Hailing from Perth, Australia, Cursed Earth come out of the gate with an EP dripping with toxic brutality. Entitled Vol 1 - Growth, the band pull no punches, opening salvo 'War March' immediately introducing the listener to a dissonant guitar line before crushing percussion adds the familiar depth and tone you need from good, honest hardcore metal.
The tempo shifts slightly, evolving into a head-nodding groove that simultaneously lays a beatdown blueprint and reassures you that Thy Art Is Murder are making a fine choice taking these boys out on tour in July.
'Broken' follows, a blast-beat trip through hardcore that is reminiscent of early Chimaira before a furious breakdown envelopes the song with pummeling chords and cymbals, all in under 100 seconds.
The pace is continued on 'Discarded', a no-holds barred tune that again morphs into an infectious groove and the bands first delve into deep, guttural metal vocals and even a touch of black-metal-esque chord sequence - displaying a variety not typically associated with the genre. That said, the final 10 seconds have to be responsible for a significant portion of violent crimes in Perth; one feels that if the hammer-like riff sequence found at the conclusion of this song lasted 35 seconds, someone might have died in the mosh pit.
'Sanctioned Violence' follows a similar pattern, engaging in riff seemingly deliberately designed to make the listener fill with blind rage; intense, bile-laced vocals add edge to a wall of blunt trauma tone and take it's leave in under two minutes.
Finally, 'Violated', the album closer - typically the time for a clean riff, maybe a ballad dedicated to an ex-girlfriend or lost relative. A few lead patterns, a nice chord pattern? Well, Cursed Earth didn't get the memo, and instead opt to try and take your jaw off. The pace begins furiously before following the band's already tried and tested journey into sludgy, trudging sections - though this time a few changes in tempo keep the listener on the edge of their seat in what is a hardcore roller-coaster of an effort.
Cursed Earth don't fuck around, and Vol 1 - Growth is an irrepressibly heavy and aggressive hardcore album that comes in like a tornado, tears your living room to bits and leaves minutes later. An impressive start.
Review by Sam Lewis