It seems like I’ve been covering various takes on doom metal all year, so how about some good, old-fashioned California thrash for a change of pace? Trio Blessed Curse just dropped their second album, an EP entitled Beware of the Night, and we definitely pick up the pace with this one.
While I normally hate starting out with negatives, I have to get this out of the way, because it’s going to color most everything that follows. I’m not sure if it’s the fault of the musicians, the production, or the promoter giving me 128 kbps MP3s, but musically, this album sounds borderline awful. The bass is way too high in the mix, the snare sounds flat, and things are clipping all over the place. I’m no production elitist, but yeesh… If there weren’t gems of good ideas on the album, I would have deleted it and moved onto something else.
With that out of the way, I like a lot of the ideas Blessed Curse are putting out in Beware of the Night. Opener Faster Than Hell would fit in well during the mid-1980s Bay Area thrash era. As the title indicates, it’s a ripping track guaranteed to get your blood pumping and Tyler Satterlee’s vocals are snarling and nasty, which should appeal to fans of Venom and that ilk.
If your neck needed a rest after the first track, follow-up Berserker slows things down a bit. Don’t get too comfortable, however, because the track begins accelerating around the three-minute mark. At this point, you should be limbered up enough for Sent to Die, another high-speed ripper.
Call Upon the One, the longest track on the album at 7:45, is easily the most diverse track with varying tempos and some atypical musical structures. I have to admit, however, that despite its diversity, it doesn’t contain any real "fuck yeah" moments that justify its length.
Blessed Curse aren’t treading much new ground here, but assuming the non-promotional version of the album sounds better, Beware of the Night would be a welcome addition to the catalog of any old-school thrash fan.
Special thanks to Secret Service Publicity for the complementary review copy.