Recorded at Dirt Floor, Haddam,CT
Produced by Eric Lichter & Curse the Son
Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Steve Wytas
August 2015 - January 2016
released March 18, 2016
Ron Vanacore - Guitars and Vocals
Michael Petrucci - Drums
Brendan Keefe - Bass
All songs written by Curse the Son
"Since making their debut in 2011 with Klonopain, tone has been a big part of Curse the Son‘s game. Led by guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore, the Hamden, Connecticut, trio has swapped out its rhythm section since then, first introducing drummer Michael Petrucci on 2012’s follow-up, Psychache. That record was and remains a gem of rolled-groove righteousness, proffering lumbering Sabbathian vibes grown out from the debut and marked by particularly strong songwriting. Not necessarily trying to do too much, but hitting a fine balance between the aforementioned tone and execution. The outfit’s third offering is Isolator.
Recorded at Dirt Floor in Haddam, CT, it marks their first CD release through Delaware’s Snake Charmer Coalition — STB will follow-up with an LP version — and serves as the studio debut of bassist Brendan Keefe, who complements and bolsters Vanacore‘s guitar work strongly on the seven-track/40-minute full-length. Indeed, while I won’t take away from the progression in Vanacore‘s self-harmonizing vocal approach as evidenced on songs like “Gaslighter,” the semi-title-track “Aislamiento” or swinging closer “Side Effects May Include…” , Keefe‘s contributions prove essential to making Isolator the forward step that it is for the band. They are a richer, all the more immersive and soulful outfit than they were just a few years ago.
Many of the core touchstones remain unchanged in terms of their influences. Black Sabbath, Sleep and so on continue to resonate in Vanacore‘s thick riffing, but there’s a new edge as well in the vocals that’s especially engaging in light of Goatsnake‘s Black Age Blues. Not that they’re going for the same thing — no backup singers appear here, for example — but as the opening title-track unfolds from its languid start, its hook arrives in harmonized form and is an immediate standout and signal of intent. Likewise, the tempo of “Isolator” itself is rife with upbeat thrust in Petrucci‘s crash, its riffs in the first half being shoved along quickly such that I’d almost be tempted to call it boogie if it weren’t so darn thick. They break back to the quieter lines of the intro in the midsection and revive the chorus to set up a nodding bridge and final swing through the verse and chorus again to end.
Keefe‘s bass stakes its claim as well in the start of “Callous Unemotional Traits,” the slower pace of which opens up to massive tom hits from Petrucci and call and response vocal layering from Vanacore. For those harmonies, “Callous Unemotional Traits” is a highlight of Isolator, but it also speaks to the emotional struggle that seems to be a running lyrical theme throughout cuts like “Aislamiento,” “Isolator,” “Sleepwalker Wakes,” “Hull Crush Depth,” “Gaslighter” and “Side Effects May Include…” — which, if you’re keeping track, is all the songs. So maybe it’s a strong running theme. Fair enough. “Callous Unemotional Traits” nods out a downer finish underpinned by stomping tom work and Keefe‘s dense low end, leading to the gargantuan lumber of “Sleepwalker Wakes.” A subdued, echoing verse fosters a deceptively catchy melody, but again, it’s the harmonies of the chorus, “Alone/Alone/Leave me alone” that really make it. The second half of the track turns on drum fills to a last verse, but instead of going back to the hook, as on “Isolator,” they instead ride that plodding groove into the wah-drenched intro of “Hull Crush Depth,” on which Keefe takes the lead on bass, the verses populated by steady drums, Vanacore‘s vocals and sparse guitar noise before the fuzz kicks back in, builds, and ultimately recedes for a swap in vibe that, as the centerpiece, only further emphasizes how far Curse the Son have come.
