Recorded at Underground Sound, East Haven,CT
Mixed at Underground Sound and Higher Rock
December 2012 - August 2012
released 01 January 2013
Ron Vanacore - Guitars and Vocals
Michael Petrucci - Drums
Cheech Weeden - Bass
All songs written by Curse the Son
"I'm a fool for soaring harmonies and the pendulous arc of the swinging doom riff. Therefore, I'm an absolute drooling moron for 'Psychache', the second album from Hamden, Connecticut trio Curse the Son.
The album grumbles to angry life on "Goodbye Henry Anslinger", named for a prominent campaigner against marijuana during the 1930's. Those soaring harmonies and pendulous riffs I mentioned in the introduction? Curse the Son waste no time stuffing them down your eager gullet. It's a stunning example of building up a furious head of steam during the chorus with vocals then gearing down with an ever deepening descending downtuned riff. Bludgeoning and belligerent, "Spider Stole the Weed" begins life as a corpse-dragging uphill march of awesomeness over sand dunes but morphs suddenly before your very ears into a screw-turning, odd-meter pile-driver of even more awesomeness about half way in.
From here, Curse the Son really start to come into their own as the mind-bending riff attack of Ron Vanacore takes over completely. It's this ability to turn a riff on its head from one moment to the next where Curse the Son gets the bulk of their charm. Actually, Vanacore can't take all the credit here because the tempo-changing guitar antics would be nothing without the sympathetic ear of drummer Michael Petrucci pitching in full bore. The interplay between these two is the cosmic matter that legends are molded from. Title track "Psychache" and "Spider Stole the Weed" are excellent examples of this complex and oh so beautiful interplay at work. "Somatizator" turns in another sparklingly filthy riff and vocal performance. This time the harmonization come in at a lower register to create a moody, demon haunted feeling which lingers and helps transition well into album closer "The Negative Ion". Easily the darkest of the six tracks on 'Psychache', it starts off with the midnight blue tones of a Geezer Butler like bass line courtesy the man they call Cheech. The song then opens up into some of the slowest, corpsey-draggiest and most epic moments on the album all leading up to an eerie understated finish.
Don't ask me why it took so long to find out for myself how amazing this band really is. One thing's for sure, 'Psychache' is a winner from top to bottom. Once heard, it could no longer be ignored or denied."
Highlights include: "Spider Stole the Weed" and "Goodbye Henry Anslinger".
"You need this album now. Curse The Son are back and hard hitting as ever. Their blend of Doom/Stoner Metal riffs will have you head-banging from start to finish. Taking influence from legendary bands as Sabbath, Vitus and Pentagram - Curse The Son still have their own original vision of riffs to pound you with.
The album starts off with the excellent - Goodbye Henry Anslinger - full of great 70s inspired Doom Metal riffs that the masters would be proud to call their own. Curse The Son have included some Electric Wizard inspired psych Doom riffage here.
It gives Curse The Son a heavier and more violent edge compared to their debut album. The band continue venturing into the darker and seedier side of psych on superb tracks - Psychache, Valium For and the brutal as fuck epic - The Negative Ion.
The Negative Ion feels like a violent out of control tornado jam session between Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Sleep and Electric Wizard all vying for musical supremacy. All we can do is sit back and listen to the heavy monolithic carnage blasting through our ear drums.
Vocalist Ron is on epic form through out. His vocals have a great Ozzy vibe but with a hint of Chris Cornell at his majestic best. But you still wouldn't want to make him angry as he has enough power to blast your entire body into dust!!!
I have to give credit to Cheech on Bass and Michael on Drums as they add some much needed steel to Curse The Son's sound. They lay down some heavy licks for Ron to build his riffs of mass destruction on. Very powerful stuff indeed.
I have gone on long enough. This album is brilliant. Plain and Simple. Fucking Awesome!!!!"
"Super heavy, ultra down-tuned guitars, high pitched vocals, monolithic riffs. Think of SLEEP’s “Dopesmoker” with a more groovy character or BLACK SABBATH’s “Dehumanizer” being 10 times heavier.
In matters of songwriting power “Psychache” outperforms dramatically the already great “Klonopain”. The band has literally made a big jump here offering some of the heaviest and most catchy material of the year. Another dramatic improvement has to do with the vocals. Indeed, Ron seems to be in better control of his vocal abilities and his vocal lines are simply amazing.
