Brutal Truth – End Time

As one expects with any release from New Yorkers Brutal Truth, sixth album End Time is a colossal chunk of unbridled brutality and vitriolic aggression. Consisting of 23 devastating and crushing onslaughts of grindcore noise, the release shows that the band has lost none of its venom and anger over the years and is still the bench mark for others intent on laying waste with powerful sonic intrusions.

Since its beginnings in 1990 Brutal Truth has been at the forefront of grindcore and hardcore music, leading the way with the likes of Napalm Death. Harsh and uncomfortable their music has always challenged the ear and thoughts with attitude and their skilful merciless aural assaults. End Time carries on their trademark sound and as ever the album is a test of stamina and the senses but ultimately once again a worthwhile and pleasing experience.

Again like previous albums for many End Time will at first appear just sheer noise and aggression, but go deeper beyond the assault and the band’s creativity and impressive ideas emerge as distinctly as their consuming attitude. It is not always easy to get past the shotgun intensity of each track as they blow apart the senses but the extra attention is as always pleasingly rewarding. Lyrically the band are as bitter and harsh as ever and in many ways have raised that aspect with more anger in the words of political and social commentary, accusations, and outright disgust at mankind’s imminent ‘collapse’. End Time takes things further and up a degree from their previous 2009 album Evolution Through Revolution and though maybe it does not bring many surprises there are no disappointments either, just one mass of aggressive intensity.  

The album strikes hard from the off with a nonstop blitz on the ear, the first five songs alone ripping flesh and probing deeply. Opener ‘Malice’, the frantic impressive shredding of ‘Simple Math’ and the swift and lethal ‘Fuck Cancer’ alone make investigation into the release a must. Add the likes of the best track on show ‘Celebratory Gunfire’ with its inspired guitar contortions and the groove lined ‘Lottery’ and evidence that Brutal Truth are still leaders of the game are cemented.

As with earlier albums the explosive intensity and abundance of tracks makes End Time an album that as a complete experience is testing and shorter excursions a more valid approach for many but that is the only negative that can really be levelled at the release. The quartet of vocalist Kevin Sharp, guitarist Erik Burke, bassist Dan Lilker, and drummer Richard Hoak create extremes that manipulate, challenge, and shatter the senses into a thousand pieces and songs like ‘All Work And No Play’ and ‘Butcher’ further proof of the wealth of quality the band possess and deliver.

End Time is impressive and ahead of most similar veined releases, though to be honest against Hoak’s own project Total Fucking Destruction and its recent album it labours a little. Overall though it is a great album and even though across 23 songs it blurs into a similarity nearing the end, taken as smaller bites it plays impressively and very agreeably, if at times painfully.

RingMaster 21/11/2011

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Black Tusk – Set The Dial

New album Set The Dial sees Savannah’s Black Tusk follow up their acclaimed 2010 release Taste The Sin with more glorious slabs of their treacle thick and senses probing primal mix of metal, sludge, hardcore and punk rock. The Georgian trio with this their fourth album have continued the ferocious and direct sounds that have made them stand out distinctly but this time around have given the release a touch that comes with a more defined precision and clarity. The thumping direct riffs and rhythms still ripple with attitude and aggressive energy but there is a more focused shape to the tracks.

To be honest the album does not venture far from the sounds of their previous mighty release but the more concerted approach and an even harsher punk tone and attitude to Set The Dial ensures it does more than simply replicate the successes of Taste The Sin. The threesome of Andrew Fidler, Jonathan Athon, and James May produce sounds single minded in their intent to rampage and explode over the senses, their formidable metal, sludge and thrash punk flavoured aggression sounding like it has been filtered through the dirty veins of southern rock. High energy and hard hitting Set The Dial leaves the ear and listener worn out and breathless and ultimately very satisfied.  

The album starts with the instrumental ‘Brewing The Storm’, the track setting the tone with its deep dirty bass and southern twanged groove. The lure and capture is immediate and gets the juices flowing for what is to follow. ‘Bring me Darkness’ bursts in next, it’s rumbling bass riffs and drums contagious and the striking guitars razor sharp and intrusive. With its strong and eager urgency the track sets the highest level for the rest of the songs to match and though they fall slightly short it is down to its quality and not their weakness.

The album is tight and uncluttered; the elements that each member distinctly brings open and clear due to the great production of Jack Endino (Soundgarden, High On Fire, Skeletonwitch, The Accüsed, Nirvana). Tracks like ‘Ender Of All’ with its instantaneous addictive drum beats and straight forward riffs and ‘Carved In Stone’ with its hypnotic grinds and attitude soaked energy prime and impressive examples. The direct and relatively simple sound makes the album overall a mountain of a release, its energy relentless and unbroken by over thought intricacies and diversions. The music is honest and proud without any sense of pretence or delusions to what it is, real dirty proper rock ‘n’ roll.

Every track is strong, varied and food for the metal heart, songs like the stoner grooved ‘Set The Dial To Your Doom’ and the slower sludge doom mentality of ‘Mass Devotion’ are diverse but all attack with distorted guitars, merciless riffs, and attitude soaked aggression. There is little time to grab a breath between each track’s assault with the whole album a mesmeric flow of irresistible primal rhythms and bestial riffs veined and thrust forth with addictive and intrusive sonic grooves.

Set The Dial is as mentioned not a big departure form the band’s previous album and there is a small part that makes one feel disappointed there was nothing surprising about the album but with a sound that is unapologetic in its unrelenting intrusive of what the band does best and the deep unbridled pleasure it brings there is nothing really to throw at the release as a flaw. It is simply great big meaty fun, music to grab and light up the senses.

RingMaster 21/11/2011

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