Simply the best Brutal Truth record, hands down. While "Extreme Conditions..." was quite the eye opener with its sheer speed and precision, the band came into their own with this longplayer.
Earache at this point had an amazing stable built, along with the money to produce sounds that were unlike any other labels' endeavors. The days of "From Enslavement to Obliteration" by Napalm Death and "Reek of Putrefaction" by Carcass were long gone, and fans of the label could actually hear the blurred riffing, guttural evocations and blast beats of the "extreme" muscians they were putting out with an increasing degree of clarity. In fact, I would have to say one would be hard-pressed to find a better sounding mid-period grindcore record anywhere, and it even rivalled the nearly incomparable "Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious" by Carcass, which I consider the crown jewel of the Earache canon.
What sets this one apart is the inclusion of experimentalism by the band, with some songs being lightning fast from start to finish, some being slow grinders with fast parts or endings, some total dirges that never sped up, and some industrial and hardcore punk tinges peppered throughout. The guest spot by Mike Williams from Eyehategod on the nice Germs' cover also didn't hurt.
No longer completely under the shadow of Napalm's legacy, Brutal Truth took intensity to the next level while playing at any speed. The vocals were out there, as one might expect, but I must cite the drumming of Rich Hoak as the prime motivating factor here. Maybe microphones were shocked and confused with the advent of the blast, but I suppose one was found for this particular recording session that didn't waver a bit. Hoak's snare strokes are masterful and clearly represented here, propelling the already potent blend of string-fury and screaming-belching into a hyper-speed thrash festival, with pummeling counterpoints replete with deadly double bass and palm muting. They also threw in a couple of straight-up noise collages, which while being entirely overlong, were interesting in content and atmosphere. This is actually the only problem I have with the record, and that's rather minor, in my opinion.
It is rather unfortunate that they would not work with Earache any longer, as the next few recordings would be put out on a fledgling Relapse. Relapse was still somewhat in their infancy with the signing or Brutal Truth, and the production on the follow-up to this one, "Kill Trend Suicide," is positively laughable.
Buy this first, then "Extreme Conditions..." which is also phenomenal, then "Sounds of the Animal Kingdom" on Relapse, which is something of a return to form. They would never top this outing, though. Oh, check out the band Venomous Concept, which features the vocalist Kevin Sharp and some other metal luminaries if you are so inclined after hearing this monstrous album.