Archive for cursed

Burning Love: Rotten Thing To Say

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 31, 2012 by Magadh

Burning Love Rotten Thing to Say Southern Lord

I’ve always had an affinity for Canadian hardcore. Yannick’s  label, Great American Steak Religion (now Feral Ward) played a  significant part. The mid 90s was a great time for Canadian hardcore and bands like Shotmaker, Chokehold, One Eyed God Prophecy and the mind blowing Union of Uranus all released material via Yannick’s label. Cursed seemed like the heirs apparent to this proud tradition; they seem an appropriate place to start a discussion of Burning Love.

When people talk about Cursed they talk about how it all ended. I’m often struck by Hunter S Thompson when I think of that night in Germany. In Fear and Loathingin Las Vegas Thompson wrote:

Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run… but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant…
History is hard to know, because of all the hired bullshit, but even without being sure of ‘history’ it seems entirely reasonable to think that every now and then the energy of a whole generation comes to a head in a long fine flash, for reasons that nobody really understands at the time — and which never explain, in retrospect, what actually happened….
And that, I think, was the handle — that sense of inevitable victory over the forces of Old and Evil. Not in any mean or military sense; we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply PREVAIL. There was no point in fighting — on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave…
So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill ….. and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark — that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Hardcore, for me at least, has always engendered a sort of esprit de corps. Perhaps that’s why Chris Colohan’s announcement, via Cursed’s blog, all of the band’s passports and money were stolen from a supposedly secure room in a German squad resonated with me. Colohan later described the action as, “a bullet in the head for the band,” and he was right. Cursed died that day, betrayed by a community that purported to be so much more. The wave broke in Mulhiem and the band was pulled under.

Endings create beginnings, and so it is with Colohan and Burning Love. Rotten Thing to Say is the band’s second LP but the first to find vocalist Colohan well and truly out from Cursed’s shadow. The record itself is more Tubronegro than Totalitär but the increased emphasis on rock’n  roll riffs serves the band well. That isn’t to say it is devoid of darker hardcore elements. Tracks like “Tremors” and the instrumental “12:31” bear a bit more than a passing resemblance to some of Cursed’s fare. This may owe something to the record having been culled from 2 years worth of material. The band’s real strength lies in tracks like “Karla”, “Made Out of Apes and “Pig City II”. Here, Burning Love effectively fuse hardcore sensibility with rock’n roll riffs and more developed song structure. It also never hurts to have Kurt Ballou and his God City magic in your corner.

Rotten Thing to Say  is an excellent sophomore effort and I encourage folks to head down to their nearest independent record store and pick it up. If you can’t find it in your area the fine folks at Southern Lord are always happy to help. Burning Love have just wrapped up a US/Canadian summer tour with a variety of Southern Lord colleagues. October/November should see them out on the US East coast and South so keep an eye out.

– Captain of Games

Review: Hammers

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , on June 20, 2012 by Magadh

Hammers Vardøgr

For a guy currently sitting here wearing a Thor’s hammer, I’m surprisingly edgy about bands that use a lot of Norse imagery. How sad it is that Norse culture, so complex and varied, has come to be the playing thing of a bunch of numpties who could barely spell Ginnungagap. Of course, there are plenty of bands that manage to use Norse iconography to create something dark and interesting, without foisting a bunch of anachronisms on 9th century Scandinavia.

Why am I on about this you might ask? Because I nearly overlooked the new release by the band Hammers from Manchester because of this simple prejudice. This is not to say that we’re never going to review right wing stuff on this blog. But, dedicated antifascists that we are, there has to be a really good reason to do it.

[Addendum: In light of the exchange in the comments below, we would like to stress that Hammers is not a right wing band and we by no means meant to suggest that they were.]

Anyway, that’s beside the point. Contrary to what you might think from seeing their imagery, and the fact that their album is called Vardøgr, are not a black metal band, or a Viking metal band, or anything of the kind. For those who are interested, vardøgr are spirits in Scandanavian folklore that are sort of like doppelgangers (but different). This in itself tells you something about Hammers. They chose do name their band after an interesting and complex cultural phenomenon, rather than some sort of berserk warrior or savage creature. Although their music has the occasional black metal tinge, it is much more comparable to dark crust bands like Masakari or Cursed, with perhaps a bit of Fall of the Bastards added in for good measure, although even this doesn’t quite do it justice.

Their songs roll along at furious tempos, now more melodic, now more atonal, always dark and depressing. They have a lot more variation in tempo than your average d-beat band, and this adds to a kind of chaotic demeanor to their music. They also seem determined to pack about twice as many licks into each individual song as most bands mining this particular vein. The juxtaposition of styles can be quite breathtaking, from power violence, to thundering double bass, to straightforward hardcore all in the space of a few seconds.

The lyrics to their songs are a mélange of dark imagery. Kind of like a lot of bands in this genre, it doesn’t do much good to try to find direct meanings in what they say. Rather, it’s a matter of allowing to texts to meld with the music, presenting a larger, darker totality. This is the sort of record that it helps to be in a good mood to listen to, because Hammers music is the kind of thing that causes clouds to cover the sun.

They’re apparently touring Europe now. Once they are done, I demand that they come to the U.S.! Obey me!

Magadh