"Sour Times"

(Season of Mist)

01. Sour Times
02. Hibernation
03. Condemned (1990 demo)
04. Sour Times (radio edit)

RATING: 8.5/10

File under "what the fuck?" and show respect to one of the most truly original bands to ever rise from the murk of the metal underground. CONFESSOR's lone EP and full-length album perplexed everyone in 1990 with their anachronistic doom, ludicrous prog tendencies (rivaled then only by WATCHTOWER), and baffling high-register grievous scream vocals. Even for a scene awakening to new levels of radical strangeness in metal, this shit was a hard sell, and the band never got anywhere outside of a rabid cult following. Now back together after the tragic passing of founding guitarist Ivan Colon, the band is preparing to release a full-length, and has unleashed this limited teaser EP to get their name back out.

"Sour Times" finds CONFESSOR tipping the scales a bit in favor of the doom, at the expense of their more out-there progressive side. Vocalist Scott Jeffreys sings in a much more palatable lower register, which may cost the band a little of their uniqueness, but is a lot easier to listen to in large doses! And the rhythms are still angular and weird, just a little less show-offy than before, and more in service of the song.

"Sour Times", the song, is a mournful epic, dripping with pathos and sporting a haunting chorus that'll stick in your head for weeks. The opening of "Hibernation" reveals the band's large debt to classic '80s TROUBLE and before lurching into an arrhythmic main riff that, while more immediate and less convoluted than their past material, is just as compelling, if not more so. This streamlining of their sound will have a few purists crying into the sleeves of their frilly shirts, but for the rest of us, this stuff is still plenty odd and progressive. And there's even a demo of "Condemned" from 1990 to show you just how whacked these guys were back in the day!

The CD also contains video footage of Colon's last show with CONFESSOR, as well as photos and screensavers. As far as I know, it's limited to 1,000 copies, and most of those were sent to hacks like me, so I'd recommend grabbing this if you happen to see it around. Those of you who bitch that the modern metal scene has become too homogenized and safe (and you're pretty much right) will take to this band like a duck to water — defiantly strange, loyal to their twisted muse, and commercially suicidal even in their more focused current sound, CONFESSOR is an original. Bring on the new album — and how about a reissue of the old stuff while you're at it, fellas?


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