The Sorely Trying Days – Survival Mode

The Sorely Trying Days – Survival Mode

The Sorely Trying Days – Survival Mode

Survival Mode, the new album from Indiana 3 piece The Sorely Trying Days, shows two conflicting personalities. Much of the album, a crude exercise in old school hardcore, is party music. But many of the songs veer into long, instrumental stretches that border on prog. This disjunction leaves the album ill-equipped to serve as fun background music or thoughtful listening.  The instrumental parts break up the fun and the fun breaks up the instrumental parts so that, in the end, neither half is good enough.

The crude sound of The Sorely Trying Days fits squarely in the 80’s hardcore camp. That loud and stripped down sound doesn’t exactly fit long, vocal-less riffing sequences because the depth, texture, development, and mood just aren’t there.

Survival Mode kicks off with “Everybody’s Bitch”, a firm introduction to the band’s amateurish but motivated freshman sound. This is a standard pop punk chord progression that everyone will recognize. The shouted vocals and course musicianship boast a youthful DIY ethic. Much like the other party songs on this album, “Everybody’s Bitch” has a real song-along quality. It’s good for what it is. An even better example is “About the Good Times”. Here, the band rocks with a carefree energy that turns defeat into celebration.

But the vigor and attitude of the band’s party music fades quickly during the instrumental parts. Despite the modicum amount of originality found in the somewhat unorthodox mixes of song parts and chord progressions, the linear and utterly simple hardcore musical form won’t hold the ear. Punk works when it maintains a certain character, spirit, and ethos. When those things are lost, the wheels start to fall off. “Failing Engines”, “In Control”, and “Destroyed in Seconds” are all good examples.

Survival Mode can be fun, and making fun, aggressive music is what The Sorely Trying Days does best. But the raw simplicity of its 30 year old sound doesn’t hold up when the personality is shunned in favor of nondescript musical exploration. Listeners will likely want more of one, less of the other.

Useless World Records