Evolution Through Revolution
posted on 7/2009 By:
I've long held Brutal Truth as the second most important grindcore unit of all time, just a hair’s breadth behind the innovators, gods and masters in Napalm Death. After Napalm, Brutal Truth is the next band I point to when someone asks, "What is grindcore?" The parallels between the two bands are many: both began on Earache records; both released seminal masterstrokes of early grind in the late 1980s before branching into more experimental waters in the next decade; both feature creepy-looking bassists with huge hair, myriad side projects and impeccably gnarly tone; both absolutely kill, and even in their weakest moments, always have, and apparently always will…
Evolution Through Revolution is Brutal Truth’s first full-length release in over a decade, their first since Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom in 1997. (1999’s Goodbye Cruel World was a live record coupled with a bonus disc of previously released material. Post-reformation, BT slid a few teasers out on This Comp Kills Fascists, Vol. 1; re-recorded versions of those songs adorn the vinyl release of Evolution as bonus tracks.) What’s on hand for this Revolution is both expected and yet a bit advanced—more the former than the latter, as Evolution is a full-on classic Brutal Truth record, as brilliant as the others, and yet it’s also shinier, newer, crisper than earlier efforts. But fear not, fans of grinding mayhem: Brutal Truth still brings the top-notch grinding, the bent and twisted riffs, the carefully controlled chaos, the ear-wrenching dissonance and noisy freak-out guitar lines, the relentless drumming and the throat-ripping vocals of Kevin Sharpe. There’s a 7-second song ("Branded") that lasts for two beats beneath one whole word, and there’s the requisite noisy earfuck ("Semi-Automatic"). But yet updated for the 2000’s is a stronger production (certainly improved from that of Animal Kingdom), a crisper and clearer sonic quality that makes Evolution’s unyielding assault as pristinely pissed-off as it is patently pounding. The guitar sound here is perfect: beautifully abrasive, brilliantly accenting the riffage of newcomer Erik Burke (Kalibas, Nuclear Assault). The drums are impeccable, almost machinelike—Rich Hoak is still a monster behind the kit. And as previously alluded to, Lilker’s grinding bass tone is as gritty and vicious on Evolution as it is on every other one of his zillion recordings. (By way of example, I offer you the one-two closing punch of the midtempo "Grind Fidelity" prefaced with the destructive reworking of the Minutemen’s "Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs.")
Where Brutal Truth has always one-upped most of their peers is in their willingness to stick one foot outside grind’s admittedly stultifying parameters and incorporate more than just abrasive, ramped-up punk with metal tendencies, more than blastbeats and simplistic riffs and shrieked’n’shouted sociopolitical agendas. As on previous platters, when the Truth rages, they rage like virtually no other, but when they slow it down, as they do here on the churning "Detached" or the chugging intro to "Get A Therapist" or the best parts of "Afterlife," they achieve a taut heaviness that sheer speed and fury cannot contain. Couple that with some majorly wicked riffs, as in the following track "Global Good Guy" and its follower "Humpty Finance," and then balance all of that against some neck-breaking aggression ("Turmoil," "Fist In Mouth"), and you’ve got yourself one serious kick in the goddamn nuts.
2009 has been a stellar year for grindcore. New platters from the likes of Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Captain Cleanoff, Insect Warfare, Afgrund and Defeatist have garnered deservedly positive praise, on this site and elsewhere. (Full disclosure: three of those records garnered deservedly positive praise from this very reviewer.) All of those bands are relative upstarts compared to Brutal Truth, and if there’s one thing Evolution shows us, it’s that there’s still no substitute for decades of experience, kids. Alongside Napalm Death’s devastating Time Waits For No Slave, Evolution proves that the old guard of grindcore can still tear shit up better than anyone. Here’s yet another must-have release for fans of absolutely kick-ass extreme metal, but then again, it’s Brutal Truth, people… so you should’ve known that. You need this.
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