This is a damn near-perfect record with the most notable drawback being its small duration. With a span slightly longer than 30 minutes this album will make you feel that it ends as soon as it starts. On the other hand, this might be just me desperately asking for more.
Balancing between dark Doom and heavy Stoner this is as perfect this specific mix can sound. Essential listening…"
DR. DOOM'S LAIR
"There is no hiding a riff this thick, as guitarist Ron Vanacore makes known very early on in "Goodbye Henry Anslinger." How they manage to bring out the inner melody in an instrumental so down tuned is anybody's guess, but they do it beyond expectation. It is the vocals, also provided by Vanacore, that catch you completely off guard. His voice is unlike any you've heard recently, a melodic cry that seems contrary to the distortion that it accompanies. The two come together brilliantly, setting the bar high for the rest of the album. Thankfully, there is no letdown to be found here or anywhere else. rather than hide or mask their love of all things stoner metal, they display it openly on tracks like "Spider Stole The Weed." This is showcase piece for the rhythm section, with bassist Cheech Weeden and drummer Michael Petrucci further bolstering the low end. As they bring the sound wave down to new lows, they also bring the tempo down with it. But it isn't hard to pick out the noticeable and just as easily repeated groove. That theme, the undeniable groove, permeates the entire disc; forcefully at first, more subtly on songs like "Psychache." And despite being far more aggressive, it leaves so much for your mind to piece together. The last thirty seconds alone could be on mental repeat for days.
In a daring change of pace, "Valium For?" is a different kind of interlude track, one that builds from whisper quite riffs to a blasting mountain of guitars, bass and drums, if only for a second, before fading back into the silence from whence it came. But when your haunted house goes up a few days from now, it is "Somatizator" that will be your theme song. It embodies something eerie and sinister, something counteracted by Vanacore's signature voice. Coupled with the album cover, this could be the song nightmares are truly made of. The lyrics indicate as much, as Vanacore croons, "this is where the nightmares go, they find you when you're all alone." No amount of bluesy, stoner doom riffing will make that chill go away. Even as it fades, and "The Negative Ion" begins, the hair on your arms won't go down quite so easily. It wouldn't be a stretch to call this final monster one of the best tracks of the year, despite it's simplicity, simply because it infects you. The buzzing distortion, the effects laden main riff, it all fills your brain with smoke.
Curse The Son, a three piece band from Hamden, Connecticut, are all about the small things. Whether it be their obvious influences, their ominous artwork, or just the blues infused riffs and vocals they put onto recorded media, they are doing things slightly different from their contemporaries. And, as a result, they have recorded one of the best albums of the year, with "Psychache."
"First it was the album cover that creeped me out, then the tone of the guitars freaked me out. By the time the first verse was over I was already sold.
After living with the menacing stoner/doom that is Curse the Son's Psychache for a few months now, I still go back to it often. It still kinda creeps me out when I listen to it while walking my dog late at night. I've even looked over my shoulder a few times to make sure that little bastard from the cover isn't sneaking up on me to bludgeon my skull.
Some albums grab people's attention based on aesthetic alone. Psychache definitely turned heads through the high production value and overall package ... rightfully so!
However, the only reason we're still talking about it all this time later is because the songs fuckin rule! They stand out on their own, they hold up over time and those riffs are still ringing endlessly in our brains.
Recently it was announced that Psychache is going to be released on vinyl through STB Records ... considering the power of this album and the stellar reputation STB is gaining for the quality of their vinyl packages and Die Hard Editions; I for one can't wait to see and hear this album reach it's full potential. The best is yet to come for Curse the Son, enjoy the ride folks!"
ELECTRIC BEARD OF DOOM
"Psychache" is the 6 track follow up to Curse The Son's highly acclaimed "Klonopain". Disk opener "Goodbye Henry Anslinger" sets the tempo for what is sure to be a slow smoke-filled ride. Each sticky riff slowly oozes from the mammoth hands of it's creator and drags the listener through a muddy trench of sonic fuzz. The mood is way darker and the tunes are even a bit slower here on "Psychache" than on the bands previous effort, citing less of a traditional "stoner metal" or uptempo vibe and showcasing more of an early Cathedral meets Melvins style and pace.
Frontman Ron Vanacore's vocals are high and paranoid, giving each of these tracks the backbone of their eerie aura. Catchy riffs, gloomy verses and memorable choruses are abundant on this recording, as evident in tracks like "Spider Stole The Weed". "Somatizator" and the disks title track "Psychache" which is an instrumental jam that begins with some primal drumming and a quirky bassline that reminds this reviewer of Down's "Lies, I dont know what they say but..." before kicking into full gear and busting out riffs that set your speakers on fire for almost 5 solid minutes.
