The New Jersey hardcore group are calling out all kinds of shit in a new album that burns with fury, released on Pyrrhic Victory Recordings.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that everything is about pop punk at the moment- it seems anything with a guitar is able to take on that label even if the ratio of pop to punk is not exactly in the latter’s favour. If you are looking for something a bit harder, something that harks back to days when punk was hard, heavy, loud and political, then you should get on with the new album by Scary Hours.
New Jersey has an impressive punk pedigree and is known for its music scene having given us bands such as The Bouncing Souls, Lifetime and The Dillinger Escape Plan amongst many others. Coming out of that musical history is Scary Hours– fronted by vocalist Ryan Struck and with a clear penchant for tackling both the injustices and existential turmoil that is modern life. And their new album- ‘Symptoms of Modern Hegemony’– is true to form in its uncompromising observations on many of the ills of our current culture and political backdrop.
The sound of this new offering from the band- a follow up to 2020s ‘Margins‘- is rooted in heavy hardcore punk with metallic tinges of thrash and beatdown; it’s like Minor Threat meets NOFX, but with a double bass pedal and screaming. The lyrics are squarely taking on the current political turmoil, uncertainty and the just downright enraging aspects of social and cultural disintegration. Tracks such as ‘Suffer Peacefully’ and ‘Blinded by Mundanity‘ address worker’s oppression, systemic exploitation and demonisation of activism. ‘Sackler Street‘ takes a look at the opioid crisis and FDA complicity. ‘Behind‘ is a more introspective look at the spiritual dread that make you believe your best years are behind you.
There’s a lot of influences in the music that run from skatepunk bands like Propagandhi and NOFX, to hardcore legends Minor Threat and speed metal like Slayer and Pantera. In terms of lyrical content, anyone who was keen on the political observations of Dead Kennedys and Fugazi will feel right at home here.
Depressingly, a lot of the topics tackled in these 12 tracks signal that society is still experiencing many of the same issues that have been holding us back for decades and been dissected by various corners of punk. But there is still a sense of modern urgency to Struck’s vocal delivery and the power and speed of the accompanying guitars and drums that make this album more than just a homage to earlier punk traditions.
Recorded over the last year at singer Ryan Struck’s home studio, the overall vibe of the album is of rage-fuelled solidarity with those exploited by the many systems that govern our lives- the criminal justice system, capitalism, the government. But with a mantra of “we scream louder when we scream together”, this is ultimately an empowering listen.
Follow Scary Hours on their socials
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I’m Molly Tie- I am the UK Editor for Punktuation and a general punk enthusiast! I play drums (badly), write a lot about punk (not as badly) and I’m particularly interested in issues relating to women in the music scene.