Revealing the Brutal Truth
An interview with New York's kings of grind
by: Adrian Bromley
The leap from Earache Records to Relapse Records has been a positive one for Brutal Truth members Danny Lilker (bass), guitarist Brent "Gurn" McCarty, vocalist Kevin Sharp, and drummer Richard Hoak. The band's debut album/EP release for Relapse Records, entitled _Kill Trend Suicide_ and produced by Billy Anderson (The Melvins, Neurosis), is thirty-five minutes of insanely violent guitar riffs fused between spurts of anger and raw intensity. In the end, _KTS_ is a powerhouse of sound and might that would shake even the strongest foundations.

While with Earache, the band made its mark with the well-received releases of _Need to Control_, the _Perpetual Conversion_ EP, and _Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses_, but as time went on, the band and label parted ways leading the band in the direction of Relapse Records. Now with the EP (and full-length debut for the label to surface in early 1997), the band plans to once again make some noise with their multifaceted and original sound. From grindcore to death metal, Brutal Truth has managed to keep things different with each release since forming in 1990.

"A lot of the material was written when we were in limbo between Earache and Relapse," starts drummer Richard Hoak over the phone from the Relapse offices. "At that time, we were in the rehearsal studio three times a week. We didn't stop writing music just because we didn't have a label. We always kept recording. A lot of the stuff we had recorded on an 8-track in the studio. When we had decided to work with Billy (Anderson), we had sent him the live 8-track recordings which we had liked because of the live and raw intensity. The songs sounded like they would if we were playing them live and we wanted to capture that," describes Hoak about making the record. "We didn't do everything we wanted to do with this record but we did pretty much what we could do."

And why an EP as opposed to a full-length debut? Answers Hoak, "We knew we had to record it cheaply and quickly, and had to have a live overall sound. So we made the EP and it turned out the live way we wanted it. I describe this record as a "full-on-grindcore-chaotic-noise-mayhem" that'll rip your head off, but at the same time seems so beautiful." He laughs.

One thing that most fans will note of the newer Brutal Truth stuff is the sound. As opposed to what the band had done with _NtC_ or _ECDER_, the newer material is much more focused on speed and raw aggression rather than a dominating factor of being extreme and grindcore sounding. Hoak thinks that might turn off some older fans of the band. "I'm afraid some of the older fans might not dig this record as it doesn't sound like the older records sound. There are real people who get offended by that. Some people will come up to us and say, 'Man, _ECDER_ was such a heavy record and why doesn't the new record sound like that? I dug _ECDER_ but why is this record like this?' I say that is great for those people and they will have to listen to _ECDER_ all the time then. Like I say to all those people, this is where we are at. These songs were written in a very natural way and came out of us while we were sitting around playing with nothing to do. I think they are more musical and coherent. We like the way they sound. It sounds like the music sounds when we play it and that was important to us when we started to record this record."

So what is different? What are people seeing to be the different factor between this album and the older material? "A lot of the older fans dig it. They think our blasts of speed and intensity have gotten a lot more intense and faster which is hard to believe. Everything is not so mechanical anymore as it was. It is like all the other records and their intensity is controlled going 'Grrr!' and with _KTS_, the intensity is more raw and primal. It is more of a natural growl going 'Grr..ah..ah..grrr! It is hard to explain but I hope you see what I mean."

About the making of music he says, "We please ourselves when we make music, first. If it doesn't sound good to us then we don't record it. It is a natural way of songwriting. For me personally as a drummer, I like being able to play the whole thing through and having all the parts fit together nicely. The song as a whole has to work, and then I am comfortable with it."

One thing Hoak will attest to is the way his role as a musician has changed over the years. Whether it be going from record label to record label, recording albums and/or touring, Hoak has been a part of a changing scene and now feels things are on the up and up for the band. "It has gotten a lot better since signing to Relapse," says Hoak. "It was such a horror story at Earache for us. They work hard here at Relapse and expect us to work hard too which we do. I have run into a bunch of jerks in the long run whether it be club owners or label people but I have also met a lot of nice people in the end too. And that makes being in this business a lot more enjoyable."

(article submitted 18/11/1996)


CHATS
11/30/2006 J Smit Brutal Truth: Choice of a New Generation (Part 1)
11/30/2006 T DePalma Brutal Truth: Choice of a New Generation (Part 2)
1/1/1998 P Schwarz Brutal Truth: Still Not Loud Enough, Still Not Fast Enough
1/17/1996 G Filicetti Brutal Truth: Malformed Musical Mayhem
ALBUMS
5/29/2009 D Cairns 9 Brutal Truth - Evolution Through Revolution
12/9/1999 A Wasylyk 8 Brutal Truth - Goodbye Cruel World!
10/16/1997 A Bromley 7 Brutal Truth - Sounds Of The Animal Kingdom
10/11/1996 G Filicetti 8 Brutal Truth - Kill, Trend, Suicide
GIGS
9/1/1998 P Schwarz Brutal Truth / Kataklysm / Solus / The Swarm True Brutality Under Extreme Conditions
3/16/1997 A Bromley Cannibal Corpse / Brutal Truth / Immolation / Oppresor Cannabis Corpse and Friends
2/5/1997 A Gaudrault Brutal Truth / Blood of Christ / Dirge Sounds From the Embassy
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