Curl Up And Die – The One Above All, The End Of All That Is
Record Label: Revelation Records
Release Date: August 23rd, 2005
The sophomore full length from Las Vegas based Curl Up And Die does not stray very far from the formula laid out on the band’s previous releases. Taken at face value, this statement can be interpreted incorrectly as negative, but in this case, Curl Up And Die have found a method that works and choose not to fix what clearly isn’t broken. The One Above All, The End Of All That Is is an extremely solid metalcore release that, although does not venture into uncharted territories, still manages to entertain and utilize the strongest elements of the genre.
The album displays traces of influence from some of hardcore’s heaviest hitters as evidenced from the very first track, “An Uncomfortable Routine”, a Botch-like, nearly 5 minute long song complete with twisting guitars and throaty screams. From the very first line of this song, the listener can tell what kind of sarcastic, oft blunt lyrical style is present on The One Above All... as vocalist Mike Minnick screams “I stick to my sheets like failed reproduction”, which may almost immediately allow you to decide whether or not you will enjoy the rest of the CD. Following the slow but interesting opener, the next two tracks burst forth in a true to form Curl Up And Die fashion with galloping, 80’s hardcore inspired drums and rapid fire vocal delivery sure to get your foot tapping. These two tracks are incredibly effective, acting as complete contrasts to the lumbering opener while introducing the harder elements of the band. “Antidepressants Are Depressing” is a 35 word bombast that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Converge record were it not for the different lyrical content. The ironically titled “Instrumental” (which actually is not an instrumental at all) introduces the softer side of Curl Up And Die. Containing parts both soft and ambient, “Instrumental” can even be considered beautiful at times in it’s minimalist approach and fluttering drums, which one might not expect from a band with a name like Curl Up And Die.
The lyrics are interesting enough to keep one’s attention with topics ranging from medication in society to self-deprecation, while managing to address each in unique ways. Minnick screams for a majority of the album, interspersing spoken sections and even an attempt at singing reminiscent of The Bled on “I’m Trying To Fly To The Moon…”. His vocal style is effective, but at times seems a little repetitive in his delivery, however the music more than makes up what vocal diversity is lacking. The band is tight and their sound is captured with excellent production courtesy of Alex Newport. The guitars are driving, yet pulsing. The drums are perfect compliments to the music, blasting at full throttle during the hard parts while still managing to show restraint on the slower sections. One of the best aspects of this album is the bands ability to transition effortlessly between hard and soft. Both the fast and slow songs are effective in portraying the vision CUAD had in mind when creating the album.
The One Above All... is not going to change your life or your opinions about hardcore music. In fact, it will probably only solidify your previous opinions, good or bad, about the genre. It is, however, simply a fun listen that doesn’t take itself too seriously in a scene notorious for doing just that. One need only to look at the tracklisting for an example. CUAD were creating funny song titles before it became standard and this effort is no exception with ridiculous names such as “Blood Mosh Hips Hair Lips Pills Fuck Death” and “I’m Trying To Fly To The Moon Using Two Magnets And Willpower”. The album artwork is also worth mentioning, substituting typical black themes for colorful blue and pink pastels and an excellent layout that just might say more about this band’s attitude than my words can express. Give this one a listen if you missed out on it initially like I did, you just might find something you like.