Album Review: War Curse, ‘Confession’

3.5/5

Sometimes, you need a good metal album to kick you in the teeth. Enter War Curse and their newest album, Confession.

Arriving via Blacklight Media, Confession solidifies War Curse’s place in the modern metal militia, delivering a tight album with deep lyrics, electrifying guitar solos, and deep grooves.

The production of Confession is sharp. The blast beats from drummer James Goetz hit your ears like seismic rattlesnakes: massive in scale and quick to put you in a heightened sense of alarm. Shit is about to go down. With Johnnie Wallace’s booming bass, Confession has the concrete support that allows guitarists Justin Roth and Joshua Murphy to deliver titanic riffs and blistering solos. Blaine Gordon’s vocals are clean and crisp, invoking the howls and screamers of thrash’s past while infusing in some elements of modern melodic alt-metal/alt-rock (in the sense that songs like “The Convoy” or “Fortress of Agony” would be radio hits, if radio was still cool.)

Lyrically, Confession is reflective as it explores themes of religion, power, politics, and strife – as one might expect with song titles like “Power of the Powerless,” “Sowing Division,” and “Illusion of Choice.” Guitarist Roth said that War Curse’s songs are “usually written about a specific person or situation, but worded in a way that’s less direct, as to be relatable regardless of where you might stand politically or when you find the song.”

However, it’s unmistakable that War Curse stands on the side of the oppressed against hypocrisy and exploitation. “No middle ground to stand on / it’s been washed away / pay no mind to / what the other side thinks,” sings Gordon on “Sowing Division,” a song about how nefarious forces pit “brother against brother” in an attempt “to keep the peasants fighting” and “convince them that they’re free.”

Roth said the band “experimented with new sounds, old sounds, took in new influences, old influences, and let the songs come together as organically as possible” on Confession. With nine original tracks and a blistering cover of Grip Inc.’s “Rusty Nail,” Confession may not come off as “experimental” as that description might sound, and honestly? That’s okay. This is pure thrash in the year 2023.

A photo of the band War Curse

Confession marks the second album with vocalist Blaine Gordon ) who replaced the band’s previous singer on 2019’s Eradication. With COVID-19 scuttling the band’s touring plans, one can look at this album as essentially a second take at a first impression, another chance at War Curse starting the next chapter.

War Curse didn’t seek to reinvent the wheel but to establish who they were and the direction they were going. With that successfully done here, the band could dabble in more diverse sounds on future albums. Or they could double down on the sound they made on Confession. Either way, it’s likely to bang your head.

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