CD Review: Brutal Truth - Sounds of the Animal Kingdom/Kill Trend Suicide
"Still not loud enough, still not fast enough!" So began Sounds of the Animal Kingdom, Brutal Truth's third and final studio full-length before disbanding in 1998. The soundbite was from a Dr. Seuss film, but it very well could have come from a band meeting before writing the album. As many have pointed out, the cover art was hardly something to hang on the wall. However, it summed up the album's sound: man becoming animal.
Brutal Truth deservedly get credit as grindcore pioneers. But their sound encompassed more than the one-minute freakouts the genre tag implies. Like Napalm Death, Terrorizer, and early Bolt Thrower, they straddled a blurry line between death metal and grindcore. Thus, for the copious speed they unleashed, they never forgot to be heavy. Dan Lilker's huge, filthy bass tone was crucial to this, as were frequent tempo changes. Drop a needle on any point in the band's discography, and you'd be as likely to hear sludgy grooves as you would blastbeat mayhem.
Opening salvo Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses fell into the "legendary, raw-as-hell, fuck-the-system-and-you-too first album" category. Need to Control upped the production values and tossed out the Ritalin, as the band experimented with industrial/noise interludes and the full gamut of tempos. The Kill Trend Suicide EP got back to basics, with 10 vicious, direct cuts recorded in six days.
On Sounds of the Animal Kingdom, it all came together – the epic scope of the first album, the experimentation of the second, and the raw fury of the EP. What's immediate from the first note is how in control the band is. This album ties you to its bumper and drags you left and right, over asphalt and dirt, at NASCAR speeds, with precision to match. The songs are hardly simple, yet they never fall into the "see me shred" trap. Utter annihilation is the agenda, whether it be from the 11-second "Callous" or the seven-minute knuckle scraping of "Blue World." For how bruising these riffs are, they're unexpectedly catchy – don't be surprised to find yourself humming them.
Relapse has repackaged Sounds together with Kill Trend Suicide on one disc, along with the video for "Dead Smart," complete lyrics, historical photos, and liner notes from the band and Decibel editor Albert Mudrian. Pig Destroyer's Scott Hull remastered the the whole shebang; it's the audio equivalent of a monster truck. The band has reformed for some live dates, but unless it blesses us with new material, this essential reissue will more than suffice.