Published Jan 01, 2006Striving to be the loudest metal band in the country might seem like a titanic aspiration, but when it's coming from Toronto's hottest hardcore commodity, Cursed, it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Likewise, Two, their latest effort, is an ear-bleeding excursion that deepens with each listen and seems set to blow the band up real good. At least in terms of gaining them an even larger fan base.
No strangers to the metal world, the five members of Cursed have all paid their dues in a slew of hardcore, punk and metal bands before finally settling on this long-term project. Vocalist Chris Colohan used to work his pipes for legendary hardcore punks the Swarm, as well as Left for Dead and Ruination; guitarist Radwan Moumneh previously riffed for Ire and the Black Hand; drummer Mike Maxymuik played with Colohan in Ruination; guitarist Christian McMaster shredded with the Swarm; and recently enlisted bassist Dan Dunham is also a member of Shallow, North Dakota. Put that history and experience together, and you've got one killer line-up who know exactly what they're doing. Surprisingly though, Colohan says "[Two] is the first thing we're all pretty much totally happy with."
A pretty stern judgment considering One is such an outstanding album. Released in 2003 on Converge vocalist Jacob Bannon's Deathwish, Inc. imprint, Cursed One successfully set the stage for the band and established their style of metal as one to be reckoned with. But Cursed aren't a band that are content to rest on their achievements. Rather, they practice a high level of both commitment and perfectionism when it comes to crafting an album.
"There was some mastering trouble with the last one, and just little things that kind of undercut it a bit, and this one we really just took a lot more time and the production was a lot different," says Colohan.
Where Cursed's debut was produced by the band, Two (released by Hamilton's Goodfellow Records) features the amazingly full production of Toronto mainstay Ian Blurton, who's been making a major impression on the Canadian hard rock underground lately with his new outfit C'Mon and recent production for the Illuminati. Tack Two onto Blurton's long list of successes.
Since Colohan drove and roadied for C'Mon and Maxymuik has recorded with Blurton before with Sinclaire, it seemed natural that he produce Two.
"It just kind of happened," says Colohan. "It was really easy to trust him because he had a really good sense of what we were doing. It wasn't like handing everything over to someone to make it into something else, he really took what we had and organised it really well. Chemical [Sound] is a really good studio. He did everything in analog, which was good because we, in terms of amps and all that kind of stuff, don't really use a lot of effects, we just like using old equipment that's really loud and really sounds good. "
As vocalist for the group, Colohan's lyrics reflect his up-front and exuberant nature, tackling major issues in his personal life and the outside world with force and clear-minded insight. In keeping with his driving, energetic and forward-thinking character, Colohan's lyrical soul-search has shifted considerably in recent years.
"I kinda write things nowadays rather than trying to take on the entire world in three minutes to sort of move through the things that are most bothering me, thematically. I think a lot of the first record is kind of [a reaction to] where I was at when we were writing it," says Colohan. "A lot of [the first album's lyrics] people took to be weird, vague songs about love, and they were actually really direct songs about sex. In the first [album] there's more allegory there's a definite running theme about immorality being in your own hands as opposed to somebody else's. The second [record] is a lot about cities and individuals in cities. There are only about three or four songs that are along those [older] lines on the new record, just about identity and modern urban life."
So what's all this about being the loudest band in the country? Mentioning this causes Colohan to break into fits of laughter while he explains. "Total unapologetic volume machismo is pretty much what's going on. Christian has actually toned it down. He used to go through three heads and five caps, now him and Radwan have one more top then we used to, so they just go through two each. We've actually come to be a little more compromising than we were before, because we would just blow places up clubs and PA's and whatever. We were at a veteran's hall with a bar with three tops going, and all of the lights and everything just kept going off. It was getting to be pretty funny. Yeah, plus I got wickedly electrocuted when we were filming a video. So we pulled it back a little bit, but not too much."