Sunday, 27 January 2013

Bright Curse - ST (album review)

Moody, groovy and dark.  This downtuned and bass-driven collection of four longish tracks and a short intro are what happens when a psychedelic flower child discovers doom, or is that the other way around?  Bright Curse is the brainchild of Main Row (of Paris, France), Sammy (of London, England) and Zach (also from France), who have gathered forces for one common cause.  To spawn the heaviest, darkest music they can muster.

Their particular brand of heavy is darkly psychedelic.  Bright Curse are like a carnivorous plant, their thunderous bass and thick guitar attack expelling a stench like rotten flesh, pulling back the leaves of heavy during the verse to put those brightly colored vocals on display to attract its victims.  To ensnare captive listeners so that they may unleash their crushing waves during the chorus.

The band employ a number of techniques to achieve their dark psychedelic sound.  Take "What's Beyond the Sun?" as an example.  Echoed vocals atop a bright and spare guitar sound with a dominant and insistent bass line creates the feeling of floating freely in vacuum, before the distortion pedal is finally depressed and that floating feeling quickly turns to free fall.  The deep, heavy tone that Main Row gets is like an annihilation wave eliminating all in its path.  It's really something.  The contrast between the "light" and "heavy" or "light" and "dark" amplifies the force of the tone.  This dynamic approach is employed throughout.  Another way that contrast is achieved is through the vocals themselves.  While other bands might have taken a grunting, growling or screaming approach in order to match the aggression of the thick guitar tone, Main Row keeps the project grounded in a psychedelic rock foundation.  He sings quite forcefully, but in a natural, unaffected voice.  He also matches the mood of the songs quite well, showing a dynamism to match that of the band.  When the song is excited, so is he, by singing from lower in the diaphragm with a belly full of fire.  When the mood calls for it, as it often does during the verses, his tones and melodies are honeyed.

Bright Curse take their atmospheric wizardry to higher form on "The Hermit" with ascending harmonies and their best and most striking use of light/heavy dynamism yet.  Although it's just their first release, Bright Curse establishes a strong identity here: bass-bruised space cruise music haunted by high harmonies.  This signature sound promises to make them one of the most distinguishable and recognizable bands for months or years to come.

Bright Curse are collectors, nay, cultivators of moments, creating sparse aural vistas of drifting spinning voids as a backdrop for splatters of imploding spiral galaxies collapsing in towards irrresistibly heavy centers.  They are content to build slowly, never wearing out a riff's welcome, painstakingly framing their colossal statements with loads of negative space.  Stark is the word here, and yet the songs are never static, they are busy, they are always moving and they move inexorably toward the heaviest areas available.

Highlights include: "The Hermit" and "Mind Traveller"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 34:20

From: London, England

Genre: Psychedelic, Doom

Reminds me of: Abrahma, Black Space Riders, Enos, Wheelfall

Release Date: November 15, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Step off the space platform into the unforgiving reaches of the void.

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