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Sunday Old School: Brutal Truth

It’s been a while since Sunday Old School has looked at a truly extreme band, and music doesn’t come much more extreme than grindcore. The grindcore movement was doing well by the late eighties in Europe, but America was yet to produce a proper, standout band in the genre. Perhaps the first band to do just that, was Brutal Truth. Brutal Truth was formed in 1990 by bassist/vocalist, Danny Lilker as a side project while he focused his efforts on the thrash metal outfit, Nuclear Assault. He was joined in the endeavour by guitarist, Brent "Gurn" McCarty and drummer, Scott Lewis and it wasn’t long before the trio recorded their first demo, "The Birth of Ignorance." They soon went from three members to four, when they recruited music journalist, Kevin Sharp to become their new vocalist, allowing Lilker to focus his attention on playing bass. They performed when possible, eventually attracting the attention of grindcore home, Earache Records, who offered the band a record deal, as well as Lilker’s escape route from Nuclear Assault, who he had grown distant from.

Brutal Truth recorded their first album, "Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses," which was hailed immediately as an instant classic in the still burgeoning grindcore genre and in 2009, was voted the best American grindcore album of all time by Terrorizer magazine. The album spawned music videos for the songs, "Ill Neglect" and "Collateral Damage," the latter earning the group a spot in the Guiness Book of World Records for the shortest music video ever, clocking in at only four seconds. They soon hit the road to support the record, perhaps most notably when they teamed up with three of the biggest names in British extreme metal, Carcass, Cathedral and grindcore godfathers, Napalm Death for a North American tour, before heading to Europe with Fear Factory.

They followed their debut album with a somewhat more experimental effort, the mini LP, "Perpetual Conversion," which raised their profile enough to secure the band’s first visit to Japan, where they performed with The Boredoms and S.O.B. After returning from the tour, drummer Scott Lewis decided to quit the group and was replaced by former Ninefinger skinsman, Rich Hoak. With their new member in tow, Brutal Truth retreated to New Hampshire to work on their second full length record, "Need To Control," which hit the shelves in 1994, which is easily considered one of their finest works to date thank to the wide variety of extreme music it showcased, from the grindcore the band was known for to UK82 influenced punk to electronic music. The record was a critical success and led to longer tours, partnering with the likes of Pungent Stench.

After, "Need to Control," the group parted ways with Earache, arguably the home of extreme music in Europe, and signed to Relapse, arguably the home of extreme music in North America. They marked their signing with another mini album, "Kill Trend Suicide," before releasing their third full length effort, "Sounds of the Animal Kingdom" in 1997. The album was received noticeably better than, "Kill Trend Suicide," but would prove to be their last full length effort for some time, with Brutal Truth deciding to focus more on releasing 7" singles on smaller labels, although they did release a double album, "Goodbye Cruel World" in 1999, which was comprised of live tracks, as well as their recent singles. Shortly after the compilation’s release, the band was put on hiatus and the members moved on to other projects, perhaps the most notable being Kevin Sharp’s involvement with Venomous Concept, a "supergroup" featuring members of The Melvins and Napalm Death.

However, as the story often goes in Sunday Old School articles, the group did not stay defunct for too long, announcing their reunion in 2006. After contributing tracks to the compilations, "For Drug Crazed Grind Freaks Only!" and "This Comp Kills Fascists," Brutal Truth finally recorded a new, full length album entitled, "Evolution Through Revolution," which was released in 2009, once again through Relapse. The album received very strong reviews and marked their return to the grindcore stage in a big way, peaking on the Billboard Heatseekers charts at number 65, as well as spawning music videos for the songs, "Sugar Daddy" and "Get a Therapist… Spare the World." They followed this effort two years later with their fifth album, "End Time," which was also received well. Since then, the band has been focusing more on live performances, though a split with The Bastard Noise has been announced. Brutal Truth will be embarking on a European tour in ten days time, with one of their most notable appearances taking place in London in September, where they will be joined by British crusties, Extreme Noise Terror.

Brutal Truth - "Ill Neglect"

Brutal Truth - "Godplayer"

Brutal Truth - "Blind Leading The Blind"

Brutal Truth - "Dead Smart"

Brutal Truth - "Get A Therapist... Spare The World"

Brutal Truth - "Malice/Fuck Cancer"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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