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Interview: War Curse

Our next spotlight for The Cincinnati Metal Scene Reunion Show on August 17th at the Columbia Community Center is War Curse. We sat down for a chat with their axe man and bringer of thrashy riffs, Justin Roth. Justin talked to us about why it’s important for the next generation to keep metal alive and what he loves most about Cincinnati.

CincyMusic:I did a little research and found out that the band's original name was, "Dawn Patrol." I take it some of you are big fans of Megadeth. Are they a strong influence for you?

Justin Roth: Dang, you really did your research! I like that. And most definitely. Before we ever came together to play music, we discussed influences and Megadeth was one of the common grounds that we all shared. I grew up on early Megadeth, so it’s been in my musical DNA since childhood. Albums like Rust In Peace and even Countdown To Extinction really define the sweet spot between pure thrash and heavy metal for me, and that’s what a lot of people think War Curse does well. And while we don’t sound anything like Megadeth, an educated ear might pick up on a bit of that influence for sure. 

CM: What are your thoughts on the recent trend of Thrash bands popping up across the scene?

JR: I think it’s great. In order for the genre to survive new bands have to emerge. The old guard isn’t getting any younger. Slayer is done after this year and I doubt many of the legacy bands have more than an album or two left in the tank at this point. As much as we all love to see our favorite bands perform it’s just not reasonable to expect a bunch of 50 and 60-year-old men to be able to keep the frantic pace required to play this kind of music. It’s hard enough work in your 30’s. The real challenge that the industry is facing, largely due to their own short-sightedness, is that they haven’t focused on creating a new generation of true headliners. When the Metallica’s and Iron Maiden’s of the world hang it up, who is going to fill the big rooms? As someone who enjoys a show with some actual production value, it’s scary to think that I might never see another metal show at US Bank Arena or Riverbend. So yeah, I’m stoked that young people are picking up instruments and starting bands again. I wish them all the very best of luck.

CM: Early in the summer you wrapped up a US Tour that wrapped up here in Cincinnati for an album release party. How was the tour and what was it like wrapping it up in your hometown?

JR: The tour was a success. Every time we go out the crowds get a little bit bigger. This tour in particular fell on the tail end of the media push for the new album (Eradication) and it was obvious that people have started paying attention. We had people travel hundreds of miles to see us in some cities, one guy even crossing the border from Chihuahua, Mexico to catch us in El Paso. Stuff like that is wild and extremely humbling. And of course ending it in Cincinnati made for the perfect end to an already fun tour. 

CM:What are some of the things you miss about Cincinnati when you are on the road?

JR: I always miss Currito. I’m sure the other guys miss their girlfriends and comfy beds but I’m a nomad. Between touring in War Curse and working as a Tour Manager / Tech for bands like Exhorder and Morbid Angel I’m on the road a lot. When I have downtime, I enjoy being able to fall off the radar and play disc golf with my brother. Cincinnati has a plethora of amazing courses and beautiful parks. It’s my way of offsetting the months spent in close quarters with a bunch of people. 

CM: What are your thoughts on the current Cincinnati Metal Scene?

JR: Like everything else it tends to come and go in waves. I’ve seen the scene in Cincinnati boom and die at least five times in my lifetime. There was the Chastain / CJSS era, the Liquid Nation era, the first metalcore boom, the weird nu-metal years, and now we’re in this unique period where there’s a lot of diversity in the type of bands in the scene, and fans are really being treated to a lot of good shows as a result. War Curse has made an effort to bring some of the casual fans from previous generations back to the party, and we’ve been able to use our crossover appeal to open doors to venues that weren’t initially keen on hosting heavy music. Partnered with all of the hardwork that Will Feiner puts in with Transplant Productions, and Rob Thomas puts in with Live Loud Concerts, Cincinnati has a pretty bangin’ scene compared to most.

CM: Who are you looking forward to seeing play at the Cincinnati Metal Reunion?

JR: Lucis Absentia is at the top of the list, but the beautiful thing about Cincinnati, and to kind of revisit the previous question, is that we have so many killer bands. I travel the world doing this and see the best local bands everywhere. I’ll put our bands right up there with any of the awesome bands I come across. Verment might be the best undiscovered death metal band in the world in my opinion. But really I’m looking forward to seeing friends, hanging out, and reliving some of the fun we had in the early days playing with all of these bands all the time.

CM: What is next for War Curse?

JR: We just signed a new management deal with Aim High Mgmt, and we’re looking into tours for the fall and winter, both here and abroad. Aside from that, we’re already working on new songs for the next album and hope to have something ready to release by spring 2020. 

CM: Where can fans find you online?

JR: warcurse.com is always an easy way to find us. Otherwise we’re on every social media platform, streaming service, and our album is available in both physical and digital formats through Amazon, Target, and just about anyplace else that sells music. 

CM: Anything else that you would like to add?

JR: We’d like to thank you for the interview and thank all of the great people in the Cincinnati music community for their hard work, support, and participation. If you haven’t already, check out our latest album Eradication, out now on Svart Records.