Released: 2007, Screaming Ferret Wreckords
When you have a collaboration between members of two thrash bands, you might expect the results to be at least vaguely similar to the style of one or the other. Such is definitely not the case with the debut album from The Cursed, a group formed in 2005 by Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth, vocalist of the legendary Overkill and his fellow New Jersey-ite, Hades / Non-Fiction guitarist Dan Lorenzo. In a complete departure from the aggressive, speed-laden style listeners might be prepared for upon seeing the lineup, ROOM FULL OF SINNERS is an album chock-full of incredibly heavy and groove-laden 70's stoner-doom metal played with plenty of swagger and sneer-grinning bad-boy attitude.
Opening cut "Sweeter" sets things up perfectly, with Lorenzo churning out a monster of a downtuned, nasty-attitude riff reminiscent of vintage Trouble, a comparison furthered by the fact Blitz's vocals on this track are somewhat similar to Eric Wagner's. While Lorenzo's heavier-than-heavy guitar lines are the anchor throughout the album, it is Ellsworth who is the real surprise, showing a surprising amount of vocal stylistic variety from track to track...I've been an Overkill fan for twenty years and I've never heard him deliver anything like what he pulls out on several of these tunes! At times he emulates Bon Scott, at other times Steven Tyler, at still other times Lemmy, and on one occasion...believe it or not...Frank Sinatra. Following track "Evil, In The Bag" is a groove-laden bluesy stomp which sounds like what you'd expect to hear if Tony Iommi were to jam with late-70's/early-80's Aerosmith - definitely the most radio-friendly of the tracks. Most bizarre amongst the various cuts is "Serpentine Slither," a finger-snapping crooning-vocal parody of swing-band music that is at once surprising in how well it's delivered and hilarious when you consider who's playing it. Other highlights are the AC/DC-ish "Best Of The Worst," the Corrosion Of Conformity-like crawl of "One Time," and the "Children Of The Grave"-like Sabbathy chug of "Queen Of The Down," the latter of which features a cool bluesy saxophone line from former Dog Eat Dog member Scott Mueller. Of the remaining tracks most are winners as well, though "Wij Level als God in Frankrijk" (a Dutch expression - loosely translated "We Are Living As God In France," essentially meaning "living a life of ease") raises a couple hackles with its quirky, off-kilter chorus and closer "Generate Her," while featuring an excellent blues-based intro and some great riffs, stretches out the ending just a little bit too long. Probably the only other weakness of the album is the fact it's only thirty-seven minutes long...enjoyable as a listen is, it just feels like it's over much too quickly.
While ROOM FULL OF SINNERS is not quite ready to stand alongside the true classics of stoner doom, it is still an excellent release and an absolute blast to listen to. Although The Cursed played what they claimed was their first...and last...live show at New York's Highline Ballroom back in May, hopefully it's not the end for the project - there's just too much potential for more great material in the future. If you're a fan of the style, definitely check this disc out...you'll most likely be pleasantly surprised.