Head-Banger Review (December 4, 2016)
You just hear a band’s sound and just think about how fucking much stuff is going on in the music itself? Bands like Whispered and Inter Arma truly take that to another level with their music and actually make it work somehow. And bands like that make me think when I’m going to find another one like them who can do so much and do it well. As it turns out, that time is right now and that fucking band is Hazzard’s Cure from the renowned Bay Area.
If I could just lean on another metal website for just a moment, Echoes and Dust called the sound that Hazzard’s Cure “speed doom”. Apparently, that’s a thing now? Sounds a little contradicting if you ask, but fuck me in the Alps if it isn’t an extremely apt phrase. But the brand spankin’ new record of “Smoke Iron Plunder” is so much more than those two words, though. Hazzard’s Cure manages to glean an absolute fuck ton from multiple metal sub-genres including (but absolutely not limited to) black, stoner, doom, and even sludge metal to create something is very close to the definition of an absolute mind fuck. “Smoke Iron Plunder” is a quick, unrelenting, and diverse album that does not even begin to back off on its unbelievable onslaught. The vocals are where things truly go up a notch, for they’re just so fucking vicious and a constant attack on your hearing that it’s impossible to deny the immeasurable power they bring to the table, and how well they help tie “Smoke Iron Plunder” together in the end. The record is just so monumental and apparently comes from a band that is at the forefront of this speed doom style that’s a thing all of a sudden, but damn if I’m complaining! Hazzard’s Cure is a brilliant breath of fresh air that as someone who constantly searches for something even half decent to listen to, “Smoke Iron Plunder” is a bright light in the darkness, albeit a very dastardly and menacing presence.
As if there weren’t enough crazy sub-genres out there with pirate and samurai metal to name but two, now we get speed doom in a very tasty and extremely foreign entity that is Hazzard’s Cure. “Smoke Iron Plunder” is not anything for the uninitiated and is something to be experienced only by those who truly do want to know what it’s like to have the lines of any sort of genre classification blurred to a previously unfathomable point.
Echoes And Dust (November 25, 2016)
When a band bio page lists their interests as being loud and fucked up, you have to wonder whether they are going to deliver music on a mature enough level to make it through an album. Hazzard’s Cure have no worries on this score though, and their second album Smoke Iron Plunder carries on their tradition of Bay Area speed doom on to the next level, so to speak. Here is the sound of a band really getting to grips with what they are about and enjoying the music they are creating.
On a heaviness scale of 1 to 10, Hazzard’s Cure are easily hitting a 9 yet temper that with moments of levity where they shift tempos from full on riffs to bass heavy slow doom passages. Not afraid to hit the thrash button either, this can happen a multitude of times during one song. ‘An Offering’ is a prime example of this ease in which they play around with the heaviness. Before you start thinking this may be prog though, be aware that the band are more in tune with the more cynical side of thrash mixed with a huge dollop of rock and roll anger.
There are little progressive flourishes, but the true intent of the band is in the full on metal of ‘Hewn In Sunder’, which pummels along at a breathtaking pace whilst still managing to find time to throw in a few melodies. It’s invigorating and alive, and shows that the Bay Area still has a lot to give when it comes to metal. On the other side of the dice, they do dumbed down sludge too, which plays off well against the more intelligent moments.
Hazzard’s Cure deserve all the plaudits they get and sound like a band who should be leading the charge on a new heavy metal sound. All around bands are getting slower and heavier whilst these speed things up to provide much needed balance. Speed doom may be a minute sub-genre at the moment, but given the right set of circumstances could take over from the mainstream American metal that is being peddled about. The scene needs a band like this to kick it up the ass and just maybe Hazzard’s Cure will be the ones to do it.
Doomantia (February 19, 2014)
From the dirty streets of the fabulous San Francisco comes the rad as ever doom/crust punk band Hazzard’s Cure. Released in the first week of last December is their three track EP, “The Ugly EP”. The cover art is some of my favourite that I’ve seen so far this year. Grimy and a lot like a neater Rudimentary Peni(with hints of Lovecraft). Gorgeous and dark, no title, but the art is enough to keep the viewer intrigued.
Their first track, “Terminal Frost” completely blew me away. It has been a while since I’ve heard some gripping, decent, heart racing punk that keeps me pumped. Next comes, “The Ugly” with its slow and fast bits. The title itself makes me think of books on a shelf long forgotten with dust building up.
At the same time it has a beautiful contrast, but in the deep depths of this song, you know there’s an ugly and massive build up. Their final song, “The Body Amorphous” is enough just to fuel you.
You want more though. This is the end result, which doesn’t disappoint! Great EP, hope to hear more from these guys.
They have a lot going for them, and have found a unique way to blend black metal, crust punk, doom, sludge, and stoner metal all into one weird and sinister concoction. There’s a limited edition of 300 copies on transparent one sided 12” vinyl with a screenprint on the b-side. I’d more than recommend that you grab yours before another crusty does.
Echoes And Dust (January, 24, 2014)
Now, let’s focus on The Ugly EP. What we’re dealing with here are 3 tracks of thunderous thrashy heavy metal, dipping into more progressive and extremer blackened metal genres at times. Bassist Shane Bergman plugs away impressively on the 3 tracks on offer here and the drums are up tempo with plenty of nice fills and breaks. The vocals by guitarist Chris Corona have a bit of a Lemmy-like rawness to them and guitarist Leo Buckley is shredding away like there’s no tomorrow.
There is quite a bit of Motörhead going on here, perhaps it’s the bass playing or those vocals, but halfway the second track ‘The Ugly’ the sound turns around a bit to some progressive melodic metal piece, with melodic solos over slower played drums. But then it kicks back into heavier chugging riffs and a near Darkthrone-like black metal sounding shredding ending this fantastic slab of heavy metal.
The last track ‘The Body Amorphous’ hits upon all these above mentioned elements even more as this track is a near 7 minutes heavy metal track of epic proportions. It reminds me a lot of Vöhl, one of last year’s highlights as it’s all blackened heavy metal played in that extra gear, thundering away. The guest vocals by Laurie Sue Shanaman of legendary avant-garde black metal band Ludicra are awesome and fit the music perfectly.
There is only one minor criticism here, this EP is way too short! I want more of this! If you were as impressed as I was by Vöhl’s release last year or you’re a fan of blackened, thrashy heavy metal then I recommend you get this in your system right now. The EP is available as digital download for only a couple of bucks, but German label Ulterior Records are releasing a limited run on transparent one sided 12" vinyl with a screenprint on the b side in February. So you know what to do!
