Brutal Truth

support Deceased + Piss Vortex
author PP date 29/04/14 venue Stengade, Copenhagen, DEN

Scandinavia's time to say farewell to Brutal Truth, a pioneering and seminal band within grindcore who will officially disband after 24 years as a band upon the completion of their current European tour which has its last date in October. Since this is the last opportunity ever to catch the band live in Denmark, Stengade is packed to its near-limits as extreme metal fans flock to see grind legends one more time. What's more, they've brought with them cult underground death/thrash metallers Deceased, who have never before played on Danish ground throughout their 30 year career as a band, as well as young Copenhagen grind upstarts Piss Vortex, so there's plenty of chaos and havoc to be enjoyed tonight.

Piss Vortex

Piss Vortex

The underground metal scene in Denmark has been buzzing about Piss Vortex for a while now, not least because the band is composed of Christian Bonnesen (of The Psyke Project fame) on guitar, as well as ex-members of now-defunct The Ghostname. Their expression combines devastating grindcore with chaotic hardcore elements, resulting in a brutal expression that has plenty of experimental sections contrasting the breakneck speed grind sections. Their vocalist recalls Tommy Rogers of Between The Buried And Me fame in both his vocal style and his composure on stage, delivering a powerful performance that engulfs the venue in a convincing manner. He's joined briefly on stage by The Ghostname vocalist Jesper, who adds some energy to their already impressive performance that's characterized by down-to-earth, chilled out humour and casual conversation with the crowd in between tracks. Speaking of in between tracks, when your songs are about a minute long on average, you really need to kill the pauses in between the songs to retain a good flow. Right now, it's occasionally a little awkward and definitely pointless to stop for 30-40 seconds between each track, because it makes their set feel like it has no continuity - this despite the band playing their upcoming new album in its entirety. Once they fix this aspect, they'll be a force to be reckoned with in the Danish live circuit.

7

Deceased

Deceased

30 years of live experience is on display when Deceased attack us with their vicious mixture of death metal and melodic thrash played the old school way. "We're taking you back 25 years... before the bald spot", vocalist King Fowley states while pointing at his head, before the entire band disappears into a sea of hair, transforming the venue into what it must have been like watching the original 80s thrash metal bands in small clubs back in the day. And although the shredding and fretwork of their guitarists is impressive, it is Fowley who steals all the attention with his lunatic appearance on stage, occasionally pulling his hair, randomly shaking his band members, or just pacing across the stage in an intense fashion. The band takes us through everything from straight up death metal to melodic thrash to blackened thrash to nearly black metallish songs, triggering nonstop headbanging from the front rows as the rest of us stand there in awe over the solid riffage being thrown at us song after song. It's uncompromising, fiery, and angry, yet the songs display a level of songwriting and composition rarely found in metal bands, at least on first listen in a live environment. So when the band are in constant small movement, shaking in their spots and flowing their hair around like in those 80s thrash metal video tapes some of you guys still keep in your storage, it's hard not to like what they're doing even as a non-thrash metal fan. Still, their songs do start to blend together somewhat towards the end, but overall, a solid performance that showcased 30 years of live experience well.

Brutal Truth

Brutal Truth

Sporting his signature bent cowboy hat, Brutal Truth vocalist Kevin Sharp is in a talkative mood today. Before the show even starts, he's engaged in lots of casual chatter with the crowd, even accidentally breaking his microphone before the first song, remarking simply "not today sound guy". Eventually they do get going and an aggressive mosh pit forms near the front straight away, as the band start cycling through their back catalogue in their final display of why they are considered one of the pioneering bands in the genre. Plenty of old material is therefore on display, as are newer classics like "Fuck Cancer" and "Addicted". "It's been an honor to grind with you guys", Sharp says, before a nostalgic remark about the birth of Relapse Records more than 20 years ago, who have given the band so much throughout their career. Nonsensical rhythms and experimental grindcore madness follows, with the band shaking on stage as if they've just undergone a seizure to their weird rhythmic platform. Occasionally they engage in frantic movement on stage, but for the most part they do seem to just stand still, perfectly content at just showcasing the versatility of grindcore that is so vividly present throughout their discography. But besides extreme metal grinding, and the greatest four-second song in existence ("Branded"), not that much is going on, so the crowd is considerably thinner 35 minutes into their performance. Songs from "Evolution Through Revolution" draw the biggest response, but crowd cheers loudly in between most of the songs anyway, even if the initially crazy mosh pit has died down and people are mostly standing still towards the end. The band continue with funny banter and small anecdotes in between songs, which really vary between gems and duds tonight, but honestly it all feels and sounds kind of monotonous and forgettable tonight. Their trademark intensity and brutal groove that's present on their records doesn't translate across tonight, and I end up leaving the venue disappointed over the overall performance. This isn't how I wanted to remember the most consistent grindcore band that will go down in history as pioneers and inventors of the genre, but tonight, Brutal Truth's showmanship simply isn't enough to leave me impressed.

Photos by: Lauren Harris

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