Laugh Tracks: Curtis Cook

Photo: Comedy Central

This week we welcome Curtis Cook, a Los Angeles standup comedian and writer for The Jim Jefferies Show. He’s been seen on Portlandia, Viceland’s Flophouse, and Comedy Central as well as venues and festivals throughout the country; including the Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Clusterfest, and the Chicago Comedy Exposition. A fan of hardcore music, Curtis agreed to take a listen to some of my personal favorite Metal/Hardcore songs and give an honest review of them:

Song: “Pray for the Nihilanth”
Album: In Narcosis
Gene’s Take: Ugh, that intro is just so heavy. I’m always a sucker for chuggy guitar riffs with blast beats under them. If Korn played blast beats they would be my favorite band ever. Who am I kidding; they already are.

Cook’s thoughts:  When I hear songs like this, I like to think of a big goblin singing and then a little goblin jumping out from behind him like, “Hey, guys. I also have something to say.” It’s like if James P. Sullivan and Mike Wazowski started a grindcore band.

Song: “Nakryta Neba Burym Dakhom”
Album: Їм часто сниться капіж (They Often See Dreams About the Spring)
Gene’s Take: This song is so great, it honestly reminds me of Deafheaven but I assume the lead singer doesn’t look like an Abercrombie model so I think it’s ok to like this.

Cook’s thoughts:  Black metal used to be my go-to music whenever I was in the mood for some good ol’ fashioned Pagan racism, but the genre has evolved over the years. Now, instead of Nazis singing about wizards, we get Ukrainians singing about… the Holodomor? Maybe? I actually have no idea what the lyrics are about because I don’t speak the language they’re incoherently screaming in. But considering they’re Ukrainian, it’s probably something stoic and gloomy.

Regardless, I appreciate the fresh take on an old genre. And if I ever find myself missing the white supremacy of black metal’s heyday, there’s always Taake.

Song: “Conflicting Ideas”
Album: Vengeance
Gene’s Take: I don’t understand why they would continue making D-beat after these dudes perfected it. Like literally, that intro riff is just so fucking perfect.

Cook’s thoughts:  I read that these guys are currently based up in Portland, Oregon. That makes sense, because like Portland, I’m not sure I like this band, but I probably agree with their politics.  

Song: “Altars In Gore”
Album: Buried Death
Gene’s Take: Remember that thing I said about chuggy riffs and blast beats? Yeah, sometimes you don’t need the blastbeats. Sometimes you just need steady drumming and vomit sounds. This is like the “Stayin’ Alive” of death metal.

Cook’s thoughts:  

This song sounds like something a zombie would surf to, but that’s fine. My biggest problem is with the band’s name.

Look, I get that there’s a culture of darkness and satanism surrounding the hardcore scene, but c’mon. “Altars in Gore” by Coffins? That’s a little on the nose. Same with bands like Crypt Sermon, Cannibal Corpse, and Thy Art is Murder. Yeah, the music is cool. And sure, sometimes I do feel like I’m the destruction of innocence, the violence embedded in flesh, and/or the pain in the bones of the mortal shell. But what’s with the name? We get it, you’re hardcore. But you don’t have to be so Anal Cunt about it.

Song: “Miserable Disgrace”
Album: Split w/ Pavel Chekov
Gene’s Take: This band sucks, probably because I’m the lead singer. This one is off our split with Pavel Chekov, who are awesome. Go listen to them.

Cook’s Thoughts: I don’t know what kind of miserable bastard decides to be both a standup comedian and the lead singer of a grindcore band, but I assume it’s someone who absolutely hates the idea of success.

Not the kind of person who fears success. That’s different. Whatever woebegone soul pursues both comedy and grindcore must hate success so much that he sincerely can’t remember a time when most of his furniture wasn’t crafted out of duct tape and half empty PBR cans. The kind of person who, instead of setting healthy goals for himself, often wonders, “Hmm. Should I go be miserable at the open mic full of sad, lonely men or the basement house show full of sad, lonely men?” This is clearly the kind of guy who hates success so much that not only does he look a gift horse in the mouth, but he then proceeds to skull fuck that gift horse.

Anyways, great song, Gene. Thanks again for asking me to write this.

Song: “All I Need”
Album: Midwest Straight Edge
Gene’s Take: This is the straight edge side project of Isaac from Knocked Loose. I know “trve” metalheads have tight buttholes around that band but this shit is just so heavy and anthemic. True til death.

Cook’s Thoughts: I’m not straight edge. Far from it. In fact, I’m en route to being blotto as I write this.

That being said, I’m really into straight edge music. It always sounds so fuckin’ livid and gnarly. And that makes sense. After all, no one has more anxious rage than a full grown white man who’s never known the sweet relief of drugs or alcohol. Straight edge dudes are like if you crammed the frustrations of every single angst-riddled teenager who had ever worn a choker to Warped Tour into the body of a lonely, balding man with one too many Black Flag t-shirts.

Still, this song is so dope it makes me want to Sharpie an “X” on each hand and beat the shit out of a drunkard before going home and furiously masturbating into a pot of Sleepytime Tea, which, I assume, is what being straight edge is all about.