In 2009, Brutal Truth returned from a rather lengthy hiatus to release "Evolution Through Revolution," their first album of new material in twelve years. And now flash forward two years, and we have another new record from the New York-based death metal/grindcore primitives, this one dubbed "End Time." It is twenty-three new tracks of extreme music at its purest, as they are comprised of concussive drumming, raging, sick-on-the-mic vocals, crust-soaked riffage, and grumbling, dirty-sounding bass throbs.
As with pretty much any B.T. release, the musicianship is impressive all-around, but is most excellent in the drumming, as tight cymbal rides from skinsman Rich Hoak are not uncommon -- almost as common as his cracking, skull-splitting grindcore blasts. "End Time" begins with a bit of an anomaly track in the form of "Malice," which is a really ominous intro with a portentous guitar line, plodding tempo, crashing drum beat, and growly, burping vocals. And as if that weren't enough, the track also ends with the sound of some honest-to-goodness guitar feedback.
But all bets are off by the time the second track comes rolling around, as "Simple Math" is an insane, and completely chaotic and decapitating grindcore assault fueled by Hoak's pummeling, blasting trapkit, breakneck tempo'ing, and manic screams. And the record's titular third song offers mostly more of the same, with its careening guitar leads, shrieked/roared vocals, and noteworthy, underlying bass grumble. (This includes the use of a little, mid-song bass solo.) Next up, "F Cancer" is fifty-eight seconds of hyper-active picking and drumming, but closes with a brief-yet-creepy, spoken-word vocal line where frontman Kevin Sharp growls the tune's title phrase.
Then, following the whiplash-fast blasting and clattering cymbal rides of "Celebratory Gunfire" and the mind-boggling, rapid-fire devastation of "Small Talk" (which is complete with a cool bass outro), comes ".58 Caliber," a fifty-four second-long little interlude piece with sampled dialogue and vocals. But immediately following this, the listener is launched right back into the thick of things, as "Swift And Violent" is another careening, and this time forty-second long blast of brutal blast beats and grumbling bass.
Brutal Truth do toss in the occasional nod to their true, crust punk-oriented roots, as demonstrated by "Lottery," a bass-heavy cut that is complete with a little bass intro, and grumbling, dirty-sounding bass lines. "Warm Embrace Of Poverty" continues in this vein, as a heavy, central bass groove coursing throughout it. But said song is also a highlight for being an ominously brooding, sludgy, and mid-tempo piece. And the fact that it is three whole minutes and forty-some-seconds long doesn't hurt matters, either.
Other highlights include the ominous, underlying bass grumble, clattering, ringing cymbal crashes, smart, stop-start grindcore hyperblasts, and freaky, unnervingly high shrieks of "Butcher"; "Addicted," which is another truly devastating and mind-boggling display of frenetic playing; the distorted bass rumbles and "rat-tat-tat," Gatling gun hyperblasts of "Seet Dreams"; and "Trash," a six-second long microsong (or, more accurately, subliminal message) that recalls Napalm Death's earliest days.
And, of course, one must not forget to also mention the monstrous closer, "Control Room." This piece, which is nearly fifteen-whole-friggin' minutes long, and is based around whiney guitar-feedback, dexterously rolling drum fills, and indistinct backing chatter, is not only an obvious album standout, but a standout in Brutal Truth's whole discography! (It kind of sticks out like a green thumb, but in a good way, though. And it makes the listener wonder if B.T. could be on to something, here, and will continue down this more restrained and experimental path on future efforts.)
"End Time" combines the attitude of early grindcore with the visceral rage and impeccable musicianship of the genre's latter-days. And top it all off with a batch of lyrics that are concerned almost exclusively with American politics, and the end result is a crushingly brutal, eminently memorable, extremely satisfying, and all-around pretty darn excellent combination.