Through a series of small releases and metamorphic live shows, The Altered Hours have worked hard to develop their reputation. This is a band to be experienced, one to be let in and allowed to rummage around inside you. On ‘In Heat Not Sorry’ The Altered Hours have decided what they are going to do once they’re in there.
At times the pace is furious, like on Way of Sorrow, powering you along to your destination. Sometimes, as on Birds, it is dark and brooding, like a shadowy figure calmly chasing you down in a dream. In all cases the vocals worm their way into your thoughts. I never really felt like the band was singing to me on this album, rather they were trying to mesmerise me through my earphones.
The sheer potency of the bands presentation is brought into psychedelic focus on Saviours. The song moves from crawling on your skin to screaming into your ear. It is a prime example of the marriage this band holds between raw discordant rage and haunting melodic guitar lines, themes you normally only get to visit on alternating weekends.
The bands effortless variations on their central idea means that the change from the bi-polar showmanship of Saviours to the phantasmal seduction of Virgins Sleeve isn’t simply surprising it’s downright harrowing. At one point on Virgins Sleeve there is a build that genuinely made me tense, before it sublimated back into the ether. The unpredictability of In Heat Not Sorry is one of its primary and primal strengths.
Grey on Blue encapsulates the over-riding effect of this album with the line, “in my room I can’t decide if I have been hypnotised.” With its clockwork drums and smooth baseline steadying the song, the guitars are free to wander distortedly between melodies.
The Altered Hours know what they are, and over the course of this album it becomes apparent they know what they are doing too. Every syllable that smokes out from their mouths seems essential, every mood swing important to the overall cause. Their guitars are engaged in a wild romance, at times playing with each other, at times going to war. All of which is born upon the back of their rhythm section. It is the bass and drums doing the heavy drilling that clear the bands path to your heart. For me the track that exemplifies these traits the best is Citadel, a moody evocative piece that feels like the soundtrack to Thomas the Tank Engines acid trip.
Simply put, if you have an inclination towards schizophrenic psychedelica, or you just enjoy evocative live music, go see The Altered Hours on their current tour; you owe it to your soul.