Review Summary: A misanthropic deathgrind assault on the ears that makes for a grindcore classic.
A low tuned guitar is playing a mid-tempo riff, similar to something you would imagine Carcass
would play. The production is bass-heavy, yet the riff is somewhat melodic and catchy, despite the death metal sound. It repeats a couple of times before a low "ARRGHHH." What the hell was that? Well, it's gone now and the riff is still playing. Suddenly, everything stops and it changes to a faster thrashy riff as the drums pound hard. One beat, then three, fast. Something is coming.. The whole band lets loose in an assault of blast beats and extremely fast riffing as the low growling now fiercely attacks your eardrums.
Ignorance and prejudice, raping people's minds, molded by environment, hatred of all kinds, the ignorant domain, never knowing freedom, wear it like a chain.
The song is "Birth of Ignorance," the band is Brutal Truth
, the genre is deathgrind, and the album is Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses
. When the album was released in 1992 it had only been five years since the release of Napalm Death
, best known for bringing grindcore's extreme "noise" upon the world. Napalm Death had already taken elements of the most dissonant and chaotic forms of hardcore punk to the limit, creating a sound loved to be hated by outsiders. At the same time, death metal was developing parallel to grindcore as both genres grew with more practitioners determined to further expand the sounds. Brutal Truth was not only one of the first American grindcore bands, but it was also one of the first, if not the very first, to mix both genres almost equally, thus creating what is known as deathgrind.
Deathgrind is indeed the best way to describe the sound. The grindcore assaults occur frequently, but usually between slower passages akin to death metal. This strategy works as it makes the album more varied in sound and a bit more accessible as a result. The instruments continuously move back and forward between the groovy death metal riffage and heart attack worthy grindcore, in which the guitar and bass both refuse to stay on a single chord for more than a second. The bassist, Dan Lilker, is especially talented and already a music veteran. He previously played for Anthrax
(kicked out after the first album), Nuclear Assault
, and Stormtroopers of Death
Vocals are provided by Kevin Sharp (back up from Lilker), who can now often be seen on stage in a cowboy hat and barefoot. He mainly produces a guttural growl much like in death metal, but also unleashes a high pitched scream that I personally believe improve his vocal performance, as the low growls sometimes become monotonous. If the growl is Satan himself, then the screams are the very souls that he tortures. The lyrics are completely grindcore. The words that Sharp spits out critique society, particularly the conservative and right-wing sector. The lyrics are very bleak, anti-ignorance, anti-bigotry, and ultimately misanthropic. The band attacks religion, capitalism, conformity, homophobia, and corruption among other subjects. Anyone who thinks that all liberals (assuming that they are by the lyrics) are just pussies really needs to listen to this album. The band holds nothing back as it tells its "brutal truth" to the world.
Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses
is a classic in the grindcore genre. The new deathgrind sound would go on to influence countless bands in the future, paving the way for bands like Pig Destroyer
and even Converge
. It is necessary for anyone getting into grindcore to listen to this album and death metal fans that still hate anything -core need to listen to this album. It is essential for all the musical masochists who want more brutality to pleasure their ears. Hell, even the Guinness World Records recognized Brutal Truth when they awarded the band the record of "Shortest Music Video" for the two second "Collateral Damage." My point is, listen to the damn album.