EVOLUTION THROUGH REVOLUTION: THE TRULY BEAUTIFUL & BRUTALLY TRUTHFUL RETURN OF BRUTAL TRUTH
Good news: despite a decade-plus gap between full-lengths, Evolution Through Revolution-era Brutal Truth is just as wooly and weird as the band’s pre-millennial lineups. Reckless grind and punk tempos still hurtle fearlessly and skid into death metal dirges. Kevin Sharp howls the kind of anti-everything sociopolitical invective you’d expect to hear from that crazy old war vet that accosts people outside the gas station, except he’s probably right about it all. Even setting aside the album’s wildman sax solos and noise samples, chaos reigns on Evolution Through Revolution. New guitarist Erik Burke’s abrasive diminished chords grind against themselves in earbleeding dissonance; “Itch” could be Immolation gone grind, its cycling guitars vomiting disharmonic sparks.
In the hands and throats of these four highly individual musicians, grindcore’s single-minded rush refracts into its constituent parts. Richard Hoak’s blasts sputter and clank, machine-like, stoking the instability of Burke’s guitars by ensuring they’re always in two separate pockets. You can even hear a jazz drummer’s swing amidst the shrill assault of “Humpty Finance.” Danny Lilker’s rubbery bass counterpoint on “Get a Therapist…Spare the World” and “Detached” sounds at once graceful and grotesque. Ain’t too much of a stretch to connect Brutal Truth’s inventive, bass-prominent arrangements back to The Minutemen – Evolution Through Revolution repays the debt by covering the latter’s “Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs.” Barring a too-high ratio of major chords, it could be a Brutal Truth original.
Try to overlook the fact that most of the peppy numbers here get by on Brutal Truth’s oddball aura, rather than the repeat listenability of their songs – with the notable exceptions of “Daydreamer,” the title track and “Global Good Guy,” the album most savagely rapes your memory when the speed flags. Otherwise, it’s experienced more as a dizzying rush than an album. But given all the nooks and crannies in Brutal Truth’s sound, that’s no problem at all. Even if the artistic leap from their last full-length, Sounds of the Animal Kingdom to Evolution Through Revolution is a lot shorter than the one from Need to Control to Sounds, this album still feels like rediscovery.
If the people are willing to listen, Evolution Through Revolution might even bring them together. The 30+ crowd that was around in 1997 for Sounds can sleep tight knowing that age has only concentrated the band’s savagery and harnessed its weirder impulses. Budding drug-crazed grindfreaks can delight in knowing that they were around for the release of a latter-day classic. Everyone else can go fuck themselves. This record is awesome.
(four out of five horns)