Being a fan of well-crafted doom epics that are a bit longer in the tooth, "The Negative Ion" is my personal favorite track here and closes out the disk running well over 7 minutes in total. The quietly played and soft spoken intro wets the appetite with an almost Pink Floyd-ian flavor, and even after the heaviness kicks in the band does well to keep this spacy groove prevalent throught the track. The hypnotizing guitar and thundering bass seem to rip open a huge black void, while Ron screams at us from another dimension and the timing of the drums keeps the stars perfectly aligned for the universe of doom metal that Curse The Son has collectively created here.
Curse The Son hit a huge homerun with "Psychache", a meaty fistful of fuzzy, low and slow tracks that are an incredible follow up to their first album and see the band going in a different and even heavier direction. At a time where most current doom bands are more worried more about how much they sound like they stepped out of a time machine from the 1970's, than coming up with original ideas and crafting deep, swampy music, Curse The Son stands out and seperates themselves from all the usual dime-a-dozen sound-alikes."
UP FROM THE UNDERGROUND
"The overall production of ‘Psychache’ is dense, heavy, and slightly muddy which suits the band well, especially on album opener “Goodbye Henry Anslinger” a tune that flat-out lays waste to anything the band has previously recorded. The main riff of the opening track is both impossibly thick and catchy. Vanacore’s vocals have come a long way and seemingly soar above the din, particularly during the higher-pitched chorus of “…Anslinger”. The second track, “Spider Stole the Weed”, is mired in the same slurry of fuzzed-out doom as the album opener, but it allows the bass lines of Cheech to breath and accent the song, particularly during the bridge. The title track, “Psychache”, is a pummeling, up-tempo instrumental scorcher that is followed by the brief, ambient indulgence of “Valium For?”. The aptly titled “Somatizator” is a lethargic, lumbering behemoth that grudgingly comes to a halt—pausing briefly for the swirling eddies of noise—before shambling forth again. “Somatizator”, probably more than any other song on the album, equally showcases the talents of all three players. The album closes out with “The Negative Ion”, a tune that would have fit in comfortably among the seven tracks of ‘Klonopain’.
TEMPLE OF PERDITION
"It’s been about a year and a half since Connecticut stoner doom trio Curse the Son released their first album, and clearly in that time, they’ve been through some changes. That full-length, Klonopain (review here) was a charmingly druggy exercise in riff-led doom, more engaging tonally than in terms of the songwriting, but still a solid showing from a band getting their feet. The upcoming self-released sophomore outing, Psychache, outclasses the debut on every level. I’ll reiterate because it’s worth reiterating that I enjoyed Klonopain a lot – I broke it out recently in advance of the band’s performance at Stoner Hands of Doom XII and found it had held up pretty well – but with Psychache, Curse the Son push themselves further creatively, performance-wise, production-wise and in terms of their songwriting. A notable change is the swapping out of drummer Charles Nicholas for Mike Petrucci (also of Vestal Claret, King of Salem and a percussionist for the touring incarnation of the Blue Man Group), who brings a crisp sense of professionalism that rests well in the pocket with bassist Cheech and guitarist/vocalist Ron Vanacore (both formerly of Sufferghost), while still also showing a subtle bit of technicality in complex fills and varied timekeeping. Petrucci is no stranger to plod, and in the lumbering riff in the post-chorus bridge of early highlight cut “Spider Stole the Weed,” the drums do more than just highlight the groove – there’s an active drive there – all three members of the band not so much following the riff as pushing it forward. Might be a subtle difference, but it goes a long way, and Vanacore’s vocals have also developed in confidence and range, so all around, Curse the Son emerge through these six tracks/31 minutes as a more mature, professional act. They remain very much of their genre – that is, Psychache is without a doubt a stoner doom album – but the band seems not only to acknowledge this, but to embrace it in a way that few of their peers are willing to do. For that, for Vanacore’s tone, and for the memorable choruses that work their way into several of these songs, Psychache is a brief but potent excursion that leaves its own footprints in well trod sonic paths.
