What CURSED EARTH achieved on the first volume of Cycles of Grief was a resounding and incredibly volatile EP that thrashed and kicked with some truly thunderous power. Continuing the themes and sounds, Cycles of Grief Volume II: Decay picks up literally where its predecessor ends, crafting the second half of what is essentially a full release for the band.
Where Volume I showed the young band to be viciously aggressive, Volume II simply capitalises on this. Kicking off with Regression, the monstrous guitar tones come out in full force. The screaming vocals of Jazmin Luders adds in a further edge to the already razor sharp sound and with the tense guitars that shrill towards the end of the track it becomes apparent that the second half is set to be a far more visceral experience than before.
Grief is perhaps the most abusive track on the short EP, with the slow intro building ample atmosphere before the final minute and a half becomes crashes down like a tidal wave of hardcore angst. The themes carry over from Volume I and it does just raise the question of why not release a fully crushing debut instead of the two EPs, because given the quality of material on Volume II, it makes the previous entry almost an after thought.
What makes CURSED EARTH such a formidable young act is their seamless combination of riff led hardcore with death metal blast beats, all whilst soaked in a tone that wouldn’t be amiss on a NAILS record. There is a real sense of scathing anger that seeps through the music that Rage (The Cost) encapsulates well whilst the closing track Eternal flexes their melodic wing with arguable success, working only really well in order to bring back their apocalyptic base sound with aplomb in the second half of the song.
CURSED EARTH represent another addition to the constantly growing and prolific Australian metal scene. Their visceral sound is akin to a blender being thrown at your face and the atmospheres it creates are heavy and often unsettling. With some unnecessary ventures towards clichéd melodic moments on the final track, Cycles of Grief Volume II: Decay is a crushing culmination to the story set up by Volume I, and it certainly asks a leading question that if the band have the material for two EPs of this calibre, where will their debut take them?
Cycles of Grief Volumer II: Decay is out now via UNFD.
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