There's something to be said for a band that unabashedly wears its influences on its sleeve. Don't think of it as style-biting, but as taking the best elements of several different bands and crafting them into a new and exciting project.
That is precisely what upstate New York's Casting Curses have done with the release of their EP, Heartificial. The ferocious five-piece evokes memories of past hardcore juggernauts such as Turmoil and the Promise while adding enough new wrinkles to keep the two-song EP fresh and engaging.
"Hey Disbeliever," the longer of the two songs at just over three minutes, is a crushing display that opens when a wave of feedback leads into crushing groove. The progression gets louder and louder until everything but the guitar riffs drop out completely; the riffing becomes quicker, the drums come back in, and singer Brian Kraus explodes with fury at the precise moment the bass drops out. The first minute alone makes it more than apparent how finely tuned this quintet really is, but it's the frantic vocals that really raise the level of intensity. That frantic feeling is also represented lyrically, as the story's protagonist goes through a range of feelings, unsure of where to settle.
The weeks fade the same, every party a losing game / And it's not the cure I was hoping for, it's not the door I was looking for / This could be my resurrection."Casting Curses air on the side of brevity with the second track, "Change the Lights," and waste no time going full board. With a good mid-tempo groove to start and Kraus' scathing delivery, Casting Curses establish a punishing rhythm. About halfway through the track, the vocals cut out briefly, only to come back in on a heavier, bass-driven groove. It's those subtle but important switch-ups that keep these songs churning and keep the volume at 11.
A relatively young band, Casting Curses will have plenty of time and opportunity to forge a unique sound in hardcore, but for now, they're plenty content with the sound of their arrival.