Sunday, 18 December 2011

#113 Hazzard's Cure - S/T

I stumbled upon this ensemble while trawling through bandcamp, and took the artwork to be a sign that the band were a thrash one. Not so. Hazzard's Cure play a sludgy, stoner metal style, which is described catchily on the bands profile as "epic blackened stoner thrash". Curious as to what this might sound like, I gave the album a listen.

The album certainly sounds interesting, and is certainly an interesting medley of styles - The deep lower end and general thunderous sound represents the stoner, sludgy side of things, but there definitely is a vein of thrash within the music, which comes into play in the form of the speed and anger of the music. The vocals in many places top it off, being quintessential extreme - loyal to no genre in particular, but harsh nonetheless. This creates something of a combination of atmosphere and general thrashiness, which is tasteful, as opposed to over the top. There are plenty of songs which don't go down such a riffy road, too, and these help hold up the sludge side of the deal, and some of the atmosphere encountered therein is impressive to say the least, boosted up by the tightness of the recording, and by the very amiable production, which is roughly optimum for the style of music being produced. As the album progresses, you find yourself exposed to a little bit of everything, influences from the four corners of the metal world, which is as rewarding when you anticipate it as it is when you don't.

The lead guitar is finely honed, and sounds damn pleasing when it rears it's head, with some smooth, creamy solos, in songs such as "Tossed and Dethroned", which adds a dash of serene emotion to the maelstrom of sections which the song is comprised of. There are soft, clean guitar parts, here and there, too, in an almost ballad-like sense, which is more than welcome, considering that it's well-done, and not tacky. The vocals are as diverse as the music, ranging from a harsh scream to a Baroness/Mastodon style gruff bellow, with just quite a lot of ground being covered in between. "Prayer of the Hunted" has some really good black-metal style shrieks and wails. The combination of elements is at it's most enjoyable in the epic nine-minute closer, which is sludgy as hell, but also brings a bit of everything else to the table, then, to elongate the metaphor, arranges it into a pleasing sculpture... plates... food... cutlery, the lot.

It is often said, that if you want to survive, you need to diversify. Hazzard's Cure have done just that, creating a pleasing, but not over-the-top mix of sludge, thrash, and well... just about everything else as well.

I give this album a 9/10. A few listens, and you'll be hooked.

Hazzard's Cure on Myspace
Hazzard's Cure on Facebook
Hazzard's Cure on Bandcamp
Hazzard's Cureon Metal Archives