In his review of Curse Upon A Prayer‘s last release, the 2018 EP The Three Woes, our writer Wil Cifer asserted that “hatred and darkness are two crucial components of black metal” and gave credit to this band for putting “every ounce of their hateful hearts” into that release, with an execution that was “razor-sharp and in a similar sonic zip code as Marduk and 1349“. Yet he also expressed the hope that they would take the opportunity on their next album “to explore a wider scale of dynamics”.
Now we will discover whether that wish has come to pass, because Curse Upon A Prayer have completed their third album, Infidel, which will be released by Saturnal Records on April 10th. Some things have not changed. As before, the band continue to direct the major force of their venom against Islam rather than the more commonplace target of Christianity (and really, why should any institutionalized religion be immune from the assault of blaspheming black metal?). As before, they show themselves capable of discharging music of gripping intensity with a balance of surgical precision and wild hostility. But have they chosen, to a greater degree, to leaven their breathtaking ferocity with other sensations this time?
The answer is yes, as you’ll discover through our premiere of a song from the album named “Haram“.
In Islamic jurisprudence, haram is used to refer to any act that is forbidden by Allah, and is one of five Islamic commandments that purport to define the morality of human action (or so says this source). Rather than exalt such a judgment of what is inexcusable sin, Curse Upon A Prayer savage the presumptuousness of such dictates with absolute fury.
In its main course, the song is pure thunder and gale-force winds — a combination of ravaging low-end power and roiling riffs, a blast of pounding bass, bludgeoning drums, and frenzied fretwork, accompanied by barbaric screams and vicious roars. But all is not warfare. When the drums recede into a measured march, a trilling melody surfaces that seems despairing and full of dread… and the song then seems to end.
Croaking gasps and sinister whispers emerge, along with eerie ringing notes and haunted shimmering tones that collectively further expand the spectrum of sound within the track. The band follow this chilling interlude with another eruption of mind-plundering chaos — but that isn’t how the song ends. It ends instead with a call-and-response of enraged voices.
To be sure, Infidel takes no prisoners, either lyrically or musically, but as this song proves (and it’s proven to an even greater degree in other tracks), Curse Upon A Prayer have indeed introduced greater dynamism. As the advance press for the album accurately forecasts, they show themselves formidably capable of “throttling the listener with filthy physicality one minute and haunting their dreams the next”, with each of the nine songs “revealing deeper, darker truths”. As further evidence, we’re including streams of the lyric video for the title track and of the previously released song “Al-Masih ad-Dajjal”, along with today’s premiere.
Infidel will be available through Saturnal on CD and digitally, and pre-orders are available now.
CURSE UPON A PRAYER: