Carnal Records have a knack for rounding up and releasing some top quality black metal, including Triumf, the latest release from Cursed 13. Hailing from Sweden, Cursed 13 started life as a solo project, but now functions as a fully fledged band. The tracks on this album have a lengthy time span, from 1998 to 2013 to be precise.

The first track No Return has an undoubtedly evil, deeply disturbing energy from the beginning. The vocals are anguished and do to your brain what extra coarse sandpaper would do to a fresh cut. Despite being seeped in evil energy, it has this majorly catchy rhythm. It’s a hugely atmospheric, strong and pleasingly sinister start to the album.

Dead and Gone has a fucking furious intro. There’s a definite old school feel about this track, but at moments there’s flashes of fresh, modern inspiration. The guitar work is intense and tight. You feel like you’re being garrotted with steel wire. It’s all about intensity from the first note to the last.

I was really intrigued about the third track Death N Roll  and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s diverse, different and truly fucking insane. There are some noises at one point, which sounds as if some poor fucker is having his life fluid supped on.

I Love Cyanide has a low, slow melancholic intro, but then demonic vocals emerge and it becomes something really quite ominous. The tempo shifts constantly, and there’s a hell of a lot going on.

Aska til Aska is a short, but really quite surreal and enjoyable instrumental.

Frälst av EldTrack feels brutal, powerful and all consuming from the beginning. It’s the drumming that really snatches my attention in this track. Speed, ferocity, horror – it’s all there. The unpredictable rhythm makes me  feel like I’m lost at sea, with strong waves rolling over the top of my head. I come back up but they push me back down before I’ve had chance to catch a breath.

När Marorna Kallar has something of a lighter intro. It doesn’t feel as oppressive or as heavy as the previous track. It feels quite a bit more minimal. The vocals sound exposed. It does get a bit heavy at times, leaving me feeling as if I’ve been pushed backwards into a new grave and covered with damp clods of soil. There’s some long-ish instrumentals, which work well to add darkness the atmosphere.

Seductress has a slow, almost sludgy start, though it builds up into this huge, all encompassing track, with power fuelled vocals. The guitar work is something to scream home about. It’s unlike anything they’ve already presented on the album. It’s thick with atmosphere and looks as if it’s a good contender for ‘favourite album track.’

Requiem/Victory has a dirty, catchy intro which sucks me in. There’s a lot going on, and time and again I’m bowled over by what this band is capable of creating. Each track so far has had its own individual sound and feel. That’s what I want in an album – diversity and an eagerness to draw away from the crowd.

Agitator (upptakt till Vrede)is another short instrumental. It has quite an unusual, electronic sound. It’s a massive contrast, but adds texture and displays the band’s adaptability.

The final track Vrede doesn’t have quite as much diversity as the previous tracks, but by the mid-way point it morphs into something really quite interesting and powerful.

For a début album, this is solid stuff. It’s massively accomplished, diverse and satisfying. Highly recommended.


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