Artist: Cursed by the Fallen
Somewhere at the turn of the decade, “generic” became synonymous with “bad” for a lot of people—which isn’t necessarily true. In its truest form, “generic” just means “of, related to, or exemplary of a class or genus”—think of it as what you’d expect to find in a dictionary if you looked up a genre or style. I’ll admit—I’m a sucker for generic metalcore and deathcore artists. Some things about those styles of music just fail to get old to me. So, you see, being generic can be a plus for some bands—however, Austria’s Cursed by the Fallen are not one of them. The aptly named Memories sounds strikingly similar to a nameless, faceless, late-2000’s metalcore band. The only difference? Cursed by the Fallen have neither the nostalgia nor endearing gimmick use to convincingly “sell” their sound—so the listener is left with eleven full tracks of copy-pasted breakdowns, cringe-worthy clean vocals, lack-luster production and overwhelmingly repetitive song structure instead of a nostalgic trip through memory lane.
What do you get when you take one thoroughly mediocre and predictable metalcore track and play it back to back eleven times?
While Cursed by the Fallen start off with the nearly catchy and promising “Rage,” things quickly start to roll downhill, and much like a snowball atop Mt. Everest, the listener’s distaste for the same stuttering breakdowns and half-hearted riffs quickly grows. Built on a podium of tasteful-yet-lackluster percussion, Cursed by the Fallen’s guitarists are brilliant at displaying moderate mastery over the same riff and groove several times over. The sort of stumbling, humdrum percussion that kicked off “Rage” quickly loses any luster it may have had, completely receding to the background—which is especially bad news for the quartet, as their guitarists could use all the support and variety they can get. Save the forced and contrived solo on “Humanity Fail,” and the breakdown that follows, Memories seems like a random assortment of the same three riffs, interspersed with monotonous, machine-gun like breakdowns that quickly stutter themselves into a corner. What’s more is the almost absent bass guitar: where it is almost expected in contemporary metalcore not to notice the bass much, it truly seems as though the only purpose for the band’s low end is to play oversimplified licks that segue into—you guessed it—another chuggy, quick-paced breakdown. The only true exception to this pattern is heard in “Capitalism,” where the bass can be (just barely) heard fumbling along, desperately chasing the kick drum.
Where Cursed by the Fallen’s instrumentation is innocently basic and repetitive, it is never truly bad—it just fails to keep the listener engaged for more than thirty seconds at a time. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the band’s vocal effort—where raspy mid range screams trade duties with over-produced and underwhelming clean vocals. Once more, “Rage” seems innocuous enough—as the track features abuse of the vocalist’s one and only style of scream, with clean vocals that come out of nowhere to drag the listener through a contrived and “catchy” chorus. “Okay,” the listener thinks. “Maybe it’s just an off track, I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.”
But things don’t get any better.
The frontman’s screams continue to sound more like loud gasps than actual harsh vocals—and the cleanly sung passages are produced to death but still to no avail. Where the listener could listen to the instrumentation of Memories without any strong negative reaction, the same cannot be said for the vocals, which take up too much of the mix and provide too little in return.
Memories is one of those albums, that, if it had come out in 2008, might hold enough sentimental value to save it from being deleted off of your phone or computer. However, the band’s monotonous, mediocre musicianship, grating (and not in the good way) vocal approach and complete lack of ability to transition cleanly between segments of songs (or songs alone) trample whatever potential might have lingered in the first couple breakdowns of “Rage.” In an album where every twist and turn can be predicted well ahead of time, even the first listen is a chore to get through—making Memories an album the listener will likely want to forget.
For Fans Of: Walking With Strangers, On Broken Wings, Like Moths to Flames, Parkway Drive
By: Connor Welsh