Say what you want about ‘Blessed and Cursed’ – the second album by a band rising from the ashes of apparently hugely influential post-hardcore outfit Mahumodo – but it doesn’t beat around the bush about its intentions. Song titles like ‘Drowning/Sinking’ or ‘A Foreboding Sky’ hint at emotionally explosive, albeit somewhat musically one-sided, content, and this is pretty much what we get. Singer Ed Gibbs’ contributions oscillate between the pressed screams common in this genre and almost radio-friendly, tuneful singing reminiscent of Underoath, creating a kind of vocal narrative that keeps things interesting while the guitars pound out yet another larger-than-life breakdown. The extensive, atmospheric intros and string sections (buried behind the all-conquering guitars) underline the album’s aim of packing an emotional punch, but you can’t help but think that there will be few people over 18 to whom these songs will mean something.

By Matthias Scherer

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