Starting with the drums, “Gaslighter” works similarly to some degree, Vanacore shifting to a lower register vocal and moving forward in the mix. There are also some ambient sounds worked later on that are either keys or falsetto singing, but even bringing the verses and chorus forward marks a change in intent. “Gaslighter” is the shortest track here at 4:24, but leaves an impression in its later blend of swing and chug, in its fluid transitions and in its lyrics. It gives way to “Aislamiento” — the longest track at 7:13 — the Spanish title of which translates to “isolation,” and which unfolds a viscous, patient intro and nears the two-minute mark before it hits into the first verse, Keefe‘s bassline keeping the roll moving forward as Vanacore‘s guitar wahs out, coming back to full tone for the fluid shift into the chorus. The flow is smooth as they cycle through again and the bass drops out to let the guitar and drums creep and give Petrucci a chance for some Bill Ward-style jazzy tension-keeping. Bass and full-fuzz guitar return as Petrucci keeps the vibe going, and riffs build in intensity accordingly, nodding back to the chorus without actually delivering it and pushing outward on a few last lines from Vanacore before crashing to an end.
“Side Effects May Include…,” which bookends some of the Goatsnake stylization of “Isolator” and also revives the multi-layered vocals, an open, almost Alice in Chains-y verse kicking in after thudding toms. They chug and roll through one last hook and at around 4:30 on a Keefe bassline, they turn to a more swinging last movement. Keefe takes a welcome solo that comes through from under the guitar, but Curse the Son finish crashing as a full trio and in fine form, someone noting after the amps click off that, “That’s fucking ridiculous,” only to be answered, “That’s fucking rock and roll, right there.”
You will not hear me argue. For at least the last half-decade, and actually longer, Curse the Son have been a too-well-kept secret holed up on the line between heavy fuzz and doom. Isolator, as their strongest offering to-date, not only lives up to the standard of Psychache, but surpasses it, and can only hope to turn heads in the band’s direction. It may not be genre reinvention, but the way Curse the Son reform stylistic tenets to their purposes throughout Isolator is what allows the album to truly stand alone."
Connecticut's finest return with their third full length. This is stoner doom in the vein of Sleep, Electric Wizard and Sabbath. Massive fuzzy riffs, wailing vox and swinging rhythms abound from the off. There is actual bass playing too! The production is spot on; nice and live sounding with care and attention applied (double tracked vocals) to make the record sound thorough and mapped out. The title track shows all of the aforementioned in abundance.
After that barnstorming opener, you are hoping that the record will continue in the same vein... and it does. Even though that “Callous Unemotional Traits” is slower and more doomy, there is still a lightness of touch to the delivery (you can hear the left foot of Mike Petrucci on the hi hat keeping time! You don't get much of that these days- Ginger Baker would be proud) which makes the track feel quite airy and expansive. Ron Vanacore delivers his vocals with full conviction, all the while laying down tar thick riffs.
“Sleepwalker Awakes” is very low and quite slow- heavy stuff with an insistent and pulsing beat for the opening riff. There is a nice change of pace with mellow vocals and a more stoner and less doom verse section. It is a cracking track, with a strong vocal melody. “Hull Crush Depth” is a fairly mellow affair with thickness in parts, but relatively reserved in terms of attack.
“Gaslighter” is more Sabbathian with its swinging riff and plodding pace. “Aislamiento” features inventive hi hat and bass work as the band get into an almost jazzy feel for parts of the track- with weighty sections elsewhere to balance things out.
The album finishes with “Side Effects May Include...” which brings back the swinging feel of the title track over a longer playing time with a strong hook. The excellent bass sound is a bonus to the record generally, while the style of the music should satisfy fans of bands as varied as Pentagram and Fu Manchu. This is a very strong record which mixes doom and stoner in equal amounts to equally great effect.
Curse The Son are a band from Connecticut that plays a mixture of stoner, sludge and doom metal.
A powerful sounding bass guitar starts off the album along with some drum beats and once the music gets heavy and melodic it goes for more of a 70's doom metal style and the vocals are done in a clean singing fashion, the music also alternates between both the heavy and soft parts quite a bit throughout the recording.
