Thursday, July 26, 2012

Moon Curse - 'S/T'

Being just another drop in the bucket isn’t necessarily a bad thing and Milwaukee’s riff-rocking trio, Moon Curse, contribute their straight forward brand of doom-tinged, stoner rock to an already overflowing pail with mixed results. Falling somewhere between the beer soaked grooves of Red Fang, the classic rock inspired stoner riffs of Egypt, or Dead Meadow’s homage to 60’s and 70’s psychedelia, Moon Curse treads a well worn path with little innovation or individuality to truly carve out their own niche. This lack of innovation or individuality hasn’t stopped a multitude of bands from finding success either through the sheer determination of a road-warrior work ethic, word-of mouth praise, or simply satisfying the need for more of a good thing. Enter Moon Curse. While the band probably won’t baptize new initiates in the murky waters of stoner or doom metal, it does have the potential to satiate the need for more of a good thing.

Barely creeping beyond EP status, Moon Curse’s self-titled debut opens strong with the album’s doomiest riff and some impressive, eruptive drumming. The initial promise of “Medicinecoma” quickly erodes, though, as the song launches into bouncy, hard-rock/stoner-rock territory. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it certainly is unremarkable. The song finds life again in the chorus which utilize the song’s excellent, doomy intro, and amid the beautiful, acid-toned guitar solo in the song’s latter half. The second track, “Brontis”, is not too far removed from the album opener, save it relies more heavily on lead guitar soloing. It’s another capable, up-beat, hard rock number that establishes a groove early on and it doesn’t let up. “Northern High” is easily the standout track of the album and it’s the band’s most moody and interesting composition. It’s hard to dismiss the vocals of this track as they employ a similar, if not identical, vocal effect to Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan”, and guess what? It works. The song is carried along by a catchy bassline and atmospheric riffing until it propels into a whirring, stoned-out instrumental passage that is mesmerizing. “Chandra” is an odd-ball tune that can only be designated as filler. While it serves as an introduction to the organ that is used on the last song, it’s a two-minute long instrumental that is both mediocre and misplaced. The longest track and album closer, “Black Elk”, is easily the second strongest tune on the album and it contains the most impassioned vocal delivery of the lot. It’s the most complex composition and fluctuates between classic rock inspired stoner metal and doom.

Moon Curse have unleashed a competent, if not average, debut that is slightly marred by its lack of consistency and originality, but based on the strength of tunes like “Northern High” and “Black Elk” the band displays promise. They may not be innovators, but they certainly are adept students and most fans of the genre should be able to appreciate Moon Curse due to the familiar territory they choose to occupy. Though the band’s Bandcamp page doesn’t identify this release as a demo, it surely sounds like one and it could be an indicator of greater things to come.

Words: Steve Miller
(Originally published at Doommantia)

Moon Curse Bandcamp

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