Music is never created in a vacuum. Artists draw inspiration from myriad sources, but the most powerful muse for almost every musician tends to be other music. In prehistoric (read: Pre-Napster) times, those looking for new sources of sonic insight had to put in some leg work, but this was before everyone and their grandma had a device in their pocket that could instantly connect them to nearly every piece of recorded music in human history. It is most likely impossible to track the ways this sort of universal access has changed our cultural landscape, but I can proffer what I believe to be two fairly solid assertions:
1.) It’s made discussing music on the internet in-Goddamn-tolerable.
2.) It’s led to the creation of bands like The Brood who treat a list of sub-genres like a snack bar.
Now the latter point isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Band’s like Full of Hell and Nux Vomica have demonstrated that truly wonderful things are possible when you cram together a veritable laundry list of musical styles and ideas. Of course, execution is everything. On The Truth Behind, The Brood drops doses of death metal, grindcore, punk, groove metal, and early aught’s hardcore into the musical melting pot, and the end result is a mostly good mixed bag.
After a foreboding instrumental intro track, The Brood go right for the throat with the nasty, snarling grind of “Barbie Voorhees,” a sub-minute banger full of pummeling blast beats and catchy, crushing riffs. The production hits a good balance between clarity and grime, meaning all of the instrumentation rings through (most notably Aitor Gazzloine’s stellar drumming) without losing any killing power. Singer Thibaut Jombart’s low end growl is reminiscent of Corpsegrinder-era Cannibal Corpse and thus lends The Truth Behind a decidedly death-metal vibe. “Of Guts and Fire” continues in a similar death-grind vein, albeit with a tiny dash of hardcore during the bridge.
At this point The Truth Behind takes a bit of a weird turn. The muted, straight-forward, fourr-on-the-floor punk rock that pervades most of “Lobotomized” is a jarring shift in tone that feels entirely out of place and takes far too long to get to the song’s satisfyingly grinding payoff. The metallic hardcore slam of “One by One” is replete with chuggy, down-tempo breakdowns; solid stuff, but would feel more at home on a Bury Your Dead EP than on this record. The various instrumental and movie-reel interludes found throughout The Truth Behind further drive this sense of disconnection.
The Brood return to form on tracks like “GIL” and “Descending into Madness.” The combination of tighter songwriting and a keener focus on the stronger weapons in the band’s arsenal means that even the bizarre KORN-style groove metal section near the end of “Madness” actually works super well.
Successfully linking disparate musical concepts is tricky business, and while The Brood occasionally bite off a bit more than they can chew, there is a lot to like about The Truth Behind.
Written by Jesse Gainer
*edited by Kate Erickson