For a while, it seemed hardcore heavies TERROR couldn't keep a unit intact. The band's lineup changed nearly every year between 2004 and 2009. The past seven years have presented a stable lineup: vocalist Scott Vogel, guitarists Martin Stewart and Jordan Posner, bassist David Wood and longtime drummer, Nick Jett. Of course, their blistering music has remained as demanding as the 'core principles TERROR endorses.
It's not so much TERROR's music, as the integrities behind it, that aren't for wimps. That's not a cut; it's a challenge. The band follows up their scene-summarizing, 2013's "Live by the Code" with their sixth full-length album, "The 25th Hour", and, like the latest SICK OF IT ALL and AGNOSTIC FRONT slabs, this is a brutally honest, fast-moving beast.
The mostly instrumental title track is about as slow as this album gets. That only lasts a minute before TERROR slams down the pedals and rips through fourteen tracks, most of them delectably hitting only a minute-plus. Scott Vogel blares tirades against posers and scenesters on "No Time for Fools", as well as later on "Snap", "Sick and Tired", and "Why? ", the latter containing the flagrant dismissal: "We don't want you here"! He dishes his "reality check" amidst the stop-go mania of "Feed the Rats", and if you live this scene, you know what Vogel's indictment entails.
Only a handful of songs get to the two-minute mark, such as the 1:52 "The Solution", the 2:22 "Both of You" and the 2:28 "Blinded by the Lights". This is mainly due to a leadoff sound byte and Nick Jett's pasting intro in the case of "The Solution", while TERROR fuses longer, conventional punk grooves with writhing hardcore bellows on "Blinded by the Lights".
The fast-pounding "Mind at War" is one of the nastiest tracks on the album due to its dark lyrical musing and tradeoff tempos. At its fastest, "Mind at War" is fucking killer. At its slowest, nearly as dangerous as BLACK FLAG's glory days. "Trust No Face" flings itself all to pieces, slowing down to showcase a brief cameo by NO WARNING singer Ben Cook.
"The 25th Hour" is a hell of a hardcore album for a genre that's been in need of bullshit-stripped, ethics-strapped bedlam to keep it honest. The past couple of years have produced some of the best hardcore albums the genre's seen in ages. They've largely been from veterans making a stand to reclaim what has long been lost. Hardcore is strictly for insiders (if the message on "Deep Rooted" isn't clear enough), and not just because one might come in knowing what "straight edge" means. "The 25th Hour" makes no bones by venomously turning away outsiders, but it rewards hardcore's true with a half hour of pit-pumping empowerment.