steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Sorely Trying Days

"Survival Mode" CD

Useless World Records

Genre: hardcore, melodic hardcore

Kokoma, Indiana

January 2010

If bands were judged by the acronyms their names spelled out, the Sorely Trying Days would be up there with the best of 'em. As it is, this melodic, almost poppy hardcore band sits somewhere in the middle of the pack. These folks have all the component parts down -- the youthful, scraggy vocals, the turbulent percussion, the raucous guitar histrionics. It's an admirable blast, really. But where memorable anthems like "Everybody's Bitch" and "Survival mode" succeed in invigorating the listener, they also seldom transcend the genre's rules of conduct. And beyond that, these ten songs are designed for migraines -- they never let up on the gas, sticking to a similar formula throughout the procession. One redeeming facet is the presence of a several energizing instrumental stretches (most of "In Control," "Destroyed in Seconds," "Red Turned Green"), which offer a nice reprieve from all the yelling, instead serving as solid rock blasts in their own right. They also help illuminate the band's considerable technical skill. I also dig the nods to early 90s indie rock ("Failing Engines"), a sound that's severely underplayed these days. An just above average blast of melodic hardcore chaos, Survival Mode sports some neat moments but is ultimately unable to transcend its genre's niche.

the STDs' myspace

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2009]