing that is not too far removed from Hetfield’s vocal style. It’s the complete thrash metal package and it’s big enough that you should be impressed.
Equally impressive is how many ear-snagging tracks there are to choose from. “Corruptor of Innocence” is so Metallica-like that you’ll swear it was an unreleased B-side from …And Justice For All. “Reaper of Justice” rocks, rolls, and rages with more high-velocity spit than a rabid camel and more venom than an anally-violated viper. “Dethsamane” dabbles with some gang vocal punch to accompany the frenzied shredding and relentless rhythms. And “Rage Around Your Neck” may just be the best thrash metal anthem of the last five years thanks to vicious beats, an unholy helping of attitude, rampaging riffs, and a killer chorus.
If you have been lamenting all the Cookie-Monster-is-constipated “-core” music that passes for thrash these days, Final Curse has got what it takes to turn your lamentations into celebration. This is old-school, pure-hearted thrash metal that sounds big and loud and bone-crushingly bad-ass. Pick this album up faster than a drum-trigger hammers out a double-kick and prepare to have your ears blessed by Final Curse.
Genre: Thrash Metal, Heavy Metal
Mike Plowman (vocals, guitars)
Fernie “Ferndog” Ortega (bass)
Madison Stegall (guitars, vocals)
Brendon Blackwelder (drums)
1. Corruptor of Innocence
2. Replace God (Conceal the Beast)
4. Rage Around Your Neck
5. Reaper of Justice
10. Is There No Hope?
Label: Dark Harvest Records
Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10