REVIEW: Dealey Plaza – Born Cursed [EP/2020]

Artist: Dealey Plaza

Album: Born Cursed – EP

            Dealey Plaza, as one band, have probably covered more different subgenres of heavy music than…while, most everyone else that comes to mind. From the ruthless deathcore approach dominant on The Masonic Diaries, to the heavily nu-metal influenced material that follows and last—but not least—A.D., and the blend of raw hardcore, metal and thrash it portrayed; Dealey has really done it all. Despite this diversity, there is a unifying theme:


            Dealey Plaza’s music has always been abundantly dark. This—obviously, by the look of the cover art—hasn’t changed with Born Cursed. Continuing along the path forged by A.D., Dealey Plaza wage war on the listener with a raw, ruthless take on metalcore. Combining gnashing, churning riffs with riveting breakdowns and a pinch of looming, dismal atmosphere, Born Cursed is a crushing display of contemporary heavy music that proves Dealey Plaza’s comeback record wasn’t just a one-off fluke, but rather, the first step towards honing in on their most true-to-self sound yet.

            Born Cursed begins with a bang and doesn’t let up throughout the EP’s twenty minute run time. Dealey Plaza  manage to provide more diversity than was afforded on their previous offering, A.D., while still keeping the same energy and aggression that seethed from the record’s every figurative pore. Case and point, where opening number “Born Cursed” is home to an explosive, catchy breakdown with a thick, groove-tinted lead, “Rehder” has a distinctly doomier ambiance. Every song brings a different element to the table where instrumentation is concerned, keeping the listener engrossed throughout. “The Duke” is a ruthless song with percussion that roars like a freight train’s engine, bombarding the listener with cannon-like kick drums and a sharp, cracking snare. This is in stark contrast to the preceding track, “Rehder,” which favors a low-and-slow assault on the listener, with bass-heavy grooves that add an ominous undertone to Dealey Plaza’s dynamic. Journeying through Born Cursed lends an enlightening experience to the listener—not in content, as Dealey Plaza are as bleak and bewildering as ever—but in sheer diversity when it comes to experiencing what heavy music can offer over such a short span of minutes.

            Where Born Cursed is a crushing display of instrumental aggression, just as much primal fury can be found throughout the roars put forth by Dealey Plaza across their five-track powerhouse. Utilizing a raw, harsh yell for much of the record’s duration, the band’s frontman compensates for little in the way of vocal diversity with unfiltered, straight-up power. From the first yells of “Born Cursed,” through the mournful shouts and screams of “Rehder,” to the tortured, dismal sense of desperation on “Sorrow,” the combination of raw emotion and raw drive behind each syllable screamed throughout the band’s EP helps keep the listener thoroughly engrossed. Furthermore, where there is a relative paucity of technical variety throughout Born Cursed’s vocal department, the band’s lyricism is perhaps more varied than its ever been. Every song on the record touches on a different theme—from introspection and dejection to the loss of a loved one and far beyond. This sees Dealey Plaza expanding their sound and style in a way that many—myself included—didn’t inherently expect, especially from a band who’s roots lay entrenched in politically-fueled deathcore.

            Dealey Plaza have put forth a strong EP with a lot of upsides and perilously few pitfalls. Where, yes, there could be a little more diversty in the vocal department, and yes, it could be a little longer, it still checks all the boxes one could ask of a metalcore EP. Fun? Yep. Heavy? You betcha. Catchy? Like the clap. Energetic and engrossing? Yes and yesser. Born Cursed is a raunchy, bouncy listen sure to keep the listener hooked, and likely even hooked enough to give it more than a cursory couple spins.


For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, Born a New, Landfill, Degrader

By: Connor Welsh