Last Rites (January 14, 2014)
Too many people slept on the 2011 full-length debut from San Francisco's Hazzard's Cure – a very enthusiastic hodgepodge of knotty thrash, sludge, stoner and the kitchen sink that coulda-shoulda-woulda landed the band on a Hell of a lot more radars if the Earth was actually a fair place to inhabit. Alas, these dirtballs remain mostly unheralded, so the respective members supplement extra time not spent crapping together on a fancy tour bus by laboring in a pile of other notable Bay Area outfits such as Walken, OWL, and Bädr Vogu.
Well, now any previous "sorry, never heard of 'em" transgressions can thankfully be washed away by re-dedicating some worthy time to the freshly dropped Hazzard's EP, The Ugly – 17 minutes of very enthusiastic knotty thrash that dismisses virtually all of the previous effort's sludge in favor of a more blackened blister that's further bolstered by a guest vocal appearance (background on "Terminal Frost" and lead on "The Body Amorphous") from howler Laurie Shanaman of sadly defunct SF legends, Ludicra.
As evidenced by the bulk of the above tune, The Ugly is primarily concerned with the task of hacking faces to ribbons, but there are a couple moments where the band allows their softer, prettier side to emerge – like a tiny glimpse of a rainbow in a spill of dirty oil. All-in-all, The Ugly represents another glimpse into a talented Bay Area band that somehow manages to survive and thrive, despite getting paid mostly in cheap beer and dusty schwag. Don't let this one pass by unnoticed.
Metal Bandcamp (February 21, 2014)
Hazzard's Cure self-describes their music as "epic blackened stoner thrash." I'm usually dubious of these kinds of label mash-ups, but if Ulla's recent review of buioingola has taught me anything, it's that sometimes these multiple-genre descriptions can make a surprising amount of sense.
The breadth of Hazaard's Cure's influence is a bit easier to discern on their self-titled full length, but their EP The Ugly nicely shows off the mix, too. The first two tracks on the EP are firmly rooted in stoner metal. The vocals are delivered in a raspy holler reminiscent of High on Fire and Baroness. The bass playing is a highlight, prominent in the mix and straddling the line between melody and rhythm. The drums easily shift between quiet shuffle and blasting, and the guitar pulls a similar trick, from tremolo riffs, to quiet atmosphere, to even a little Santana-style soloing in near the end of the title track. It's a classic rock foundation that doesn't sound dated, but one that's been angered up to a much heavier level.
If there's any question about the "blackened" part of the description, it's nicely resolved by the third track, "The Body Amorphous," which features lead vocals from Laurie Sue Shanaman of the late, great Ludicra. With her unmistakable ferocity over blackened, winding guitar lines, you suddenly get an idea of what would have happened if Jefferson Airplane, instead of morphing into the poppy Jefferson Starship, had instead invented black metal and became Jefferson Plague. That probably sounds like I'm making fun, but nothing could be further from the truth. Jefferson Plague is something I didn't know I needed in my life until I heard this track. I would have loved more of this, but as it is, this EP is a great introduction to the band for anyone who likes their stoner metal with a hefty dose of rage.
This Is Not A Scene (February 4, 2014)
“Dirty metal from the streets of San Francisco” is the approach Hazzard’s Cure takes, according to their Facebook page, and this three-track EP release would certainly support that claim. This is the second release from the band, whose first album release was described in some circles as, “epic blackened stoner thrash”.
The gentle, meandering opening to “Terminal Frost” very quickly develops into a maelstrom of cyclone percussion, demented guitar chords and belligerent vocal. The production is deliciously raw and organic which gives the music the ideal platform. “The Ugly” sets off on a thunderous journey from the outset, with that, by now familiar, relentless drumming and bass onslaught. Within a few minutes however, a corner is turned into what could loosely be described as more melodic and considered territory. The pace has slowed, and the guitar solos have become discernibly more melodious. Not long, however before the mood becomes more onerous. The final track, on this all too short EP, “The Amorphous Body”, appears to incorporate all the previous elements into a glorious seven minutes of heroic sounding chord progressions, boisterous drums and merciless vocal.
The short EP format here may not be the most ideal to evaluate the music of Hazzard’s Cure as there is the feeling that this music needs space and time to develop and mature. That said, the three tracks available would be of interest to devotees of a wide range of musical genres incorporating as it does Black Metal, Sludge, Stoner, Doom, “Progressive Metal” and, to some extent, Post Rock. The cover artwork by Lukas Krieg reflects exquisitely the mood of the music within, and carries out the task of drawing the potential listener in impeccably. “The Ugly” EP is another release that stimulates the listener to wonder what an overwhelming experience seeing the band perform live could be.
Metal Temple (February 20, 2014)
A couple of weeks ago, I was asked to review an album from a band from Fresno, California. I will let you figure out which band that I’m talking about but here’s a clue: I hated their music. When I got this EP from San Francisco’s own HAZZARD’S CURE just this week, after the quarter of an hour I spent listening to every song, I questioned just what the hell are San Francisco Metal bands doing right that Fresno’s top-voted band is doing wrong?
What do all of these bands have in common: POSSESSED, VASTUM, ACID KING, MEGADETH, DEAFHEAVEN, DEATH ANGEL, METAL CHURCH, SHRINEBUILDER, SLOUGH FEG, & EXODUS. If you said “They’re all from Fresno, California”, you would be incorrect. They were all founded in San Francisco, California because San Francisco has been one of the capitals for Heavy Metal from the United States of America for over 30 years.
HAZZARD’S CURE certainly continue that tradition with this short but ferocious EP. Back when they released their self-titled full-length album in 2011, their style certainly gravitated to Doom Metal energy. What they’ve done with this EP is; first of all, throw all of that Stoner music out of the window. Secondly, they alternated to a Black Metal sound for this EP. If the guest vocals on “A Body Amorphous” from LUDICRA front woman Laurie Sue Shanaman didn’t give that away by now, I am sorry for spoiling the surprise for fans of older HAZZARD’S CURE.
But I really loved this EP. “The Ugly”, which shares its name with the second track, is a perfect fit for what this music comes across as. The vocals, instead of being rasped or screamed, are shouted or sometimes shout-sung. With the exception of the guest vocals, Chris Corona brings a fresh approach to singing Black Metal that definitely sounds ugly. I would even go as far as to say that these kinds of vocals possess a denser sense of grotesqueness than stereotypical howling or screeching vocals. I associate that kind of singing; take the vocals on WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM just as an example, with a vocal dialect that illustrates a language spoken only by ghosts, demons and spirits. Corona’s singing style on “The Ugly” is anchored down by its own humanity, unlike WOLVES IN THE THRONE ROOM but still expresses a tone of voice as if it came from someone with a severely deformed body.
