Brutal Truth: End Time

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Brutal Truth: End Time
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Brutal Truth: End Time
Death Metal, Grindcore
Relapse Records
September 27th, 2011
Release length: 56:03
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Brutal Truth has been around for quite some time at this point, and have achieved a good deal since they formed in 1990. The group has put out many various releases, a good number of full-lengths, a handful of tribute releases to bands like Eyehategod, and even entered the 2001 Guiness Book of Records for “Collateral Damage” being the Shortest Music Video ever, clock in at 2.18 seconds in length. For the band’s sixth full-length effort, they find themselves issuing End Times through them once more, a twenty-three track Death Metal and Grindcore effort that clocks in at just over fifty-six minutes. But, with how many fans and critics are up in arms about this new effort, one can only wonder if the album is really as bad as everyone is making it out to be.

When it comes to full-length efforts, Brutal Truth is usually right on top of things with solid material that fans of the style will enjoy. This time around, the release finds that still somewhat raw and muddy sound to the music with a decent amount of distortion all around. The guitars have a good heaviness to them, though not too deep overall, allowing the bass to come in and back them up, which it does well enough and at a volume that it does become a far more important instrument then to just add edge to the guitar riffs. The vocals are your typical shouting approach, but with a little more force behind them in a lower tone that simply sounds angry. There’s also the drums with a nice click to the bass kicks while the snares are a little thick, but kind of lost in the mix. The cymbals don’t show up too well either, but definitely louder overall. This leads to a strong enough sound to the release that, while feeling a little typical, it does make End Time sound a little stronger and aggressive than a cleaner quality could for this style of music.

But, one thing about the album that is for certain is that the more unique material of the band’s past is gone, making End Time actually come off more like a traditional mixture of Death Metal and Grindcore. One of the main things going for this release is the additional off-sounding guitar notes, or chords that find the strings pushed around on the neck to give them a slightly contorted sound. This is how the effort starts up. “Malice” is a slower, Death Metal track that gradually builds into bordering Grindcore speeds with these kind of notes going throughout it. Had the group been able to capitalize on a more crushing audio sound then what is presented, mostly thanks to the bass presence not being strong enough, this track could have been a great way to start the album with. Sadly, this also shows the band tackling longer tracks is not a good idea, and this isn’t the only one on the release. Instead, “Malice” ends up being a rather typical sounding breakdown that gradually builds into more common Grindcore passages instead of a trudging Death Metal approach. The build up at the end does carry into “Simple Math,” where the music picks up speed with blast beats and some occasional chaotic chords similar to those in “Malice,” but far fewer. Another decent song, but nothing too special until the very end when the music starts to get distorted, and by the time it starts, the song’s all over.

Many of the shorter tracks to this release are where the band really can bring some solid material in. “Celebratory Gunfire,” for example, adds a little bit of melody to the mix at times, which keeps the song somewhat fresh during the non-blast beat bridges and passages. It also just sounds good and makes a head bang worthy track that will also give you the urge to grind as much as you would want to mosh along. “Small Talk” ushers in a nice Punk sound to the Grindcore, but it’s kept at a minimum compared to “Celebratory Gunfire.” Much of the song is bass driven Grindcore that goes in and out of blast beats, but still rather intense no matter how you look at it. “Crawling Man Blues” also sticks out well on this release as well thanks to the Death Metal groove the band incorporates into the grinding madness of the song. Thanks to that, there are plenty of moments where you’ll find your head banging along to it, even with the very few off beat notes that seem to show up here and there to feed into the Grindcore that comes towards the end with a bit of a chaotic sound.

From this point, there really aren’t many songs that truly stand out, and much of what makes some song sound good starts to feel abused and run its course. Of course this doesn’t mean that there’s simply just no good songs left though. “Killing Planet Earth” is enjoyable for it’s more technical sound with Grindcore intensity, but outside of that slight unique sound, it’s not a song you’ll find too enjoyable. But then you have “All Work and No Play” as well as “Addicted” that are just hard-hitting tracks, the first better than the latter, that you’ll find yourself head banging along to at the very least. But, even though there’s some decent material still left to be discovered, there’s also the most annoying of all tracks on this release, which is “Control Room.” The life span of this song is nearly sixteen minutes in length, and all the track ends up being is the band playing their instruments to the same beat, but having nothing fit with it. This experimental track is backed up by various things including a high-pitched noise effect in the background that continues to build with the band sounding like it’s fading a little bit here and there.

But, there are times where the band just feels like they’re wasting your time, or are just generally bad. “Malice” definitely falls into the latter of the two categories, though some could contend the first for understandable reasons. “Fuck Cancer” also could fall into the latter of those two categories. This track really doesn’t offer anything too unique or fresh, and really just comes off as a traditional Grindcore song with the chorus being spoken at the end like you would find on some releases of this style, or even Hardcore. But, the thing that at least makes this song worth anything is that it clearly tries to be a good Grindcore song, and in the end it really isn’t that bad a song, or one that feels like a waste. However, “.58 Caliber” is, at least where it ends up being on the album. This would have made a far better intro to this album then “Malice.” The guitars are random chords with heavy distortion coming in to make it sound more like noise and feedback against a constant drum pattern to fill the air while an audio sample of an old man talking is played over it. It lasts fifty-six seconds and thanks to how it fades in and out, you honestly could just replace “Malice” with this and you really wouldn’t notice anything different.

Sadly, that’s not all. “Lottery” brings some Math-fueled guitars into the mix, and it’s not the first time it happens either, but with this track it feels very simple an offering in that department with music that is as bland as it is enthusiastic, which it simply isn’t. This trend follows into the longer “Warm Embrace of Poverty” which, again, would greatly benefit from a crushing audio sound like “Malice” would have, but instead the slower pace feels absolutely pointless, has no real atmosphere to it, and other than a slightly catchy rhythm from the stereotypical groove-driven Death Metal chords, the noise filled song is more of a waste to fill up time on the release.

End Time really isn’t one of Brutal Truth‘s strongest offerings, but it’s definitely a lot better than some would have you believe. With some strong tracks throughout the release that will instantly make you head bang, want to mosh, dance or grind, the band has much of the Death Metal/Grindcore spectrum covered the album. There’s a good amount of more unique tracks, though they seem to be stifled by some more traditional material for the genre. Overall, if you like the Death Metal/Grindcore combo, End Time is still a solid offering to check out, but fans of the band should really go into it expecting the most amazing effort, and be ready to sit through some pretty bad tracks thrown in with the outstanding ones.

01. Malice – 3:32
02. Simple Math – 1:29
03. End Time – 2:01
04. Fuck Cancer – 1:00
05. Celebratory Gunfire – 1:31
06. Small Talk – 1:44
07. .58 Caliber – 0:56
08. Swift and Violent (Swift Version) – 0:48
09. Crawling Man Blues – 1:44
10. Lottery – 1:13
11. Warm Embrace of Poverty – 3:53
12. Old World Order – 1:27
13. Butcher – 2:59
14. Killing Planet Earth – 1:31
15. Gut-Check – 2:40
16. All Work and No Play – 1:38
17. Addicted – 2:07
18. Sweet Dreams – 1:33
19. Echo Friendly Discharge – 1:52
20. Twenty Bag – 0:46
21. Trash – 0:05
22. Drink Up – 3:48
23. Control Room – 15:45
Overall Score: 7/10
Brutal Truth (Band)
Brutal Truth (Logo)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Relapse Records.