Cursed - III: Architects of Troubled Sleep Review
by Mark Hensch
Cursed's III: Architects of Troubled Sleep is the aural equivalent of paranoid schizophrenia. Throughout its jagged 34 minutes, Cursed assaults listeners with songs equal parts diverse and disorienting. At times III careens with ferocious abandon, while at others it shakes with palpable anxiety. Twisted and surreal, the album makes for a night of fitful rest indeed.
The reason for this lies in Cursed's unique sound. Since 2005's II, the Canadian quartet has made a career out of combining grimy crust with nuanced fear-inducing noise effects. Though simplistic on paper, it is an approach that works wonders---Cursed's railing against society's woes is every bit as sophisticated as it is startling.
A perfect example of this can be in the opening salvo of "Architects of Troubled Sleep." Ominous buzzing rings behind a formless void of unnerving sound bites, monstrous roars, and chaotic sound effects. Though sonically a dull roar, the song itself draws listeners in slowly to a world clearly falling apart.
The destruction, then, comes in the form of "Night Terrors." "Terrors" is a blast of fetid, messy crust. Beyond this, its noisy explosions of rage are equal parts Pig Destroyer and Converge, with just as much vitriol.
"Magic Fingers," meanwhile, is a song which jangles with the nervous energy of early Discharge. Shouted slogans, bile-drenched riffs, and speedy blitzkriegs of power violence coalesce into a cocktail of punked out metal.
"Antihero Resuscitator," in contrast, slaps eardrums with slowly churning bass rhythms, all before taking to the streets with a riot of roaring malice. Fans of punk will enjoy this one, especially if they can handle some low-end grooves that hit like a sucker punch.
The nihilistic crawl of "Friends in the Music Business" is a sludgy monster declaring hatred for the very nature of Cursed's livelihood. Frontman Chris Colohan rants, raves, and retches his way through a startling vocal performance, while the rest of the band adds trudging stomp. The oldschool anarchy that is the song's climatic breakdown, meanwhile, almost makes the album by itself. The song thus becomes a veritable testament to the cathartic power of misanthropy, and a powerful one at that.
"Into the Hive" jettisons the band's typical grime into cosmic fields of sound, adding dense layers of ebony-sleek shimmer. Especially powerful is its bleak, chugging finale, the likes of which dies like the last embers of a fading star.
"III" rambles through landscapes of wrecked chords and gloomy melodies, conjuring up memories from Converge's masterful ambient pieces on 2004's You Fail Me.
It then transitions smoothly into the down-and-dirty ballad that is "Unnecessary Person." "Person" ambles through a nightmarish world of beaten down chords and intoxicated yowls, providing a wistful atmosphere halfway between defeat and hope. After listening to it many times, I am inclined to think it thematically leads towards the former.
"Hegel's Bastards" is a blast of noisy crust like Pig Destroyer in spirit and Discharge in sound. While earlier portions of the album smartly danced between different aspects of the band's style, "Bastards" sets a tone of speedy mania that persists almost until the end.
"Dead Air at the Pulpit," for example, follows this trend, eviscerating listeners with a massacre of frantic, rabid crust. Down and dirty, it wears down even the most steadfast of listeners in preparation for III's magnum opus.
Said epic comes in the form of closing cut "Gutters." Clocking in at over seven minutes, "Gutters" attacks with ethereal wisps of guitar which drift like smog over the polluted landscape of Earth. The song's only other distinct feature---an ambient hum of crushing paranoia and anxiety---sounds like troubled music for a troubled world.
And perhaps it is. III confronts a variety of cultural failings with rage, sadness, regret, and even defeated acceptance. It is a testament to the band's talent that such a gamut of emotions comes across clearly in such a short album length while still being entertaining too. Cursed is a band to watch, and music fans looking for aggressive, heady, and chaotic music will be well pleased with III.
Cursed's III: Architects of Troubled Sleep
1. Architects of Troubled Sleep
2. Night Terrors
3. Magic Fingers
4. Antihero Resuscitator
5. Friends in the Music Business
6. Into the Hive
8. Unnecessary Person
9. Hegel's Bastards
10. Dead Air at the Pulpit
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Cursed - III: Architects of Troubled Sleep
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