6th October 2023 0 By Jon Deaux

Having built a devoted fan base for their thrash-oriented metallic attack starting with 2015’s Final Days and cemented with 2019’s Eradication, War Curse returns in 2023 a more refined animal. In fact, it could be argued that the ten tracks of Confession stand as War Curse’s Black Album, having the courage to move beyond what they’re known for to focus on songwriting, groove, dynamics, and melody, without compromising on muscle one iota. “We experimented with new sounds, old sounds, took in new influences, old influences, and let the songs come together as organically as possible,” states guitarist Justin Roth. “We threw away quite a few songs that would have been great if they were written for previous albums but didn’t feel right for where we’re heading. As far as our current direction, the music we consume is all over the map, a lot of it way outside of the metal sphere. I hear bands doing new, interesting things with their music and I want to be able to do the same with mine. If I lose my thrash card for it, oh well, I’ll hand in my battle vest.”


With extensive touring plans in 2020 falling apart due to the pandemic, War Curse spent several months in purgatory before deciding to dust off their instruments and start writing a new album. With the uncertainty of not knowing if they would ever get a chance to play music again, it was speculated that this could be the band’s swan song. With the world in a strange place, motivation came and went, reflecting the tumultuous day-to-day change in information.

This led to the writing process taking a year. Time well spent. “We demo recorded every song two or three times, picked them apart, edited them, and then rehearsed them in a room together. We allowed the process of collaboration and experimentation to take us wherever the waves carried us. Compared to previous releases, we were a lot more critical of ourselves during the writing and recording process. We set out to make an album in the truest sense of the word, not just a collection of songs.” This is very much apparent when listening to Confession, from the agitated, muscular title track with its widescreen chorus, to the driving “Power Of The Powerless”, or the equal parts triumphant and steamrolling “Sowing Division”, every track standing on its own while taking its place in the overall picture. A major aspect in pushing their sound forward are the vocal contributions of Blaine Gordon, who emanates confidence in ways he has not previously. “On Eradication Blaine replaced our previous vocalist in the studio, on very short notice, and mimicked what was already written. This was the first time he got to add his creative input. He pushed us in a more melodic direction, and (Joshua) Murphy and I backed him up with guitar parts that felt harmonious with his vision. Likewise, when a part called for heavy or dirty vocals Blaine returned the favor tenfold.”

The album title is succinct. “It feels like a confession of sorts. It’s the most vulnerable and honest I’ve allowed myself to be with War Curse lyrics. There’s nothing to hide behind when you write music like this. We’re standing naked in front of everyone. We poured our heart and soul into this album, and now the world gets to judge us for it.” The title track itself focuses on the Catholic confession ‘loophole’ – “Be a piece of shit your entire life, murder, rape, steal, and as long as you tell the guy in the wooden box what you’ve done, all is forgiven.” Despite that, there is a recurring biblical theme running through the album, with “Miracle Broker” about the Joel Osteens of the world, “selling enlightenment while fake paraplegics hop out of wheelchairs.” Then there is “Return to Dust” – a phrase ripped straight from the bible – which “is about a situation we found ourselves in, but told from the perspective of Adam and Eve, the snake, and the betrayal.” They also ask a lot of big – and timely – questions on this record, which adds extra depth: “What does it mean to be a struggling person in today’s unforgiving society? What is it like to watch humanity deteriorate before your eyes? What is it like to wake up every day wishing that you hadn’t?”


Six months were dedicated to tracking the record, based at Amish Electric Chair Studios in Athens, Ohio, the band self-producing with a lot of helpful input from engineer Neil Tuuri. Despite having essentially complete songs before entering the studio they once again tore them apart and worked on them as they recorded, shedding a full eighteen minutes from the ten tracks, cutting all the fat, and making sure each one was a well-timed blow to the solar plexus. The band also recorded every song the old-fashioned way, in full takes, attempting to capture the authenticity of a live performance. What the listener hears is exactly as it was played in the studio. “We used our live guitar rigs. The same amps and cabinets you hear when you see us play live. You’re hearing James’ actual drums. Blaine sang the parts as you’re hearing them. A lot of things are not textbook perfect as a result, but it’s an accurate snapshot of what War Curse sounds like. We’re proud of that.”


The band hopes that this record builds them a bigger following and is willing to put the work in to help make this happen, having a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most entertaining, exciting live bands around. Roth is honest when asked what else he would like to achieve with War Curse. “For some dumb reason, it’s very uncool to admit that you’d like to achieve goals in the music industry. Success is viewed as some kind of dirty word. I’ll never understand that mentality. But what the hell, I’d like to play big stages and sell a few records along the way,” he smiles. “More than that, it would be nice to build something that lasts.”

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