True Brutality Under Extreme Conditions
Brutal Truth, Kataklysm, Solus and The Swarm
at the El Mocambo, Toronto, Ontario, July 20, 1998

by: Paul Schwarz
At last my time came to experience Brutal Truth live -- and what an experience it was --, but before I go into that any further, a run down of the other bands who accompanied the masters of grind. I caught about half of local band The Swarm. They were a hardcore/grind/ death crossover similar in sound to Neurosis but less prolonged and atmospheric and with a more traditional song structured approach leaning toward hardcore. They sounded pretty good and possessed a particularly vitriolic live prescence. All members played well and were good to watch on stage, but, as is the fashion, and often the very nature, with such vitriolic live groups, the singer was very much the focus. He rambled between songs and during them went vocally ballistic and physically manic -- at one point even running off the stage and into the crowd. If the band could concentrate this much rage and violence onto disc they could be going somewhere in the future.

Solus came on next. Having checked out their new EP, which follows on in style from where their impressive _Slave of Mind_ debut left off, I can say that on disc Solus are moving to greener pastures. They reproduce their new and old material well live and are dealt a decent hand with the sound to help them along. If the band seem to lack anything this evening it is crowd movement, which was lacking in The Swarm's set also; maybe it is the Monday night crowd or maybe it is the fact that no-one in the band but Will seems to move a muscle which is not used to play their instrument. Whichever it is, a little of Solus' impact is lost through the sound and music being the only vicious thing on display. I can't wait for the new album, though.

Kataklysm are back in town with a new album and a new vocalist to showcase. Not having heard the band either live or on record, apart from owning their first 7", I can't really tell you how they reproduced their material, but I can say that I was impressed by both their musicianship and stage prescence. The band sounded cool and some of their new material, though markedly simpler than some of the older compositions, came out well live. The band weren't captivating in the sense that their set didn't fly by, but they were a good band to see all the same.

So now it is time, time for the Brutal Truth. You'd think, with as much anticipation as I am displaying even in this review, that Brutal Truth would have trouble living up to my high expectations. Well, actually, I bet you were only thinking that if you've never seen this band live. Sufficed to say Brutal Truth totally blew me away. Brutal Truth played a varied set which included many tracks from the monumental new album _Sounds of the Animal Kingdom_, alongside such classic as "Godplayer" from _Need to Control_ and "Birth of Ignorance", among others, from their legendary debut. The songs didn't matter, however, as much as the feeling. Brutal Truth capture the raw, living essence of grindcore and everything that is good about it. Songs like "Fisting" have the hyper rhythms along with the groove and innovation which makes Brutal Truth the justified kings of grind today. The participants in this whirlwind of genius should be well known to any lover of extreme music and well loved for their performances on disc and performances like this live, despite being held up for eight hours at Canadian customs and braving heavy traffic on the road from Montreal without drugs. An astounding and virtually unstoppable live performance. Do not headline above this band: it is (Kill Trend) suicide.

(article submitted 1/9/1998)

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