EXTINCT EXIST: Cursed Earth: 12”

One punk’s opinion: In the realm of heavy, d-beat hardcore, the pinnacle was reached with three consecutive records: Tragedy’s Vengeance (2002), From Ashes Rise’s Nightmares (2003), and Tragedy’s Nerve Damage (2006). Aside from the obviously and epically influential Discharge, everything in this very specific subgenre released previous, concurrent, and subsequent to these masterpieces has paled in comparison, as good as some of them have been. The songwriting, performance, and production on these three albums achieved a perfection that is still untouchable. But every once in a while, you hear a record that gives you pause, reminds you of that black-holiest of trinities. Cursed Earth is one of those records. That’s not to say that it gives any of the three competition. What it does say is that this is a quality record: thoughtfully composed songs that take you somewhere; thrashing and heavy, yet restrained and acutely intentional in their musical and lyrical journey. As might be expected based on the title, Cursed Earth focuses on environmental destruction, its impact on animal and human life, and the apathy displayed by most of the world toward our imminent doom. “Meanwhile, oblivious to all, the Parisian diner finishes off his steak and politely motions for the bill.” A beautifully produced booklet accompanies the record, with a selection of prose such as this, accompanying each song’s lyrics. Highly recommended listening for those with any reverence toward the above records. –Chad Williams (Ruin Nation, ruination.org, [email protected] / Aborted Society, abortedsociety.com)