New York's Brutal Truth have been one of the forefathers of extreme metal since their debut album, the wonderfully titled and groundbreaking `Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses' back in 1992. The problem for the band is that they have yet to better that seminal and very influential release and this; their latest album is no exception. Although this current opus could very well be their best long player since their debut, indeed time will tell. All subsequent albums have been very mixed affairs, always reliable for a selection of barbaric yet memorable grind assaults but just as evident have been too many filler tracks and unstructured noise just for the sake of brutality. This, along with the fact that after 1994's Need to Control the band underwent a transformation into a pure grindcore outfit thus eschewing all remnants of their industrial/deathgrind past which was so devastatingly evident on their debut and still traceable on their follow up.
The band unexpectedly split in 1998, thus Evolution through Revolution (2009) can be considered a comeback album of sorts. There are 20 tracks in total, about half of which are well crafted, memorable and worthy of repeated plays, which is a significant higher proportion than previous releases since their debut. Unfortunately however, there are too many tracks which showcase grindcore that is carried to a ridiculous extreme, albeit in a very competent manner as all the members can certainly play their instruments with great ability. At times this extremity is taken to excessive abandon which just highlights the rudimentary nature of some of the music. And although I'm sure this is exactly the bands intention, noise for the sake of noise is just that, and gives the impression that the band are not in control of their instruments. Conversely though, on quality tracks such as the title track, Powder Burn and Global Good Guy it is a very rewarding challenge to pick out the intricate nuances from the ever prevailing din and hysteria. Songs such as the almost groove laden Lifer and Daydreamer really come to life after repeated listens primarily due to the sludgy bass pounding of grind god Dan Lilker. The lyrics are mostly left leaning and at times politically infused which shows a welcome intelligence to the song writing and while certainly not groundbreaking, it does highlight the fact that the bands punk/hardcore ethics are in the right place.
Most disappointing however are Kevin Sharps vocals. The schizoid vocal gymnastics of their debut are long gone and replaced by fairly standard grindcore rasping which while commendable, is far from unique. This versatile vocalist is capable of so much more but as stated, this approach is in keeping with their preferred move away from the industrial death metal mayhem of their first two albums to the straight grindcore of subsequent releases. Overall, this is a solid return to form for Brutal Truth. While we will never get another `Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses' this latest effort is most definitely stronger than their over hyped and unintended swansong Sounds of the Animal Kingdom (1997) so in that sense there is progression. While they may be inadvertently stuck in their own version of a grind heaven, few bands in metal history have pushed the genre to extremes as ferociously and intensely as Brutal Truth so that in itself makes them a very unique band.