LA one man band (though there are plans to expand this into a full touring entity) Cursed Entity think they’ve hit on a good idea on their debut album Rites of Darkness. That idea is to fuse an old school black metal sensibility to a bass-driven superstructure of post punk misanthropy, with the result being a brand, ebony-shined genre called deathwave.
And, in essence, they’re right. Songs like Nightmares do have a certain Joy Division scowl underpinning the cod-tortured vocal stylings of Sal “Hellraiser” Yanez. Sensibly the man throws in a bit of melody via the application of keyboard washes to almost every song, the result being a sort of Cure–Flock of Seagulls–Dani Filth confection that won’t fail to bring a begrudging smile to the lips of any dark-minded souls who stumble across the album on their way to their local graveyard for a dash of nocturnal cider and knee trembling.
Ritual Sacrifice fancies itself as a bit of a dancefloor favourite, pushing throbbing bass and syn drums to the fore above another Hookesque bassline, whilst Creatures of the Night has a nice DIY feel to it that’ll have old punx sifiting through their seven inch collections thinking they’ve heard it’s strident trenchcoat posturing somewhere before.
They won’t have, of course, but there is a resolute eighties worship about much of the material on Rites of Darkness that will certainly have you second guessing yourself on more than one occasion. This is a solidly enjoyable listen, even if most of the original material on offer could do with a bit of editing (opener Gates of Hell for instance, has said all it has to say after about four and a half minutes yet drags itself on for another two) and Yanez’ slightly one-dimensional howl does get a bit grating occasionally. Three covers out of ten songs is also probably a little too much, giving the overall impression that the band might perhaps have been better served by releasing an all-original EP of really strong material by way of introduction rather than this ultimately rather hodge-podgy affair.
These, though, are merely presentational, cosmetic problems. The bones of the concept are sound, the talent is clearly present, and given more time and a bigger budget, I’m absolutely confident that this outfit have a classic album in them.
Cursed Moon will release Rite of Darkness through Hells Headbangers on October 27th.