HAZZARD’S CURE have embraced this fascination with the grotesque and mutation of the flesh and the horror that carries as a new direction to go with their sound. A lot of this same expression of carnal frailty can definitely heard in the musicianship as well. The guitar leads carry this gypsy-like vocalizing to them that remind me of those old folk tales of gypsy witches putting curses on people to have them become hideously ugly. I think these Burlesque elements provide a lot of tangible character all of the songs on this record. The guest vocals from Sue Shanaman fit right in but I would prefer if the band kept the male shouting vocals.
There’s not a whole lot more I could say about these three songs but what I will say, in conclusion, is that this EP was a tremendous release and I want to hear more of HAZZARD’S CURE taking this new direction down further and further bringing more horrors to light with their atmospheric music. “The Ugly” was certainly something I could relate to.
Heavy Metal Spotlight (January 29, 2014)
I don't review EPs especially often, and, quite frankly, I suppose I could do with some practice. Another thing I've really been neglecting to do is review things which people have been asking me to for, well, a while. Output may not be quite as lightning quick as it has been in the past, but standards must remain. Therefore, in the name of not being useless, and in hitting two birds with one stone, today I'm endeavoring to have a listen to "The Ugly", the relatively new to download and not quite out yet physically EP by San Francisco outfit Hazzard's Cure.
When I reviewed the band's full length, as far as I remember, I was copiously impressed by their ability to create music which was a real mixture of everything, and, while revisiting the self-titled in preparation to listen to the new EP, I certainly felt excited once again by it's ability to be so many things at once; blackened, stoner-infused and with a slew of other things on top like a heavy-metal chef's-special, the self-titled will certainly be an interesting challenge to build upon, which, though it might not be a best-case scenario, is almost inescapably how subsequent works by any artist are judged. The Ugly is, first things first, a little bit more black metal in it's direction, but sort of politely so - the sound remains quite warm, comfortable and sweet, despite the marked increase in tremolos and other such black-metal accouterments. If black metal bands were pools of water, the one used on The Ugly would certainly be one I would vaguely trust to be drinkable, and I mean this utterly as a compliment, not a criticism. The production is wide-open, creating a feeling of both vastness and intimacy - the instruments have a clarity which draws them all apart in the mix, and leaves them each, individually bare for appreciation, but simultaneously gives the band a pleasantly frantic, clattering sound (particularly the earnest, organic drum-sound) which has a distinctly crust-punk, Amebix-meets-black-metal feel.
Indeed, it is worth remembering from the word go that Hazzard's Cure still aren't in the business of icy, pine-tree sprouting grimness, but instead remain dedicated to their quest to use black-metal as a vehicle for an altogether different sort of sound, which has already been well proven to incorporate a lot of things. This is perhaps illustrated that, for being an EP of well under twenty-minutes, The Ugly certainly manages to throw one heck of a lot at the listener; fast, rumbling black-metal sections collide headlong with swaggering sludgy sections coated in filth and Eyehategod style bile and spit, or slightly less jagged, brain-warming stoner-like sections, which themselves mix in the massive sonic melting pot with almost traditional sounding sections, which emphasise themselves well with the bass-heavy production, which really lets the bass lines warble freely and prominently - at one point on the EP, I'm fairly certain there's even an epic solo section of some persuasion. This is all united nicely under vocals which sit on the fence between roaring, singing and shrieking - dipping their toes in whichever is appropriate for that moment in the song, and at no point failing to evoke the ravings of some ragged, slightly crazed prophet of the apocalypse, in the best possible way. As I think I have remarked before, equally impressive is how well all of the styles which Hazzard's Cure taps into blend together into one homogeneous thing; the record feels natural and smooth, as opposed to overtly spastic and glued-together, which is certainly something many would naturally suspect such a mish-mash of genres would result in - not this band, however - pulling off ridiculously eclectic without dipping into the ridiculous itself.
Once again, I can safely consider myself rather impressed by Hazzard's Cure's work, and shall, once again, renew my intentions to keep an eye on what they produce in future - if it remains as consistently good as this, then I can safely say there's a good chance I'll love it, and, already, I'm beginning to have my suspicious that the band are rather underrated already. For what it's worth, hopefully this review reaches someone who will enjoy their music too.
Metal Assault (March 17, 2014)
If you’ve kept up at all with music from the Bay Area, you’d know that the place has a habit of producing some of the weirdest and most unique bands you’ll ever hear. From the psychedelic rock of the ‘60s to the pioneering thrash of the ‘80s to the amalgam of rad heavy rock and metal bands of today, the Bay Area has always offered something fresh to the table. One Bay Area band that is doing just that is Hazzard’s Cure, a self-proclaimed epic blackened stoner thrash act. It’s an apt description for a band that incorporates everything from shredded shrieks to burly bong-ripped riffs. They released their self-titled debut two years back, and have completed a new EP entitled The Ugly. It’s a special release for Bay Area metal fans, because it accurately encapsulates how diverse and eclectic influences can come together to create a cohesive and downright rad musical statement.
By the band’s own account, the self-titled Hazzard’s Cure was a success both sonically and creatively, albeit one that took more time to achieve than they may have liked. It was recorded and mixed by Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studio in Oakland. Guitarist and vocalist Chris Corona reserves words of praise for Wilkinson, who went the extra mile to ensure a quality release. “I think the first album came out great and I’m really grateful that Greg Wilkinson was into recording it,” Corona says. “[Wilkinson] even offered us a complementary re-mixing of it to suit his standards, which turned out to be excellent.” Drummer Clint Baechle offers insight into some of the issues with the first record however. “The biggest problem [with the self-titled album], like many albums that I’ve been involved with, is that we couldn’t finish recording it during the original three or four day session and we couldn’t afford to book more dates immediately, because of course we were self-financing it. So the process of recording guitars and vocals was drawn out over many months. When you drag the recording of an album out over time like that, you don’t actually capture the mood of what the band was doing at a specific time and place.”
Looking from primarily a financial perspective, the band sought to spend a shorter amount of time on tracking for their next release. They would book only a single summer weekend with Justin Weis at Trakworx Studio in South San Francisco to track the new effort; this time, the pressure was on to knock out the songs in time. Bassist Shane Bergman cites the band’s budgetary constraints as the reason for the tight schedule. “We were paying for the recording off of what we had made off the first record and shows,” Bergman explains. “We were (and still are) dirt poor when we did the first record, so it took forever for us to get the whole thing recorded and we all agreed to never do that again.” Baechle elaborates further- “It was a financial necessity. We could only afford two days of recording. Whatever effect recording it in two days had on the music is a direct result of our poverty.” There were silver linings though. “It was incredibly satisfying to have our project completed from start to finish in such a short amount of time,” Baechle admits, while Bergman states that musical cohesiveness and raw energy were further incentives for the short sessions. “We focused on recording these three songs together because they all feel similar to us in their overall feel and sound… we did want to capture a more live feeling for the record. Our goal with the EP was to make a record that kicks your ass for seventeen minutes and I think we got it.”