A lot of stoner rock elements can be heard quite a bit throughout the recording while the heaviness of the songs brings in more of a sludge feeling. As the album progresses, more psychedelic elements are added into the music along with the bass guitars taking over as a lead instrument and the whole album sticks to a very slow musical direction from beginning to ending of the recording.
Curse The Son play a style of doom metal that is very retro in the 70's vein while also bringing in a touch of stoner rock and the heaviness of sludge to create a musical style of their own. The production sounds very old school while the lyrics cover darkness and hallucinating themes.
In my opinion, Curse The Son are a very great sounding mixture of sludge, stoner and doom metal and if you are a fan of those musical genres, you should check out this album.
RECOMMENDED TRACKS INCLUDE "Isolator" "Hull Crush Depth" and "Side Effects made Include...".
8/1 out of 10.
Extreme Underground Music Zine
When it comes to doom metal, there’s a shit ton of awesome acts. From atmospheric doom to funeral doom, the genre has never ceased to amaze me with its diversity and high quality bands. Curse the Son’s brand new stoner doom record “Isolator” is evidence that the genre will only continue to get even more great. You will see why the moment you start playing this record!
Most people associate doom metal with crushing guitars and bass that really bash your brains in with a slow tempo that is both hypnotic and immensely entertaining, and “Isolator” is no acception to that association. While it’s not as slow as say funeral doom, you can still get behind the tempo which is relatively slower but still manages to pack a real punch. The guitars and bass can stop being heavy and have a more rock orientated feel only to switch back to the intense metal. Then there are riffs that really wrap themselves around your brain and make you nod your head repeatedly to manage the beat of the excellent drums. The vocals have a great sound to them that go really well with the style of the band. Swapping from the real heaviness to a more mellow feel that pulls you out and puts everything in perspective, only to throw you back into the fire soon after. Curse the Son show that they make it work as they keep everything interesting, captivating you to keep listening because you’ve got no idea what they’re going to pull next.
In the end, “Isolator” is an extremely enjoyable album. Not just for doom fans, but anyone who likes a little bit of several different things put into one album. The end result being something monstrously good. Curse the Son show that they know exactly what they’re doing, that they know how to do it right, and that they will make you want to come back for more and more every single time!
The history of doom metal is one that runs deep and basically parallel with metal itself. From the first lumbering notes that emanated from Tony Iommi’s fret board, doom metal has been able to trace its roots right back to the genesis of it all. While it may have waxed and waned in popularity over the years and bands have been taking it on wild rides into uncharted territories for as long as anyone can remember, there are still those acts that play their doom metal the way the great progenitors of the genre laid down the blueprint for. One act that is doing their part in keeping traditional doom metal alive and well in their neck of the woods is Connecticut’s Curse The Son.
It’s been a roughly three-year hiatus since we’ve heard any recorded material from CT’s most powerful of power trios. But with new album, Isolator, firmly in hand, it’s safe to say that this band is ready to up the ante. Isolator is not just the best thing Curse The Son has produced since their debut was dropped back in 2011, but it may just go down as one of the best doom records you’re going to experience this year.
This album begins and ends with meaty, catchy riffs, soaring vocals, and a pummeling rhythm section. Front man, and sole original member, Ron Vanacore successfully allows his guitar work and vocals to battle for top billing throughout the album. With riffs for days that just absolutely slay, Vanacore does well to carry the legacy of all the great doom riff mongers that came before. His vocals, clean throughout, may be the closest link to all the great 70s proto-metal that helped build the genre, and keep getting named dropped whenever this album is mentioned in metal circles. This guy doesn’t just carry a tune when need be. He picks it up and tosses it head first into the storm. Meanwhile the rhythm section of Michael Petrucci on drums and Brendan Keefe on bass set the tone with a rumbling cacophony heavy enough to uproot a forest, melt iron, pillage any surrounding hamlets, and any other clichés you want to toss around. Simply put this band not only writes songs that will stick to your ribs, but can be crushing in so many ways when they want to be.
