Sour Times – The 11th Hour
Release Date: 14/05/2021
Running Time: 27:33
Review by Beth Jones
Certain times call for certain music, don’t you find? Depending on what’s going on in your immediate world, or the world at large, music can help to appease your emotions by connecting a feeling to a sound. The last couple of weeks anger, confusion, and frustration have been fairly forefront for me, so hearing the angry sounds of Old-School New York Hardcore, with a current twist, was definitely needed. Supplying the rage for me are Sour Times, an American duo who grab New York Hardcore by the nuts, and insert smatterings of Modern Metal, and Modern Prog, into it. It’s been tough to find much information about them online, as their band name is also the name of a song by Portishead and Google seems intent on defaulting any combination to that song. Well, one thing’s certain – this is definitely not Portishead!
From the information on the press release, this new release, “The 11th Hour”, is aptly named. The 11th hour is the last moment you have, to change things, before everything goes to shit. We all know that feeling, right? We’ve all been there. Some of you, dear readers, may be their right now. All I can say to that is, have courage in your convictions, and don’t ignore that feeling in your gut, because it’s usually right. It’s fair to say that, since their inception in 2018, Sour Times have had some troubling points, and have been forced into change, with music man Ben Reigle suffering a series of near-fatal strokes in 2019, then having to relearn everything, including how to play his instruments. I’m guessing he now seriously embraces how precious and finite time actually is, and the need for change before it’s too late. Near death experiences tend to do that to you.
I absolutely take my hat off to him for the strength and determination it will have taken, not only to relearn skills, but also to learn them to the level displayed here, and to have the courage to channel the tortures and heartache into what is a really superb album. It’s raw and roaring from start to finish, with the epic screams and growls of Joseph Izayea placing fury at the heart of the sound. But it’s also led by strong melodies, riffing that draws from classic thrash, and thumping rhythms that place it firmly in the more modern.
There are some moments of relative calm dotted throughout, though. Some in the midst of thumping tracks, others that lead in or lead out of tracks, to set or resolve a mood. Track 5, ‘Interlude’, is exactly this – 52 seconds of calm amongst the fury. For me, all of these calm moments illustrate realization, and on a physical level, really display the musical skill and understanding within the instrumentation.
This really is a very well created album, not just for the backstory, but for the solid direction in which the backstory has led the sound. Production wise, I have no qualms. It’s all placed well, clear, and polished, but it doesn’t lose any of the rawness that is so symbolic of this sound. Its edgy, fierce, and powerful. If you like New York Hardcore, or more modern bands like Gojira or Whitechapel, you will like this album a lot.
‘Duality’ (Lyric Video)
01. Rage Motivator
06. Lily White
07. The 11th Hour
08. Death & Taxes
Ben Reigle – Instrumentals
Joseph Izayea – Vocals
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