The sessions would see Hazzard’s Cure knocking the three songs out with few overdubs and punches. Perhaps as a result of the time pressure, the band would consume alarmingly large quantities of coffee that weekend as well. Guitarist Corona takes lead vocals on two of the three tunes: the short and snappy ‘Terminal Frost’ and the title track to the EP, ‘The Ugly.’
‘Terminal Frost’—the leadoff track on The Ugly—is driven by Baechle’s frantic blastbeats, while Corona and guitarist Leo Buckley’s descending riffs act as sonic glue for the song. Corona penned the track and attempted to relay a frost-bitten feeling both lyrically and musically. “’Terminal Frost’ started with just two minor chords, our tuning’s equivalent of G minor and E-flat minor. The combination sounded cold, like fucking frozen arctic shit,” Corona says. “I had been reading about all these absurd tragic mountain climbing expeditions where all these rich inexperienced ‘hobby climbers’ are paying sherpas to get them to the top of Mt. Everest. They were stepping over frozen dead bodies on narrow paths littered with discarded oxygen tanks near ice caves where fatigued climbers stopped to rest and froze to death because everyone else was too dead set on their goal of reaching the summit. It’s all just a perfect metaphor for climbing the corporate ladder and where our selfishness, competitive culture and society are leading humanity. It’s interesting how people describe it- every second you’re in that environment at the top, you’re slowly dying. There’s so little oxygen that the blood starts to thicken. People lose their fucking minds and do crazy shit. There are dead climbers that have been perfectly preserved up there for decades. They’re still there today.”
The title track to The Ugly is a collaborative effort from the band- Corona offers an informative, yet imaginative description of the track. “I came up with the main riffs pretty randomly. Leo had this ethereal sounding part that fit really well in the middle of the song and gave us a chance to take a musical departure, but left us kinda stuck in no man’s land completely fucked up and wasted off our asses with no way back. We had to crawl on our hands and knees through the desert in the brutal sun for miles with very little water and terrible cottonmouth. By the end we were near death, badly sunburned and covered in blisters but some how we made it. It sucked!” Buckley breaks it down for the listener rather simply- “Chris wrote the beginning and end, I wrote the middle, Shane wrote the bridge between the two heavy parts at the end and Clint writes his own parts,” Buckley explains. Corona also reveals the cinematic inspiration behind the music itself. “I was kinda obsessed with the concept of mixing the feel of an epic spaghetti western with the stylings of black metal thrash. Just add ‘The Good, The Bad,’ and you got it.”
The final track on the EP is one that is sure to turn heads, especially for ardent followers of the Bay Area’s metal community. Making a special appearance with Hazzard’s Cure is Laurie Sue Shanaman- the former vocalist for one of the Bay Area’s all-time greatest heavy exports, Ludicra. Shanaman tackles lead vocals on ‘A Body Amorphous’ and assists Corona with harmonies on ‘Terminal Frost.’ The members of Hazzard’s Cure, like a great deal of metal fans in the Bay Area, had long been admirers of Ludicra and Shanaman’s mesmerizing stage presence. Buckley implicitly tells us just how tight-knit metalheads have been in the bay- from the perspective he shows here, the line between a fan and a close friend is a rather blurry one. “We all knew Laurie when we first started playing music in the Bay Area because we were all Ludicra fans,” Buckley states. “It wasn’t a stretch to ask her if she would be interested in doing vocals for a song that was stylistically similar to Ludicra seeing that she hasn’t done anything since then. There will be a really good chance that she will do more songs here and there.”
Corona, who wrote the music for ‘A Body Amorphous,’ reveals that he had to swallow his pride and hand the vocals off to Shanaman for the sake of the song. “I had actually written lyrics and attempted to do the vocals for that track. I soon discovered how difficult it was to play that song and do vocals at the same time. It was like running from a tsunami and jumping hurdles while juggling chainsaws and being shot at. I asked Leo if he thought Laurie Sue would be into trying some vocals on that song so we made a demo of it for her and she said she wanted to work out her own lyrics.” Shanaman’s performance in the studio would prove to be one of her fieriest on record, despite suffering from some congestion on the day she came in. Though she is sweet and mild-mannered from day to day, Shanaman unleashes one of the most terrifying and visceral howls one may ever hear when her lips are put near a microphone. After nailing a flawless take for ‘A Body Amorphous,’ the gentle Laurie Sue that everyone knows returns and shyly asks, “Was that okay guys?” Jaws are on the control room floor as the members of Hazzard’s Cure witness Shanaman make this incredible transformation. “We were floored,” Corona says. “What she did with that song was fucking perfect. It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.”
Perhaps even more than a great many Ludicra tracks, ‘A Body Amorphous’ truly shows off Shanaman’s intense and dynamic live presence. The vocalist appears to agree with the idea. “I always attempt to give my absolute all when recording because I want to capture the live energy as much as humanly possible. I don’t want it to sound sterile and lacking in emotion,” Shanaman says. “This recording with Hazzard’s Cure was easier but only because it was just one song and a few harmonies added on another. The whole process gave me much more confidence than I allowed myself while in Ludicra. The Hazzard’s Cure guys were all really supportive and thrilled to have me, so I am quite grateful for them.” Fans of Shanaman that have missed her voice in the three years since Ludicra disbanded will be delighted to know that she is anything but finished with music. “I am now forty-four years old, but I realize from doing this song with Hazzard’s Cure that I am definitely not done with performing and doing vocals. Prevail! Quitting cigarettes finally after being a heavy smoker for over twenty-five years has been a huge factor as well… I miss Ludicra so much, so any opportunity to scream again makes me incredibly happy,” Shanaman admits.
With musical fingerprints tracing back to the likes of Destruction, Celtic Frost and High on Fire, some may wonder if people are willing to give Hazzard’s Cure and The Ugly a shot. Baechle, despite taking a more humble stance when it comes to his own band, harbors some resentment toward bands that fail to break the mold and the machine that encourages the act. “I don’t think we’re very musically diverse, unless you want to nitpick metal sub-genres,” Baechle says. “But some people, some critics, never the less seem to think that we’re mixing up too much different stuff, which I believe is actually a symptom of the sad state of the music industry and music press at this time.” Baechle ultimately sums it up as such: “You don’t break any new ground by recycling old stuff note for note, you have to combine a few different old things to make something new.”