From the ripping title-track that opens this beast to the more dirge-like highlights, such as “Alslamlento” and “Side Effects May Include…” Curse The Son have graced us with an album that fans of such acts as varied as Sleep, Trouble, and Sir Lord Baltimore can safely get behind and embrace as one of their own without hesitation.
A timely reminder not to judge in haste. The brawny but slightly awkward opening title track on this album suggests that the listener is about to enjoy some pummelling stoner doom that pays homage to the greats of the 1990s. Which in itself would be an excellent way to spend an hour or so.
However, as the third full-length release from this US trio – who formed back in 2008 – continues, the creativity blossoms, resulting in a gorgeously rich, energetic and often thoughtful collection of life-affirming stoner misery and magic.
Sludgy heaviness adds muscle to the band’s superior rock sensibilities – think COC on steroids. The bass guitar sounds like a blue whale’s bowels. And the vocals of Ron Vanacore are at times reminiscent of grunge god Chris Cornell (i.e. like a hot knife beneath your fingernails, but packed with personality). Likewise, you can hear echoes of Layne Staley or Dave Wyndorf.
Songs such as ‘Callous Unemotional Traits’ show the musical influence of Soundgarden and Alice In Chains, while elsewhere traces of Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard spill out like ale from a keg.
The deeply enjoyable and refreshingly simple ‘Hull Crush Depth’ features a funky Primus-style finale, while ‘Sleepwalker Wakes’ is just a fantastic, stately stoner anthem to chill to.
The album loses a percentage point of energy towards the end, but there’s still some consistently great stuff on offer. ‘Isolator’ is the sound of a mature band willing and able to explore itself, while not sounding like it’s trying too hard. Seriously impressive.
Doom Metal Heaven
With an incredibly menacing presence, Curse the Son comes out with their third full length titled Isolator. Curse the Son plays low and slow buzzing doom that not only haunts you but gives you plenty of hard and heavy hitting riffs to rock out to. Curse the Son captivates your mind and holds it prisoner for the entirety of this release. Once you begin listening your mind takes off and explores previously unexplored soundscapes and gets lost in all of the wondrous fuzz filled doom sounds that are projected at you.
From beginning to end you find yourself on a smooth ride through a land where doom rules all and is as psychedelic as you would like it to be. There’s something about this record that drags you down with it. It tugs at you and pulls you under the massive rolling riffs and the psychedelic atmosphere.
To say that Isolator is heavy would be an understatement. At points it feels as though an anvil has been dropped on you and your bones crumble beneath it. There isn’t anything on this release to state that it isn’t heavy or that it is anything but striking mind altering doom. As soon as you enter the realm of Curse the Son you get lost in psychedelic and hallucinogenic madness.
Isolator is a sonic mass of that has the power to level you and your city. This release works its way into your mind like rabid doom worms and never leaves. Curse the Son have created a piece that is wholly unforgettable. It encompasses you in soothing clouds of smoke and takes your mind on a ride that it has never been on before.
With smooth and yet intense riffs, thick and silky bass lines, solid drumming and powerful vocals, Curse the Son in no time put you under their spell. Sooner rather than later you feel as though you are under a trance and when the album ends all you remember is that your brain was buzzing in your skull and then everything going blank.
Isolator is massive and there are no punches pulled here. This is an album that you can put on and enjoy over and over and over again without getting bored or wanting to change songs half way through. Each song is powerful and memorable and keeps you rocking out long after the album is finished. Isolator isn’t an album that should be taken lightly or be looked over as it will stay in your rotation for aeons.