About Vanacore’s tone: Partnered up with Connecticut’s Dunwich Amplifiers, the guitarist gets deep, Sunn-esque low end specifically crafted for the kind of music he’s playing. With Matamp-style richness, the riffs are carried across full in their sound. The production is clearly a step up from that of Klonopain, but it’s still comparatively rough. Nonetheless, the guitar dominates and the songs are all the more dynamic for it. Whether it’s the straight-ahead riff and thud of “Spider Stole the Weed” or the creepy beginning of opener “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” they remain natural while also holding firm to a modern clarity. That stays true as “Goodbye Henry Anslinger” gets underway with an instrumental introduction that comprises the better part of its first two minutes in establishing the riff before Vanacore’s well-layered vocals kick in. A sense of next-levelism is palpable. In “Goodbye Henry Anslinger,” the riff is a hook, the verse is a hook and the chorus is a hook, and though the track is over six minutes long, it remains catchy for the duration and accessible, showing growth in Curse the Son’s songwriting to match their presentation. The lines “Feels like a revolution/It comes from underground” serve as a memorable chorus and are delivered with classically doomed inflection in a vast echo that’s all the more appropriate for the hugeness of the guitar and Cheech’s bass. Structurally, it’s a basic verse/chorus/bridge/verse/chorus once the vocals kick in, but the psychedelia worked into the break following the first chorus gives the album an immediately varied base to work from, offsetting the riffly chug while Petrucci works a little funk out of the following verse on the bell of his ride cymbal. It’s a strong opening, and the momentum continues with “Spider Stole the Weed,” which boasts another commanding plod and some forceful use of wah in the guitar and bass prior to stopping at around 2:30 and restarting with a faster, more active pulse.
Here as well, Petrucci shines, taking the mid-paced riff and setting it to a march of ghost-snare hits as Vanacore’s melody follows the guitar line in stonerly tradition. Cheech’s bass fills as the verse of “Spider Stole the Weed” opens up to the chorus are also not to be forgotten. All through, there’s a sensibility of consciousness – of nothing happening by mistake – and even when Petrucci slips on a fill and hits his crash early at the 1:33 mark during the following title-track, the fact that Curse the Son left it in there feels like it was on purpose. “Psychache” lives up to its clever wordplay, opening launching with a quiet but nonetheless immediate before kicking full-force into an uptempo groove that, once again, the whole band rides with thickened classic stoner rock aplomb. It’s probably too tonally thick to be considered a shuffle, but the song nods in that direction nonetheless, instrumental for the duration and based around a riff memorable enough so as to stand on its own without accompanying vocals. There’s more construction to it than a jam might otherwise have, but that feel is there nonetheless as the trio show off the raw joy of locking into a riff and hammering it home. At 4:47, “Psychache” continues a stepping down in runtime – the opener was 6:21 and “Spider Stole the Weed” a no-less-efficient 5:50 – but the album’s shortest track is still to come with the interlude, “Valium For?,” which follows and clocks in at 1:11, fading up a horror-movie groove and what sounds like effects-laden child cries, gradually rising to a swirl and then fading back out.
The shift to a doomier style in “Somatizer” is well done, as is “The Negative Ion,” which opens quietly with “Planet Caravan”-style space exploration. Cheech’s bassline subtly sets the context for the track as a whole and when Vanacore’s guitar and Petrucci’s drums join in at around the two-minute mark, it’s not exactly unanticipated – they’d almost have to come in sooner or later or the song might simply drift away on the sleepy lullaby of the bass and Vanacore’s soft vocal – but righteous nonetheless, the riff already familiar the first time it’s played. Plodding, fuzzed and thoroughly grooved, “The Negative Ion” might be Curse the Son’s best blend of the stoner and the doom, the lyrics counting out etherealities in the verse before the chorus takes the song to a cosmic kind of crush. I’m sure it’s a coincidence that at 4:20, the song drops to swirling fuzz and spoken vocals echoing, panning and fading away to introduce a wah-drenched build leading back into the verse, pushing heavier and heavier until finally dropping back to the original softer vocal and bass ritualizing before the last line of the album – “…As we walk away” – leads the path out.
In this, too, the band are strikingly self-aware, but confident enough not to be held back by their self-awareness where others might. Psychache, like Klonopain before it, is an exciting listen on its own, but along with that, it shows remarkable potential for what Curse the Son might do going forward. With the lineup of Vanacore, Cheech and Petrucci wearing their love and appreciation for fuzz-loaded heavy on their collective sleeve and balancing that on a core of skillful songcraft, they have the opportunity to grow into something really special in the genre. With Psychache, they’re on their way."
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