Good thing the members of Hazzard’s Cure reside in a part of the world filled to the brim with bands and musicians that attempt to try something new. A small network of cool bands can even be mapped out from Hazzard’s Cure alone. Every member has at least one other project operating simultaneously but the other acts remain distinct musical entities according to Buckley, who also plays guitar in the sludge/doom/crust band Badr Vogu. “Clint, me and my bandmate in Badr Vogu, Bryce Shelton, were all in the same band when we started playing music in the Bay Area, and we all knew Chris and Shane from their other bands which we really liked, so there will always be that common thread musically for us, and so those styles will have a tendency to pop up in whatever we do just because each one of us have our own styles of playing.” Playing in multiple bands seems to be the norm for a scene made up of some of the most talented, creative and downright weird musicians America has to offer. “What’s special about the Bay Area music scene is that there’s so many great musicians here, so whenever a band decides to call it quits there’s always another band that will be formed that will be awesome,” Buckley says. “Not to mention, there’s a great mix of well-known bands that are here and underground bands popping up on any given weekend that there’s almost always a good show with amazing bands to check out and be inspired by.”
“There are so many diverse musical styles and scenes that cross over [in the Bay Area],” Corona explains. However, apathetic crowds (or perhaps a lack thereof entirely) remain a sore point. “The only thing missing is the sound of enthusiastic clapping and cheering when a song ends. No one wants to be that guy,” he jokes. It’s a problem that is perhaps more easily explained than one may think. The musicians that comprise the Bay Area’s heavy metal community are frequently in their thirties and forties, and have lived in the area since the time when rent in San Francisco and Oakland was reasonable. Unfortunately for them however, young metal fans that would normally pack shows can’t afford to live in an area that is increasingly being taken over by high-tech. Sadly, it isn’t an industry ripe with raging metal maniacs. Gentrification hasn’t stopped the bay’s best from producing great music however, even if it has cut off the supply of rabid fans to shows. “I think the Bay Area is still a special place with a large pool of talent to draw from, but it’s not a world entertainment center like New York or LA,” Baechle says. “Bands move to New York and LA to get famous. Bands move to the Bay Area because they want to be good. It’s a world-class metal scene; the best bands in the Bay Area are some of the best in the world for their respective genres.”
It takes more than yuppies, high-tech and gentrification to silence a great metal band, and Hazzard’s Cure refuses to be anything less than ear-shatteringly loud. Ultimately, the band stands as a shining example of the great Bay Area bands that keep one eye towards unexplored musical terrain, and the other on the classic sounds perfected by the masters. The Ugly is an immediate studio representative of that idea- three tracks of thrashy, raw, kick-ass heavy metal with a little help from a titan of the scene. Give it a listen, and gain a glimpse into the treasure trove that is the Bay Area heavy music community. The weird and rocking are welcome, and the generic and bland swiftly eradicated.
This metal band from the mean streets of San Francisco (featuring members of Walken, Orb Of Confusion, Owl and others) claim to play "epic blackened stoner thrash" and it's hard to argue with that self-assessment. They do play such a thing, if you can imagine that, and it's definitely cool. Gruff guttural vokills roughly rasp desperate battlecries, singing of smoke and mountains, o'er top heaving lumbering grooves and punked out grind. It's sick, and it's sludgy, but it also rocks, way more than we were expecting (was that a cowbell?), with chugging riffery and spirals of old school shreddtastic soloing in spades - the dual axework influenced by classic '80s thrash all right, even as the band's raging sonics range overall into crustier territories redolent of burnt churches, smoldering bongs, and other black and doom metal signifiers.
Hazzard's Cure are in and out in about 38 minutes, seven slayin' songs, including amidst 'em an acoustic-y interlude or two, even. They remind us a LOT of another band that's a favorite 'round these parts, the shredding heshers in Saviours. And, in their dynamics and diversity, also the likes of (early) Baroness, High On Fire, Behold The Monolith, and local duo Black Cobra. Aquarius Records (February, 2013)
On their self-titled full-length debut, San Francisco’s Hazzard’s Cure bruise and belch their way through a fungal-covered forest on the backs of corpse boars, spears poised to strike the life from those they pursue. Their rabid, sporadic approach to the hunt is propelled by a steady stream of heavy metal buggery; bastard forms of sludge, hardcore, death, doom, speed, and thrash not only occupy the album as a whole but often appear within the same song, and the songs themselves (which range from three to ten minutes in length) run together like the warm blood of their prey. This kind of unfocused racket is often the battle cry of the drunk and stoned, and there’s no doubt that’s the case here, but while songs like “Meet Me at the Mountain” and “Great Dishonor” were born in the bottom of bongs and bottles, “Psilocybin” and “Wolves’ Banquet” are pure mosh pit fodder. But then there’s “Tossed and Dethroned,” “Clashing of Hordes,” and “Prayer of the Hunted,” all of which sound like Mastodon, Black Breath, and Viking Skull trading riffs inside a burning church, and you decide once and for all that there’s no use trying to figure it out because it’s just plain ol’ fucking metal.
Broken Beard (November 12, 2011)
From a top down ideological perspective one could suggest that a main point of divergence between metal and punk would be the concept of peace of mind or inner peace if you will. Your average punk would frame such an idea with complete game changing plan for governmental change and corporate practice, with his music often serving as an instructional guidebook as to how this will be achieved or glorifying how great such an achievement would be.
Metal on the other hand is far less charged and has somewhat more comfortable consensus as to how to reach a state of inner peace, it is quite simply is reached through listening to the music, any beers (or joints if you are so inclined) thrown into the mix are an added bonus when traversing from the monotony of everyday life to the scenic landscapes crafted before you through the power of metal.
Honour bound and glorifiers of battles and the Gods of old rooted in adolescent masculine culture is Hazzard’s Cure who are one such band who chisel into your mind a vibrant and engaging world of intrigue, warrior worship and tales of bravery through their light hearted heavy metal spectacle.
My metal knowledge aside from being highly limited in scope and application is also somewhat rusty, but I think I can safely suggest that their exploration of the genre generally would fit in the generic category of heavy metal rather than being bound to any sub-strata. Its influences and output are varied, we have borrowings from the leisurely and enjoyable stoner rock jams and groove, doom clad ambience, catchy punk hooks, a glowing thrash metal tumble and even taints of death metal, whilst as aforementioned lyrics delve into an overwhelming sense of blood won glory, like Manowar minus the homo erotic tight leather and fur bound lack of garments.
For the most part the music escalates a whimsical sense of enlightening affectionately displayed through not so complex yet engaging dual guitar work, with vocals acting independently, usually reciprocating the general mood defined by the string work, but occasionally going radical to create tension between the elements in play. Not belittling the drummer whose work does well to heighten the experience of it all and bring continuity to the differentiation of play styles, but the ground work and core of it all is undeniably laid down by strings. The songs seamlessly glide into one another giving the album a sense of progression and unity, continuously elaborating the world it has dragged you head first into.
