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Cursed 13’s “Triumf” is just that, an absolute triumph! This release is from the same mold of the traditional Swedish death metal sound, with an added thrashy, doom type groove just to liven, or if you choose, to deaden things up a little bit. I have always loved this sound as it incorporates such emotion and passion into it. You very rarely go wrong when you are dealing with a Swedish death metal band and Cursed 13 is no different. Also, even though the sound and blueprint of these songs is traditional in development and delivery. There is a nice crisp freshness to this band that hasn’t been heard since the early 90’s.
Fist I want to touch on the riffs and solos that are abound and plenty here on this release. The straight forward right-in-your-face approach is where the traditional part comes in and the added touch of the ever present “grooviness” of the riffage adds an almost stoner-type vibe to the tunes. This is a very genius approach to the guitar work on this release. I have heard other bands try this but it doesn’t sound nearly as good as it does in the tunes on this cd. The solos are well placed with a traditional type edge to them and they are well placed and played save for one solo at the beginning of this album as it sounds a little “squeaky”. I’m going to say that this was annoying as hell and way over the top. Such a display was not needed here and a toned down, simplified solo would have worked and had a better effect. It totally ruins that one part of the song but thankfully not the whole thing. Other than this one flaw in the solos, the guitar work was pretty outstanding. The drum work on these tunes gives another nod to tradition, and with a few well-placed Americanized sounding blast beats, Cursed 13 gives yet another exciting twist to the traditional Swedish sound. Also, from time to time, you will notice a slight progressive element in the drumming but I think that the use of progressive drum work is becoming so commonplace in other metal sub-genres that it can be easily overlooked. I just felt it was worth mentioning here due to the fact of its unique use as compared to the other elements involved in this creation. The vocals on this release fit the music absolutely perfectly. There is little to no variation in the vocals on these tunes and like I said, it really fits. On this approach it’s obvious the band is going for absolutely brutality and agony. It’s like the vocals are half-way between a gurgle and a rasp. Almost like the vocalist has that proverbial frog in his throat that he just can’t seem to get out. I’ve always liked vocalists with this type of sound to their voice. It makes me wonder how in the hell they get such a brutal sound to their voices. Absolutely phenomenal!
Even with such a brutal and devastating sound, Cursed 13 have a subtle yet undeniable grace to their approach and delivery. It kind of reminds me of the approach and delivery of the band Desultory on their release “Into Eternity”. Some say with grace comes elegance. Well, there’s nothing elegant about this band or this cd, but in listening to this cd, the grace I feel coming from it gives it an almost humbling aura overall. There is an extreme amount of pride here both within the band and in the 11 tracks on this devastating release. This album is a most awesome way to honor the most metal of fans while staying true to themselves, but in retrospect, I don’t think staying true to themselves or the fans was ever in question here. It’s just that I feel like releases like this are what closes the gaps between the bands and their fans. When a band creates a release like this that touches on nostalgia and adds a few intriguing yet subtle elements, it is nothing short of a masterpiece. If you are into bands such as: The Crown, Chaos Breed, Desultory, Entombed, Edge of Sanity, Necrophobic(old), and Séance then you will most definitely want to get Cursed 13’s “Triumf”. A triumph indeed, for the band and fans alike!