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Brutal Truth, seminal avatars of extreme music, one of the 'big four' of grindcore (along with Napalam Death, Terrorizer, and...the fourth one (debatably) being either Carcass or Old Lady Drivers. Bassist Danny Lilker is one of the members, alumni of equally seminal bands like Anthrax, S.O.D., and Nuclear Assault. This only serves to consolidate this bands credentials, history, and place in extreme music of any genre.
From the opening scream of 'Blind Leading the Blind' you know you are in for a hell of a thrill ride, and this band does not disappoint. Brutal Truth explore several styles of rock music while maintaining an essential thrashiness throughout. I'm not going to go into an extended rant about how 'Kill Trend Suicide' redefines extreme music, because it doesn't. What it does do is present you with certain elements that have been presented in grindcore before, albeit from an entirely different angle, as well as ideas that have never been presented on a grindcore album before. There are the to-be expected grindcore parts but there are also thrashy, Master-style arrangements, stoner-riffs, Noisecore sensibilities that are a percursor to bands like The Locust and Daughters, innovative drumming, and slower numbers like 'I Killed My Family', all delivered in a consistent and quality fashion.
Kevin Sharpes vocals are simply outstanding on this record. They are not Lee Dorian-style caveman growls nor are they the shouty d-beat abuse of Terrorizer's Oscar Garcia. More often than not the aforementioned Mr. Sharpe is in the higher vocal range, which make these songs even more unique and appealling. Some of Exit-13's influence has rubbed off on the songwriting here, particularly on the bass-heavy 'Hypocrite Invasion', yet another standout track. Musically and thematically, this record is not as harsh and bleak as 'Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses' -but it is more clever. It is extreme without being menacing, just a very fun record. As a 'grindcore' record, there is simply nothing comparable to it-not only does it assault your senses, it is also highly catchy and accomplishes something rare in this genre-it is entertaining as fuck.
Everything about this album rules. The songs, the concepts, the sound, the musicians, the lyrics, the awesome DYI cover, everything. The only reason I am giving it a 90 is because there are some fillers, or at least songs that do not rule as much as other songs. With BT there really is no point in talking about fillers, because there aren’t any, but some of these songs get pretty close. Maybe it is just because they are overshadowed by the awesomeness of all of the other songs on here, this is after all my favorite BT record. Yes, it is better than ‘Sounds….’
So what can someone say about Brutal Truth for those of you who do to know this band? who can you recommend it to? You either like this band or do not, some people are irritated by their sound and their weird way of playing, and some people love it. Dan Lilker is on here, playing his usual crazy yet solid, with more emphasis on the crazy. Sharp’s vocals are absolutely killer screams of total aggression. The drumming is blasting, and then jazzy, and then punky, and then just noise, and sometimes going even into hyper-blast. The guitars area total odd ball as well. So you have this chaos drumming, and then noise and effects up the as son the guitar, and then a solid yet crazy bass line with growls and grunts and screams. While on their first album they sound like a noise core version of Napalm Death, by this album they have developed their own style, slowed down a bit and added a fucking cartwheel load of crazy into their riffs. The first time I heard this album I did not know what to do with it. In fact, I still have trouble, its like you feel something that you do not know quiet what it is. It is a strong and persistent feeling, almost like euphoria, yet at the same time it is nervous and disturbed. Like a disturbed euphoria, or some shit, I dunno. End line is they make you emote in a very non-standard way.
So on to the music. This is noise core with a touch of technicality. It is as if Black Dice learned to play their instruments. Or if the DRI decided that it is time to take 75 hits of LSD and record an album. It is weird and out there for the most part, but there are some parts that are real precise and to the point, and most of all, this music is influenced by smoking weed. You can hear that on everything Lilker related, weed smoking, but here it runs amok. It is pretty sweet to have bands who are like this, I believe, because it is atmospheric in a non-gay or Viking way. It is atmospheric in the smoking a fucking joint on the street corner sort of way. The music is also like this, the riffs start and end exactly on time, but what happens in between is sort of ethereal, it is not as grounded as most metal albums, in fact, this can hardly be called a metal album precisely for this reason. It is so non-standard that it cannot even rightfully be called noise core, because there is so much musicianship and dedication to the instruments in this. So really, they are a truly stand alone band.
My favorites include the cover song, ‘I Killed My Family’, just because it is an absolute freak out, and the vocals are the saddest, most depressing thing imaginable on here. I also like ‘Hypocrite Invasion’ because it captures the essence of smoking weed. ‘Let’s Go To War’, ‘Everflow’ and ‘Pass Some Down’ are little bursts of noise that are well controlled, like I have mentioned. And ‘Kill Trend Suicide’ is good because it is raw, d-beat hard core shit, done crazier then anyone else can do.
Who do I recommend this record to? Pot heads first and foremost, and also everyone who is in need of something different, or is ready to hear something they have not heard before.