In recent years my small base of metal knowledge has been neglected, so how this release stands up to 2011 metal output in general is beyond my comprehension, but I will confess it’s pretty cool stuff, as metal goes can’t really fault it beyond a personal preference for unrelenting aggression, but that’s not the game plan for this release. It’s tight, exceptionally engaging and really does reach the point of “inner peace” whilst maintaining your stay in that zone through a continuous stream of creativity.
It’s the sort of thing you would just throw into a party and everyone will enjoy rather than let the fuck wits with the I-Pod put Djent for the 100th time in the night.
Grind To Death (November 25, 2011)
A cure to my musical craving...
I found out about this band through this interview here. Their music is heavy and dirty-sounding, melding together various styles, from thrash to sludge, from black metal to death metal. I was reminded of various other older bands while listening, but really, they have their own musical identity. What I like about this album is the immediate accessibility of the music, alongside their focus on song development. Hooking riffs and thoughtful song arrangement and progression are the sell points of this album for me.
East Bay Express (December 7, 2011)
It’s safe to say Hazzard’s Cure bloody love metal. The Bay Area foursome’s self-titled debut drips passion for getting toasty and losing yourself in the sweet abyss of the heavy. Nor are these chaps monogamous to a single metal mistress.They love to put themselves about, flirting with elements of stoner, sludge, thrash, crust, NWOBHM, black, doom… you name it, it’s here.
What you make of this approach comes down how open you are to a 38-minute crazy metal smorgasbord. And one that can be the aural equivalent of someone grabbing a piece of juicy steak right out of your mouth mid-chew and stuffing some squid in there instead.Fine perhaps if you like cephalopods but what if you were just LOVING chewing that sweet, sweet cow eh?
Psilocybin opens the album with chewy, slow-tumbling riffs. Biff, boff, baff they doom-slap you around the chops and put you on your knees begging for more before mounting up for some… d-beating punkerama? Before this 6:32 song is out we’ve had clashing samples and a pulsating bass-drone section that ends in hacking coughs. Eh? Have I had a micro-sleep and skipped to another track, another album, another band even? This is some seriously stoned metal. Be warned, if you aren’t a total metal slut there will be segments in Hazzard’s Cure that really kill your buzz. Instrumental Meet Me at the Mountain completely ditches the entire feel of the previous track for something much more minimal and alt-rock. It obliquely recalls the more metallic early 90s grunge output. Soundgarden? Alice in Chains? A harsher Smashing Pumpkins? It’s pretty good but doesn’t feel like the same band. The tone lurches once more to dump us blinking in High on Fire territory for Tossed and Dethroned yet Hazzard’s Cure really nail this style. It’s wonderfully beefy and gnarly and I am certainly enticed to bang my head to it despite a reasonable debt to Mr Pike and co. Not only do they stay focused for a whole track but they continue in the same vein for Clashing of Hordes. I get the feeling that thunderous stomp is perhaps the nucleus of their identity and what a joyous sound it is.
However just as I am getting into this gritty groove, Hazzard’s Cure play to type again, screeching to a halt for a random mid-song acoustic interlude. That would be fine but as the instrumentation comes back in, it’s another case of the amazing chameolonic band. Clean singing and polite drumming – it’s positively Simon & Garfunkel-esque!
Then when the distortion kicks in the rugged stoner metal has been forgotten and instead I’m hearing a grungier Use Your Illusion-era GNR. I am baffled. Stop stuffing my face with random lobster and lemon drops! Gimme me back my steak! I like it… but I wish Hazzard’s Cure would stick to one central idea then refine and vary it rather than trying to cram everything they have ever loved ever into 38 minutes.
Prayer for the Hunted really suffers from this approach. It starts brilliantly. Jagged, sharp thrashing riffage that puts me in mind of early Mastodon with a marked step-up in gear at around 2:00 when the previously comprehensible Lemmy-ish vocals degenerate into screams. Only for it all go to shit 45 seconds later with a grating vocal switch to dirgey doggerel (the third distinct vocal style in under three minutes) that just kills the track. Other times it works the opposite way. Great Dishonor segues from a doomy drawn-out intro into, wait, what? A Cinderella instrumental? Most bemusing. All the more so when blackened vocals make an appearance. It’s a little flat-footed until, of course, the band switches to a breakneck tempo for a final section that is really quite rad. From a simple, ringing riff, middle-eastern style leads and some enjoyable throat-shedding rasps we end up in the middle of a big stoner metal riff pile-up of a climax that’s really satisfying.
Despite the flaws, it’s clear Hazzard’s Cure have talent in spades. When the record is good, it’s damn great so I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys. If they can learn to blend their influences a little better, we could be in for something really special.
Monkey Defies Gravity (December 2, 2011)
A thousand apologies to the fine (and assuredly bearded) gentlemen of Hazzard's Cure. Their demo has been lying in wait in my inbox for god knows how long, and it wasn't until I was alerted to their fresh new debut album that I finally remembered it. HC play a wizardly hodgepodge of bearded stoner metal, gritty sludge, and blackened thrash with some truly ripping guitars (just listen to 'Wolves' Banquet' and you'll see what I mean). As the band themselves pointed out, this description "may sound like a trainwreck", but does indeed come across as a cohesive and thoughtfully constructed slab of metal. If I had to compare their sound to anything, I'd tell you that it falls somewhere between Saviours, Kylesa, and Lair of the Minotaur, with just a touch of death metal holding it all together. Essentially, it's music for people who like beer, weed, and jean jackets. And hey, I only like 1/3 of those things, and I still think it's great.
The Living Doorway (December 8, 2011)
A great band out of San Francisco, California, Hazzard's Cure are a fairly new band that are playing regularly throughout the West Coast. featuring members of Owl, Hotblack Desiato, Acts Of Sedition, Etc., Hazzard's Cure only focus on the essentials: Weed, Beer, and Metal. that should be enough for you to get interested. "Hazzard's Cure" was recorded by the almighty Greg Wilkinson at Earhammer Studios and released through Lummox Records in 2011 and is easily one of the best albums of the year. really liked all of the songs on this album, they flowed together well and kept me guessing as to what was coming next. "Meet Me At The Mountain" and "Tossed and Dethroned" stood out the most. really like when bands can use blast beats effectively and still maintain whatever sound they are creating. now that is fucking essential. guitars are fucking supreme without a doubt. another great bay area band, Hazzard's Cure are continually proving to be one of the best. live shows are always sweet, the place is always rockin' to the jams brought forth. do not miss your chance to see them.
