I’m not asking you, I’m telling you.
For those who have never heard of punk/metallic hardcore miscreants Curl Up And Die, let’s travel back in time and return to a place where punk rock intersected with metal and hardcore. This was before bands started rocking guyliner and making over produced recordings of generic dookie (cough, cough, metalcore). If you’ve heard of Curl Up And Die, good on you. Your life is steering in the proper direction, and all is right with the world. When CUAD were first making the rounds, they were widely referred to as “The Poor Man’s Converge”. It’s not fair to accuse them of being a clone, however, because both bands came out around the same time. From a musical standpoint, they absolutely bear resemblances to the mighty Converge when they engage in the short punk rock fits of rage that may make you want to wild out like folks do when they hear Slayer in church. After that, CUAD differentiates themselves from the pack by championing ignorance and aggression in one smooth serving cocktail that will have you savoring each and every sip of the drink. If you’re a fan of Slayer’s Undisputed Attitude (the best Slayer album), think about what Converge would sound like if they wrote original songs in that vein and that’s pretty much how CUAD rolls.
You see the picture above, right? I’m wondering why a young Buzz Aldrin is stuck between a pair of capital letter A’s on a good enough swing set in Anytown,USA. The picturesque background is a desirable locale for any well-to-do family. That sounds all well and good, only everything is not as it seems. Once Buzz settles in to his surroundings, he realizes that the place in which he currently resides is no different than the place he fled to get here. It all makes sense when you hear the opening track “ “I Hate Almost Every Person I Come In Contact With” off of the We May Be Through With the Past… EP. That song title gets the A.C. achievement award in the “Belligerent Curmudgeon” category and fully delivers on its promise. Within a span of one minute and thirty-seconds of this track’s runtime, CUAD take a few relatively simple sounding riffs and maximize their effectiveness by alternating between a thashy verse into a cave your face in breakdown chorus. They don’t need anything else to get their point across. It’s broken down to neandrathal levels of simplicity. Get out that Captain Caveman club and start bashing. That’s all there is to it. Just hang out on that swing set, with an unpleasant look on your face and outright refuse to interact with anyone.
There’s this album by Converge called Jane Doe. It’s kind of a big deal. When CUAD dropped But The Past Ain’t Through With Us EP (the companion piece to We May Be Through With the Past…) they took a page right out of the Jane Doe playbook whether they knew it or not. Every time I hear the beginning of the song “Fault And Fracture,” I can’t help but think that it somehow played a role in the opening of “If This Band Thing Doesn’t Pan Out We’re Joining The Army.” And while the riffs in each of the tracks aren’t identical, the way the drumming employs the choppy patterns are what stick out. You can contrast and compare for yourself. It won’t bother you one bit because both tracks carry themselves just fine. No need to split hairs over such things.
CUAD’s 2002 debut full length, Unfortunately, We’re Not Robots tells you plenty about the mindset of this band through the song titles alone. It’s a very romantic record at its core. It tells your loved one that Kissing You Is Like Licking An Ashtray and that despite all everyone’s best efforts, You’d Be Cuter If I Shot You In The Face. OK, maybe romantic comedies are not your bag. Let’s get down to more serious issues like comic books and everyone’s favorite Lord and Savior. It begs the question, Doctor Doom. A Man Of Science, Doesn’t Believe In Jesus, Why The Fuck Do You? This is what happens when Ted Nugent Goes AOL, it results in Total Pandemonium. This is what happens when you’re On The Run From Johnny Law Ain’t No Trip To Cleveland . Do you like to hurl your undigested food? Probably not, but if you do there’s 100 M.P.H. Vomit Dedicated To Jon, or perhaps you’re watching this year’s election season and thinking Your Idea Of Fascism And Global Intervention Makes Me Puke. Maybe you are one of those people that likes watching the New Year’s Eve countdowns and you’re just not feeling that MTV guy anymore.What you need is Rich Hall (Runner Up In A Carson Daly Lookalike Contest). Or maybe you want to reflect on how modern technology has thwarted your best efforts to be a productive employee in the workplace. You’ve failed to evolve, so it’s like I Lost My Job To A Machine. That’s unfortunate, so why don’t you Make Like A Computer And Get With The Program, and listen to Curl Up and Die.
And in closing, let’s bring this thing full circle. Converge’s Kurt Ballou recorded and produced everything in this post. The two bands sounding somewhat similar to each other must have been a non-factor. It’s hard to fault them for wanting a quality recording. While CUAD is no longer an active band, you can hear vocalist Mike Minnick in the baseball-themed grind act Puig Destroyer (a band named after Dodger’s outfielder Yasiel Puig). And guitarist Matt Fuchs has a newer band called Red Vom. As reunions are all the rage these days, maybe these guys will reunite and do something. I’d certainly be on board with that.