When Will Moss relocated from Memphis to Asheville in 2006, the first show he attended was Sanctity and By Morning at Stella Blue (now Asheville Music Hall). Four years later, he was playing that same stage with local metal band Lifecurse for that outfit’s debut performance. Still together after nine years, Lifecurse releases its third album, The Wolf You Feed — Part I: Ulsiga at The Orange Peel on Friday, Aug. 30.
As the album’s name suggests, it’s a two-part collection. Based on a Cherokee legend about the struggle between good and evil, the Aug. 30 release is “the bad wolf,” says Moss, vocalist for Lifecurse. “So these songs are little more edgy than some of our stuff.” He describes the second part — the good wolf — as a balance between aggressive, screaming vocals and sung vocals.
The band, which includes Roddy Wilder on bass and vocals, Mark Alexander and Matt Anderson on guitars and Jared Morrow on drums, describes its objective as shedding “light on the darker parts of life and to provide a darker perspective on the lighter side of life,” according to its Facebook bio.
“Everybody talks about the struggle between right and wrong, dark and light,” says Moss. “There are so many allegories and symbols, from the Bible to the Quran . … It’s been talked about and rehashed and retold all throughout time.”
Lifecurse’s approach to the subject matter is a bit different, he suggests, “because ours focuses on the need for the other and how they keep each other in check.” A dedicated practitioner of jiujitsu, Moss notes the benefit of “knowing yourself and how to control your emotions in intense situations.”
He adds, “The jiujitsu community is extremely welcoming. There are a lot of people [who] if they had that in their lives, they’d probably be a bit more chilled out.” Current sociopolitical divisions and volatility, inflamed by various forms of media, lead to unchecked anger, he explains. “Realize you’re not going to win every battle. You’re going to lose a lot. But you’re going to learn more by losing than you do winning. … It’s really just about the experience and enjoying it for what it is.”
That’s a lesson Moss has applied to his tenure in Lifecurse, from a traffic accident on the way to the band’s first album release show (which left him and another musician badly injured; they played anyway — so metal) to challenges that arose while working on The Wolf You Feed. Over the past six years, a number of people close to the band passed away. “We’ve had a lot of loss, a lot of pain and a lot of sadness going into this record,” Moss notes. “Music is always a good outlet to get that out.”
But there have been numerous successes, too: The Wolf You Feed was recorded by Winston-Salem-based producer Jamie King, who recently took home a Grammy for his work with fellow North Carolinians Between the Buried and Me. “That’s huge for us,” Moss says.
Plus, “We played the Rainbow [Bar & Grill, in Los Angeles], where Guns N Roses shot the ‘November Rain’ video. … This band has taken us all over.” The musicians have seen 33 states together, though, Moss says, Asheville still feels like home.
“We’ve played with a lot of really good bands, but the bands in North Carolina have extra depth,” he says. The local metal scene is no exception. Small when Lifecurse started, the scene has since increased tenfold, according to Moss: “We’ve seen so many bands come and go.”
Early on, Lifecurse’s musicians played every local show they could and oversaturated the market. But once they started booking more out-of-town gigs, Asheville-area fans realized they needed to catch the band while they could. Nearly a decade in, “It’s awesome being a rock, like, ‘We’re going to do this. We’re going to stick to our guns and keep this together and make it work,’” says Moss. “If you love making music … it’s a no-brainer. This is a very fun job.”
The Aug. 30 show is more than just a release party, he says. “It’s a fresh start.” Big opportunities have presented themselves with each new album, and Moss believes The Wolf You Feed will open the next chapter for Lifecurse. Already, the group is at work on a follow-up record and has put out four videos to accompany the new record — “We’re looking for big things to happen in the next couple of years.”
But, Moss continues, “We’ve defied pretty much all the odds. Everything that said we should give up. We’re still here, and it’s album three — the one [where] you find out if you make it or break it.” He pauses. “Hopefully it’s the former, not the latter.”
WHAT: Lifecurse album release show with Chaos Among Cattle, A Light Divided and As Sick As Us
WHERE: The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave., theorangepeel.net
WHEN: Friday, Aug. 30, 8 p.m., $5 advance/$7 day of show