Hellcrust (December 12, 2011)
Sludge metal is a genre that really has no business being super polished and pristine sounding. Sludge metal should, as the name suggests, be dirty and crusty sounding; I really don't understand how we've come to a point where sludge metal can be defined as something that's polished and covered in a shine. As you can probably tell, this is not what you can expect from this record.
What you can expect from this is a very primal and true-to-form sort of sound, it's not called sludge for nothing. The production on here really leaves the band sounding authentic and live sounding, which suits the music the band plays very well. The whisky soaked blues riffs and punch-drunk thrash blasts serve to be treated to a more live sounding production that makes it feel like the band is playing live, only just a bit cleaner. There isn't anything on here that'll make you feel like you're listening to a machine playing these songs. The only thing I might have done differently, production, or rather the mix, wise would have been to put the vocals a little bit higher, but not by much, the production is really quite good on here.
In terms of songwriting, I do believe these guys show a lot of promise and talent in their respective style. Like I said above, the riffs tend to be more blues based but often bring in a couple of other elements as well. There are clear nods to the doom metal and stoner rock genre mixed along with their sludge-meets-thrash sound. There are also a couple of sections to recall bits of black metal as well, which I particularly enjoyed. The use of tremolo picked sections or the occasional break into short blast-beats brought an interesting flavor to the album that I do believe helps to separate them from the legions of other sludge groups out right now. I also thought that when the band went into a quiet moment, Clashing of Hordes for example, it did the track a world of good because it not only brought in a more diverse sounding dichotomy within the track, but they played it straight and it sounded great, it helped make the track in my opinion. Now, I do have one gripe about the sound of the band, and it's more of a personal thing, I'm sure others could either get over it or they might even enjoy it a lot, but I just can't get into some of the really cheesy vocal lines or lyrics, Prayer of The Hunted comes to mind when I say this. For me, I can certainly understand the whole mythical sort of lyrical side, and it's not a subject I usually address, but I just found some of the lyrics to be rather intrusive and kind of just make me cringe during a couple of parts in an otherwise pretty cool song.
All in all though, it's a very solid slab of sludge with quite a bit of other influences peeking through. I think these guys definitely have talent and are very skilled songwriters, a band to keep an eye on for sure. Check it out if you like sludge, stoner, or doom metal, you will not be disappointed by this.
Don't Count On It Reviews (December 13, 2011)
Hazzard’s Cure is an album from a band by the same name. It’s a seven-track whirlwind of music created by Shane Bergman, Chris Corona, Leo Buckley, and Clint Baechle. Their music, while certainly metal, is difficult to pin down further than that. It’s an interesting mix of sound which changes and curves as the album progresses. At times we are treated to the typical collection of growls over heavy instrumentals, other times we are treated to smoother lyrics over pulsing guitar work and sometimes the band almost appears to be giving us a break, letting us catch our breath a bit, though never for long.
While I find it difficult to categorize Hazzard’s Cure, there are some general observations I can make about the album. For one, the guitar work is top notch. The group has a way of building the intensity of their guitars, winding them up, pausing and winding up again. It’s quite a powerful technique and it quickly builds the mood, the tension, inherent in the band’s songs. I will also say there is a lot of energy on this album. The band comes in strong, plays hard and really gives us our money’s worth on these seven tracks. The song Meet Me At The Mountain is especially powerful as is Clashing Of Hordes, though in very different ways. The former comes in low and slow with the stalking patience of a tiger; with the powerful, unstoppable flow of a river. It’s intense, resonating in the bones and the soul. Clashing Of the Hordes, takes a different approach. It starts like a punch to the face, violent, intense, and it stays on top, smashing its verses down upon our heads like an angry god. The band doesn’t show off this impressive range often, but it’s there and I appreciate their ability to excel at opposite ends of the spectrum.
Hazzard’s Cure may not have the same multi-layered sophistication some more established bands have, but seeing as this is their first full album, I think we can safely say they are ahead of the curve. They have coordination and they have energy and, again, some absolutely amazing guitar & bass work. I think these guys are an act to follow, not only because Hazzard’s Cure is a good album, but because it promises great albums to come.
We Love Metal (December 15, 2011)
I stumbled upon this ensemble while trawling through bandcamp, and took the artwork to be a sign that the band were a thrash one. Not so. Hazzard's Cure play a sludgy, stoner metal style, which is described catchily on the bands profile as "epic blackened stoner thrash". Curious as to what this might sound like, I gave the album a listen.
The album certainly sounds interesting, and is certainly an interesting
medley of styles - The deep lower end and general thunderous sound
represents the stoner, sludgy side of things, but there definitely is a
vein of thrash within the music, which comes into play in the form of
the speed and anger of the music. The vocals in many places top it off,
being quintessential extreme - loyal to no genre in particular, but
harsh nonetheless. This creates something of a combination of atmosphere
and general thrashiness, which is tasteful, as opposed to over the top.
There are plenty of songs which don't go down such a riffy road, too,
and these help hold up the sludge side of the deal, and some of the
atmosphere encountered therein is impressive to say the least, boosted
up by the tightness of the recording, and by the very amiable
production, which is roughly optimum for the style of music being
produced. As the album progresses, you find yourself exposed to a little
bit of everything, influences from the four corners of the metal world,
which is as rewarding when you anticipate it as it is when you don't.
The lead guitar is finely honed, and sounds damn pleasing when it rears it's head, with some smooth, creamy solos, in songs such as "Tossed and Dethroned", which adds a dash of serene emotion to the maelstrom of sections which the song is comprised of. There are soft, clean guitar parts, here and there, too, in an almost ballad-like sense, which is more than welcome, considering that it's well-done, and not tacky. The vocals are as diverse as the music, ranging from a harsh scream to a Baroness/Mastodon style gruff bellow, with just quite a lot of ground being covered in between. "Prayer of the Hunted" has some really good black-metal style shrieks and wails. The combination of elements is at it's most enjoyable in the epic nine-minute closer, which is sludgy as hell, but also brings a bit of everything else to the table, then, to elongate the metaphor, arranges it into a pleasing sculpture... plates... food... cutlery, the lot.
Heavy Metal Spotlight (December 18, 2011)
This San Francisco four piece sounds like a hardcore band who found a box of Mans Ruin records and decided to incorporate those influences into their sound in order to get better paying gigs at bars that don't allow naked bums inside. Good for them because this self titled release of theirs doesn't have a sell by date on it like most stoner sludge which has come out over the past two years. HAZZARD'S CURE actually has a much needed fresh sound (well at least fresher than most) that even touches on the technical edge which is more classic metal than prog. I'm sure someone else will reference a notable Atlanta, Georgia act as an influence but I'm sick of all those acts as well as critics who quickly name drop them for lack of coming up with an original thought. This is just another decent band which proves that no one has a corner on the sludge market. You don't need to live a thirty miles from a swamp to be sludgey.
