As you might have noticed and/or protested, I’ve recently had a ratings run of Steelian proportions. I know I should thank my lucky stars that most of my comrades would kill to fall ass-backward into this vat of high scores and tickled bemusement. But I’m a greedy bastard and I want more! Time for London-based The Brood to step up with their horrific grindcore debut The Truth Behind. Let’s keep this train rolling!
Counter to superficial expectations, The Brood waste no time establishing a tense atmosphere that bears little resemblance to their influential countrymen. Expectations of Napalm Death and Carcass tore asunder, The Brood’s modern death production consumes their lean grind composition, stopping only to pick pieces of black and hardcore from between its teeth. The initial idea behind the album is sound. With earsplitting rage and a grind-it-out attitude, acts like Cannibal Corpse and Anaal Nathrakh capably infused elements of grind into their styles for years. Why shouldn’t The Brood do the reverse? The driving tremolos of “Barbie Voorhees” cruise past pitstops in the realm of Necroticism and Harmony Corruption, instead evoking Decapitated’s “The Blasphemous Psalm to the Dummy God Creation.” Thibaut Grunt’s tunneling lows rasp slog through the same mud pits as Grossty, his vocals attempting to rein in the notion of an album devoid of grind. Early returns for The Truth Behind seem promising, as “Barbie” easily flows into the Nailsian weight of “Of Guts and Fire” and simplistic head-nodder “Lobotomized.” The forever-forward drive of Nando Thommessen and Senen Garcia’s guitars is passable, so long as the ideas behind them pay off.
The tasty open of “One By One” recaptures some of the surely unrelated Immortal track’s ferocity, but in its transition to mid-tier heft lies the core issue with The Truth Behind. With the high-energy tracks relatively demure for the genre, the album demands its middling riffs do double duty. Instead of retaining the seat-of-your-pants excitement of grindcore and layering heaviness incarnate atop it, they riff off the non-stop momentum of a band like Bolt Thrower without the necessary complexity or technicality. When their direction has legs, as the opening tracks often do, it’s not hard to see the foundations of a compelling album. Yet the promise of consistent quality never materializes, with interesting ideas regularly supplanted by vastly inferior ones. The record never corrects its misplaced focus and slides steeply into stagnation. The rolling drums on “Latent Dementia” or the squirming riffs central to the grindy “GIL” stand out individually, but mark the album’s departure from total package to moments adrift in a sea of tepidity. Rarely, if ever, do they take an eye-catching riff and build upon it. As a result, The Brood spend too much time wandering in the wilderness in between their blips of grandeur.
Without the limb cyclone of grind frenetics or the brutal weight of death’s mid-tempo, what’s left? The occasional sheer savagery can still catch you by surprise, coming out of nowhere on B-sider “Mindfuck.” The Russ Russell-mastered product retains a surprising amount of clarity, given the tributary genres at work here. I doubt cranking the br00tal dial up higher would do anything but give me an earache. Additionally, the workman-like performances from the quintet attempt to keep the album afloat in the dull moments. It’s hard to fault their effort and I suspect they are a blast live. Unfortunately, the terminal flaws in their style and writing strip The Truth Behind of a convincing argument to return.
Fortunately for The Brood, The Truth Behind already has the genetics of a solid release. They proved they can author enjoyable moments, but grind-cuffing themselves with short tracks and riff A.D.D. forces them to chuck quality material in favor of a weaker variety. Isolating and accentuating those positives would go a long way toward a more fulfilling release. If all goes well, The Brood could have a memorable sound all their own the next time around.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192kbps mp3
Label: Give Praise Records | givepraiserecords.bandcamp.com
Websites: thebrooduk.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/TheBroodUK
Releases Worldwide: February 3rd, 2017