Quick apologies for my lack of output today but I've had a busy week so I'll bring you as much as I'm able. I knew I'd be sharing Curse The Son's latest with you before I finished listening to the first and title track. Curse The Son sound to me like Clutch meets YOB in the best possible way that demon child could be spawned upon the world. In other words, this is doom filled with more groove than should be allowed by law.
Aside from different subject matter Curse The Son remind me a lot of The Order of Israfel (they're awesome so check them out!). This is a little more traditional type doom but with just a massive ton of bluesy rhythm which is something right up my alley.
Doom this damn heavy can be a little soul crushing at times to some but Curse The Son add in so much groove it feels uplifting to me rather than depressing. This is doom done right so fans of the genre should be rejoicing over this one. The title track, Isolator, sets the tone then Curse The Son put their foot to the floor chugging along for six more awesome tracks. Isolator brings a heavy blues groove letting you know that this will be a fun album to listen to right from the get go.
Callous Unemotional Traits (sounds like the description of a serial killer) has an old school Sabbath flavor with deep clean vocals that put Mike Scheidt of YOB in my head. It's the low end bass work of Brendan Keefe that are really the highlight of this album for me. People like to call bassists no talent hacks but Keefe's playing here says a very loud, "Fuck You!" to that notion. The musicianship all around is tighter than a frog's ass but Keefe was the stand out highlight of this entire album for me. Ron Vanacore's vocals were a perfect fit to the music as well. If you're a doom lover I see now reason you won't love this album. In a word, it's Fantastic!
Thy Demons Be Scribblin
Well, here we are again, writing, smoking and drinking coffee. I've been doing this for over a year now, a year of discovering new bands, new music, new friends perhaps. I do like this job but I know it's not going to last forever. No, dear reader, Merchants Of Air isn't planning on shutting down any time soon, but one day I will have to engage in other activities, causing me to have less time for all of this, perhaps even no more time at all. It would be a shame but I will have some great memories, that's for sure.
You've probably guessed it, this album is one of those memories. Hamden, Connecticut (US) based doom trio Curse The Son delivered a smashing album. I listened to it last night, while my wife and I were playing a game of Rummikub. Yeah, we do that a lot, it's way better than watching "Temptation Island" . Anyway, soon in the album Eline mentioned Black Sabbath and soon after Yob and Conan. She also nodded her head pretty much constantly. Living with a doom fan has done her well, that's for sure.
So yes, Black Sabbath and Conan seem to be the main influences for this trio. The first one is mainly present in the vintage riffs while the other one shines through in the sonic blasts of downtuned and fuzzed-out guitars. In fact, some of these songs could have been songs that Iommi and co forgot to write for their '13' album. To bad for Black Sabbath, but it's Curse The Son who wrote brilliant pieces like 'Callous Unemotional Traits' and 'Hull Crush Depth'. But there's more...
...which obviously is a good thing. While, at first, people might indeed see this band as some sort of a clone, they do have their own identity. Gradually that sound seems to form, grabbing influences from bands like Alice In Chains and Soundgarden along the way, mostly in the vocals. This combination of traditional, and often psychedelic, doom and grungy vocals is awesome. It makes 'Gaslighter' one of my absolute favorites, not only on this album but in the whole of 2016. There I go again, adding an album to my "best of 2016" list.
'Isolator' is Curse The Son's third album, one which shows a band that has grown and evolved. With this material, I feel that this trio can stand right next to acts like Kadavar, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats and Electric Wizard, and just as high on the festival line-up. I sure hope they will soon come over to Europe and conquer our Desert, Roadburn and Up-In-Smoke stages. Oh man, I want to see this live...
So doom metal fans all over the world, check this out and get your filthy hands on a copy of this mighty fine piece of doom metal. I do have to warn you though, there is a (ingenious) song named 'Side Effects May Include...'. One of those side effects probably is an enormous smile on your face, completely destroying your well-earned doomer imago. Perhaps that is why so many doomers wear those hooded sweaters: so that the rest of the world can't see them smiling because they found the best fucking music in the world...
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