Hard to imagine that one of the guys behind the filthy slithering death metal and mutant black drones found on the debut tape from Curseworship is Ross Hagen from the long-running dark ambient outfit Encomiast. While Hagen has been exploring heavier sonic territory in recent years with his experimental black metal project Schrei Aus Stein among other projects, the barbaric black sludge of Curseworship is easily the heaviest thing he's been involved with. On the trio's self-titled debut cassette (released through our own Infernal Machines series), Curseworship crawl through a grim subterranean sound-space of old-school death metal worship, metallic crust, industrial noise and psychedelic synthesizer, fused together into an ugly, mesmerizing mass of cavernous rumbling horror.
The a-side starts off with the lumbering, murky deathsludge of "Summoning", the gluey down-tuned death metal guitars and pounding drums creeping through a putrid haze of low-fi hiss and sputtering analogue electronics that swarm over the recording like expulsions of corpse-gas. There's no mistaking the old-school death metal influence here; these guys are drawing from Frost-style heaviness and the more primitive sludgy sounds of bands like Autopsy and Cianide, but that heaviness is heavily enshrouded in dense spurts of psychedelic electronic noise and swells of discordant riffage. At some points earl in the tape, Curseworship's music is so rotten and electronically-warped that it comes across as some weird cross between Hellhammer and Man Is The Bastard, crawling idiot death-worship lurching through the sepulchral fog until it finally dissolves into feedback and amp-noise at the end.
That's followed by "Heliophobia", which starts off with some moody clean guitar before the band crashes into another barbaric sludge assault; this one shifting between a gloomy, almost post-punk tinged mid-tempo groove and the slower, sludgier doom-laden riffage, again expelling gusts of squirmy analogue synth noise and swells of trippy cosmic electronics all across the band's rumbling gloomcrust. That track soon shifts from the plodding heaviness into a more abstract expanse of rumbling amp-drone, though, the drums falling away and leaving behind waves of filthy black guitar drone and disembodied blackened riffs that swirl through a haze of fractured electronic noise, stretching out endlessly before everything suddenly crashes back in to that lumbering down-tuned sludge at the end.
On the other side, the band's sound transforms into something much more abstract, drifting into a single long track of hellish blackened noise. "Goat Of A Thousand Young (Raising From Hell)" evokes unknowable Lovecraftian horrors through its sprawling oceanic currents of black static, harsh electronic noise spreading out as monstrous screams echo in the distance, the sound falling within that similar nightmarish HNW realm as Crown of Bone or Demonologists. Deeper in, however, the band begins to transform this murky blackened noisescape into something more atmospheric, as swells of dark synth start to drift in, and strains of symphonic sound start to peer through the dense waves of corrupted distortion, turning the track into a massive cloud formation of lightless Moog drift.