Review: “Thresholds” by The Curse Of Millhaven

“You must have heard about the Curse of Millhaven, How last Christmas Bill  Blake’s little boy didn’t come home. They found him the next week, up in One Mile creek. With his head bashed in and his pockets full of stones. Well, just imagine all the wailing and moaning. La la-la-la, la la-la-lie. Even Bill Blake’s boy, he had to die!” 

Whether Belgian Death Metallers The Curse Of Millhaven are named after the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds song of the same name about the murders of children in a small town called Millhaven or not, it’s a tale which is certainly a fireside horror classic. The band from Ypres formed in 2012 and unveiled their third studio album “Thresholds” promising a darker and more aggressive sound…

…starting with the album title track “Thresholds” rumbles like a Tank over the trenches with blast beats from Bart Rambour lifting things into an adrenalized set of Death Metal riffs to accompany Jasper Lobelle’s unclean roar. The a number of well executed tempo shifts create an atmosphere of swirling darkness as he screams “Death is what I will create” while the use of a Black Metal inspired melodic passage in place of a solo is masterful. “Shelter” sees Lobelle reach greater depths with barked vocals while the battery of blast beats and accompanying breakdowns give things a Metalcore element that you might not expect. Rich leads and to an epic fell with the band pushing their boundaries and testing some of their writing skills. “Sadistic Art” sweeps though with some wonderful lead work and intertwining sonics from Jerome Debruyne and Kurt Mylle giving a race-to-the-finish feel to the track that gallops along like a thoroughbred race horse. There is no doubting the skills on show, The Curse Of Millhaven are a band who have a clear direction and goal in mind, the trajectory is locked in and each player shines making the sound greater than the sum of its component parts.

“Path of Desperation” continues the Blackening of the Death Metal riffs with some some serious meat on their bones. A military marching drum pattern that has a couple of choice pick slides in it mid song is a fine example of the bands skill as they weave a path in and out of it with Rambour at his destructive best and Lobelle sounding like Lamb Of God frontman Randy Blythe. The album is then split into two by the acoustic intrumental interlude of “Enlightenment” which adds a classical Metal touch and meloncholy mood that brings to mind Tudor dances. Lobelle isn’t the kind of vocalist that you can imagine clean vocals coming though if Whitechapel frontman Phil Bozeman can do it, who knows? “My Reign, My Wrath” breaks the melody of the interlude like a Karate chop splinters a wooden block with some seriously headbangable riffs and blast beats a plenty. The lyrical storytelling style lacks some of the emotional depth of its contents in the delivery but makes up for it with sheer brute force. The lead flourishes and breakdown are pure first wave of Metalcore and the whole thing is slick and stylish.

Returning to the gallop of some of the earlier tracks “Weakness” takes various influences, including “Wrath” era Lamb Of God and infuses them to make create the bands own blend of Metal. The false ending and powerful sentiment of lyrics like “Death is taking away my evil seed” makes this mid album moment more of a tune. Adding in a dark whisper that gives a haunting quality “Confident To Defy” steps up the tempo and whip the four horses pulling their cart to within an inch of their lives. Managing somehow to keep things in a steady groove despite the relentless pursuit of adrenaline fueled riffage means they land up creating a sound that Devildriver seem to be looking for and make it seem effortless. Closing on an instrumental note with “Cruciato Mentis” gives both guitarists the chance to shine with numerous progressions and riffs that vocals simply wouldn’t fit around. A couple of face melting solo and some lead licks piled on top of each other like stacked pancakes is all good fun [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Thresholds
  2. Shelter
  3. Sadistic Art
  4. Path Of Desperation
  5. Enlightenment (Acoustic Intermezzo)
  6. My Reign, My Wrath
  7. Weakness
  8. Confident To Defy
  9. Cruciato Mentis (Instrumental)

“Thresholds” by The Curse Of Millhaven is out now via Dust & Bones

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