Kurse Relic are a black metal duo Seattle who self-released their debut full-length, Prodigal Wound, on Bandcamp a few weeks ago in mid-June. Composed of equal parts smoldering black doom ritual, berzerk altar-destroying violence and intoxicating death essence, Kurse Relic’s sound on their debut is at once focused and ever-shifting. At six tracks-long, and with none of those tracks being shorter than six minutes, Prodigal Wound is not technically a demo, but there was no way we were passing up the opportunity to introduce our readers to a work this potent and this deadly.
M’nunnthu (guitars and vox) and Æsmönarr (drums and vox), the shadowy figures behind this new death-black banner explain their genesis as such: “As our circles crossed there was quick recognition of the mutual interest in black metal and acknowledgement of the relative dearth of uncompromising, evil, dark and spooky black metal. Those who’ve established USBM are few compared to those who’ve compromised it. We wanted to dive deep into the tradition of darkness and to uphold the inversion of all beyond the cross. We began writing for Kurse Relic in early 2019.
“We sought to just make evil-invoking black metal and to only focus on the timeless nature of darkness,” they say in explanation of their sound. “If something wasn’t in congress with this it was quickly abstracted or deconstructed to produce a feeling of drag. Sorcery predated our hominid conception and as such should naturally echo in the Kurse.”
The decision to remain a duo was apparently a conscious one, according to Kurse Relic, who say: “Kurse Relic is our first mutual creation. With a lot of black metal bands, as membership increases so does the greying of the output. Of course there are countless exceptions though. More members can also make it hard to ‘show up’ and slow the study of darkness. The two of us share a unified vision that makes creation flow freely. We’re ambivalent to adding more musicians but are interested in possible ‘collaborations.’”
Rather than ride the coattails of an already-established band and their sound, Kurse Relic say they sought to bring something different to the underground.
“We share an unlistable amalgam of influences, not limited to black metal,” they explain. “We weren’t looking to work within the existing templates of any forbearers of the genre. The prominent influences are darkness & plague, eternal and perennial. It permeates our primal existence. The nature of death and darkness beyond the hubris of time.
“Kurse Relic seeks to embody the very roots of terrestrial violence. Revenge for the abrogation of earthly providence, ‘left hand’ will of the ancients, their magicks and pure blunt force,” the band continues. “The collisions of ancient hominids, who might be incurred to cast a dormant doom upon delineated incarnations of kings and bipedal beasts of burden. The Kurse upon any who seek to capture the light. True blasphemy can only be in service to annihilation of all constructs of power and shame alike. It is of the curse inherent in roots, disease of all fruits, ever begatting ritual return of violence.”
As for their likewise unique logo, that came from within the band, too. According to the band, “Aesmönarr penned the moniker in black ink to reclaim and compromise calligraphic doctrines. The cage of the ninth rib is the earliest evidence of inter-hominid violence and the first regonized murder. The slow death of a cave dwelling neanderthal. Two neanderthal skulls channel The curse of the extinct and erased.”
The band goes on to explain how their pseudonyms “are abstractions meant to null any projection of ego.” They say, “Without going into personal context they come from corrupted confluence of the oldest known tongues and various migrations. They were developed with the studious help of Tghnnyyth (Foul, Cerna Krev). The expertise of Tghnnyyth in untangling lineations of language to the roots for primal inversion was central to the process.”
Kurse Relic’s debut opens with the mid-paced strangler, “Grazers of the Black Plains.” According to the band, “‘Grazers of the Black Plains’ is the end in multitudes of rapturous cyclical apocalypse. A grand strike from deified death and the original Kurse. It’s about our hopeless cycles along the ascension of terrestrial decay. Our feeble collective promulgate the futile attempts of proliferation beyond death’s mandate and inherent victimization of cursory beings. Of the remnant of creatures adept to grazing on the products of diseased avarice in their hubris of time under eternal mandate of the Kurse.”
The band says they wrote this album, “track by track, adhering to the ubiquity of the Kurse” and that “the thematic outline was formatted to each ritual as they were finished instrumentally.” They say the album title itself signifies “the birth of violence and ensuing lust thereof. That which begat the Kurse and the breaking of paradise. Echoes of the wound eternal and usurpation of providence. The ninth rib as a physical genesis regards.”
They go on to explain: “Prodigal Wound was recorded in 13 hours at ‘The Trap,’ a garage studio under the auspices of H. Murder (Deconsecration, Catheter). Most sonic pummelings were captured in a single take.”
The band says: “We’d originally imagined more of a rudimentary, raw and dissonant creation. We were somewhat caught off guard by the clarity of the final mix and master. Ultimately we decided that a loud and expansive production brought forth the punishing nature of the Kurse more effectively.”
The band says that a limited run of physical incarnations of Prodigal Wound will soon be available under “Vermignosis, the nascent banner run by Aesmönarr,” but they remain open to working with labels.
Furthermore, Kurse Relic will perform live as soon as possible. “We seek to spread the Kurse to all who’d receive it in visceral form,” they say. “We held two rituals prior to recording and the current cascade of apocalypse. Many more rituals await once the plague transmission ceases. We feel confident in our abilities to recreate Prodigal Wound in a live setting as a two piece.”
Looking ahead, Kurse Relic say: “We’re steadily working out more material expanding on themes discussed. We’re contemplating seeking a like-minded band for a split or just powering through and making a second album. More immediately we seek to finalize the physical forms of Prodigal Wound and work out performances for the distant future.”