There are a lot of aspects to this release which I like. The most obvious is that their hardcore influence tears at you like a hundred unclasped safety pins ripping your flesh. When they break into a speedy run you can just imagine the spikey headed nutbags flying around in front of them when they're playing a show. Then comes their slower moments, so the smokers can catch their breath, which hearkens back to the late 90's era of sludge and aggressive non hippie stoner grooves. Once in a while there's some clean guitar solos that stand out more than a bearded tranny trying out for a high school cheerleader squad. Plus there's plenty of twin guitar interplay that hits you square in the forehead like a ballpean hammer. Then again it might be more like being shot with a nailgun but in the knee caps not the face. There's that pounding metal to bone sound which soft flesh would hamper.
All together the basis for HAZZARD'S CURE's style are these filthy sounding riffs (great guitar tones) paired up with neck snapping lead work with mixed song structures and decent speed variations. Toss in a host of alternating vocal styles from aggro punk screams to venomous screeching and even some clean vocal runs. There's seven cuts on here that don't break out on all levels but keep within a vibe that's interesting throughout. I mean this band is pulling a lot of cool sounding stuff from their bag which also goes well with the mixed level production. A band like this was meant to sound dirty. Maybe that's why they ended their opener with the sound of some poor bastard vomiting. Either way I'd keep an eye on these guys because I doubt they'll still be self releasing their stuff anymore in the near future.
Scumfeast Metal 666 (December 20, 2011)
Hazzard's Cure are revitalizing the Bay Area sound, by incorporating the significant 80's thrash into doom and stoner rock. The San Francisco scene has not heard something quite this ground-breaking in thirty years. The production quality is gritty (albeit well done), the thrash is fast paced and angry (just like we want thrash to be), and the lows are just down right sludgy. Add well placed blast beats and vocals that mix between hardcore shouts, blackened shrieks, and cleanly sung melodies and we have a blueprint for metal success. This may all seem like a confusing mash-up, but Hazzard's Cure, and their supreme orchestration have devised a truly cohesive battle plan. If that isn't enough to sale Hazzard's Cure, they have played with some of HP's favorites, Red Fang, Black Cobra, and Giant Squid. Be sure to give them a listen over at bandcamp, and while you're at it, order a cassette tape of the self-titled release!
Heavy Planet Stoner Blog (January 11, 2012)
Some genres are just asking for a review, especially self-proclaimed “epic blackened Stoner Thrash” Metallers Hazzard’s Cure with their eponymous début album. It’s a fairly grand claim from the quartet, and one I felt I had to explore, especially given the interesting album cover. Those in the scene should recognize some familiar previous bands (Owl and Walken, for example), but the music itself sounds completely fresh and original from the deserts of… San Francisco?!
Psilocybin starts off with no fuss, some fuzzy groove kicks in with Hardcore screams possessing just a tinge of Old-school Black Metal, even if the music at this point is devoid of that influence. Hazzard’s Cure have clearly cut their teeth on the live circuit; the drums from Baechle are varied, yet tight and controlled, with twin guitarists Buckley and Corona bringing out riffs and leads all over the place. The band also excel at shifting tempo and section with ease, moving into a crusty-Punk-esque part before slowing down for a surreal soundscape of bottles smashing and vomiting, a sign of a true ‘bar-Metal’ band. Bassist Bergman gets his own limelight on the follow-up instrumental track, Meet Me at the Mountain, complete with harshly sung “whoas” which sound like they’re on one serious trip, finishing off with a relaxed late-Mastodonian guitar solo to segue into the next grooving track.
Vocal duties are difficult to pin down in this band, as all three stringsmen share them, so I remain unsure as to who does what, but all the styles suit the music perfectly. There’s a cool Orange Goblin-like harsh singing style, the aforementioned Old-school BM-esque screaming, and a secondary scream more akin to Buzzov-en, occasionally all in the same song (Prayer of the Hunted). The lyrics mostly deal with “drugs, death and mountains” according to the band, although they also indulge in battle topics on Clashing of Hordes, and mostly work very well except for a little over-repetition in Prayer of the Hunted.
In general, there is very little to complain about across the 38-minute running time; the band’s short attention span mean the songs never drag, even the longer ones, and closer Great Dishonor is nothing short of majestic in the way the melodies and solos unfold to its final crushing conclusion. There’s also a high quality acoustic post-rock interlude in the latter half of Clashing… which echoes Baroness’ Wanderlust, right down to the polyrhythmic drumming, while Wolves’ Banquet showcases the band’s technical skills.
To summarize, if you haven’t already bought this album and happen to be a fan of Stoner Metal in any form, then I can highly recommend this release. My first impressions have lasted through each subsequent listen of Hazzard’s Cure: an absolutely phenomenal début work from a band who know their stuff and still have plenty of energy to burn. If this is the bar that they’ve set themselves, then you can count me among the first to check out the forthcoming releases.
Death Metal Baboon (February 11, 2012)
The good thing about Oakland's HAZZARD'S CURE is that no-one can claim they are in anyway generic or predictable. In fact, their interpretation of sludge is highly enjoyable and energetic. This is primarily related to the fact that HAZZARD'S CURE have significantly more to offer than your average sludge band. Stop! One moment please, I'm not sure if it's right to stuck these cats in the sludge corner. The first track 'Psilocybin' displays similarities to EyeHateGod, but 'Prayer Of The Hunted' sounds more like High On Fire while 'Tossed And Dethroned' could originate from Orange Goblin. And then there is a distinct passion for thrash and black metal in a couple of songs.
As you can see, HAZZARD'S CURE don't make it easy for the reviewer. However, one thing is certain: I enjoy listening to the included seven songs. Technically flawless, the crunchy guitars are rough and heavy as a rusty steel girder and the drums thunder like a mighty hammer through your chest. Most of the tracks merge into one another which gives the impression that this album only consists of two or three songs.
Another advantage is the variety of changes in tempo, ranging from mid-tempo grooves to fiery and fast outbursts and taking in some interesting rhythmic patterns along the way. I believe that this is fundamentally a credit to drummer Clint Baechle, who's doing an excellent job here. Tracks such as 'Great Dishonor' ooze with a pulsating hostile energy while 'Clashing Of Hordes' surprises with a few acoustic guitars and clean vocals. All in all, HAZZARD'S CURE have managed to record a complex, well-executed and brutal debut album. Rarely a band this consistently good and unafraid to tread along the outside edge of the path.(KK)
Cosmic Lava (date unknown)