Cursed album cover by Jowls

Jowls – Cursed

(Tiny Engines)

What’s more painful then pealing the skin off of your own face? The vocals on Jowls’ Cursed. When I came across At The Drive In and the song”Chanbara” on In/Casino/Out, I felt the same with Cedric Bixler to bring a twister of powerful lyrical rants. Then came These Arms Are Snakes, and we felt the fury of Steve Snere’s mantra-like growls. Now comes the straight-line winds of Ryan Martin’s courageous roar.

I reference these two bands because they are groups I often return to just for the intoxicating effect. As immediate as Jowls’ sound seems, I feel confident this is a band that will fit the same category. The Chicago influence of John Harmon’s Cloud Mouth days helps re-iterate a firm structure in this album’s sound and the Midwestern growl.

Cursed has no time for breathing, “Ruins” instantly knocks the wind out of you. And that immediately transfers to a first glimpse at impressive musicianship with the song “Monotoned.” A build up into a diatribe between the precision of the drummer and the power chords of the guitars, you will swear Martin’s vocal chords are spewing out of your audible device and like shrapnel, hitting your face.

The band presents a case for some impressive hardcore that something Jade Tree would have been proud to sign. The music is a fierce battle between expression and pure adrenaline. Here you have a band who is comfortable enough in their own skin to really push the buttons on what they can accomplish on these songs.

Jowls Live

“Sway Slow” powers through a cadence that will carry you under its riptide. The band waxes and wanes between raw fury and breathable time signature suspension. “Indian Giver” will be your most accessible chance to experience three minute pop structure in an explosive hardcore context.

And “Long-Winded” leaves us with the longest song on the EP. You can guess that it’s also the most musically expressive. You can also imagine just how decisive the band can be in their choosing to experiment with their sound. They have mere moments before they convulse into pure extreme hardcore antics, ripped-up two-two drum pounding and head-bashing rhythms.

My ears will never be the same.

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