From New York comes the second speed metal band on Shadow Kingdom Records to cross my path in 2019, the short and monstrous record known as Fatal Curse’s Breaking The Trance. This isn’t the gritty and choppy structure reliant on buzz-saw sounding guitars that tends to litter the genre. Instead, there’s a clear eye for beefy melodies that incorporate speed picking but isn’t built on it bottom up.
Here, you’ll find patterns of descending guitar riffs as well as steady melodies that ride alongside the vocals. “Blade In The Dark” is one that uses the former for transitional fills and the latter to double down on brightness. The high use of major scales bring forth a more reachable aura, combining it with hooky licks is what gives Breaking The Trance its own identity. The speed metal chops themselves are more or less pressed into the attitude driven passages, thus don’t take the forefront. However, the songs that contain a sinister take are usually slower, most obviously shown in the classic-styled “Priestess Of Fire.”
On the contrary, the bass guitar drives the intensity up a notch, which complements the vocal passages quite well. “Can’t Stop The Thunder” blocks pummeling bass and drum kicks together with melodic riffs and concise vocal work to make for a balanced mix. Other tracks utilize it for a sturdier foundation, such as with “Gang Life” bringing on bass fills and keeping the background in familiar territory as the guitars bust into ripping solos.
Really, this is a straightforward heavy metal record that uses a lot of speed aesthetic but ultimately keeps things rather safe. The song construction itself is very impressive and the production allows for every instrument to fulfill something unique one way or another. The solos, the bass-dense rhythms, the clean singing, and the steady yet heavy drumming are all prevalent. And it’s all done in under a half hour.