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(review n pic by MWJ)

Another instalment in cut out and keep our “blast(beats) from the past” series, collect all four hundred and receive a complementary hearing aid/ear plug/nose bleed. The headliners created a massive, seminal genre impact with their ramped up intensity grindcore/metal in the early 90’s even in comparison to the seismic wider culture shock that Napalm Death had brought to bear a few years before. I even roadied for them courtesy of some promoter friends from Wrexham who put their gigs on around and abouts, supposedly doing stage security at a gig downstairs at the Royal Court in Liverpool which basically consisted of me getting bent over backwards by the mosh mentalness in front of the two foot high stage, while the singer showered the back of my head with sparks from an angle grinder. This was not paid work but was my idea of a classic night out! Out of existence for some 10 years though, Brutal Truth had got the majority of the original line-up together for a benefit for the members of Eye Hate God drastically affected by hurricane Katrina, and the rest was no longer history

Despite only getting in some 20 minutes late missed the opening act and in no time at all had TFD in action. Still wearing their coats as the underground venue was none to warm despite a respectable turnout of 150+, their sound also took a little while to sharpen, not having a great deal of impact or vocal power which meant that a lot of their humour was lost too. They were also missing a guitarist since I’d last seen them, but also contributed to a bit of confusion to expectation with some seemingly more jazzy and rocky breaks to the straightforward grind they’d done before. Soon the mix improved though, enabling classics such as “kill the c*nts and eat their brains” to be enjoyed as intended.

Relatively local but providing support for the whole tour Narcosis definitely encouraged a whole extra wave of people up close and personal for their set. A lot of them must surely have been prepared for the level of abuse/threats, gurns, cans, water and cup-a-soups hurled at them and are still happy to indulge. Narcosis are on the offensive on many fronts (“are you familiar with the term ‘paedophile grind’?”), but simultaneously deliver a raging and surgically precise technical grind onslaught that really cuts through. Evidently their extensive touring has tightened up this performance level and it is certainly attention grabbing.

A bit of a longer break and then the various Truth members enter to a warm reception. Ferocious from the onset, Kevin Sharp the vocalist in battered Stetson and hotrocked-to-pieces T-shirt is beaming between his gruff growls, his Manson-esque (Charlie not Marilyn) beard well suited to someone who’s been institutionalised in his time. You’d never guess the way he repeatedly head-butts his mike later through the show. The unfeasibly tall Dan Lilker, who has achieved a lot with bands such as Nuclear Assault, Anthrax, S.O.D. and others, has a fantastic distorted bass sound and although he’s a plectrum man I do appreciate his work in a new light tonight. The majority of his backing vocals are unfortunately lost through a kaput mike which does make a considerable difference to the mix, although he roars along unawares (taking a brief break for a toot on his pipe). And fair play, Rich Hoak, playing his second set after TFD too, blasts immensely, and with much more clarity and impact than previously. A new guitarist keeps up the pace and the intensity, a lot of the material is unfamiliar to me until we’re treated to one of their standards “Godplayer”. A lot of their later material mixed in a bit of a sludgey sound that may inevitably creep in when your mantra is “smoke-grind-sleep” but my favourites are from their debut “Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses” and when “Walking Corpse” is introduced by the drummer (“I hope you make sure we’re properly dead before you start!”) the place properly explodes. To be fair, throughout, it is some of the most sustained crowd chaos I’ve seen in some years, inspiring the old school as well as those new enjoying the first opportunity. Most of the shouts are for older stuff but they say not to worry, it’s about a 30 song set so there’ll be plenty, and they certainly seem true to their word, you get grind value for money. Sustained by generous supplies of beer and whisky from fans, they don’t faff around with an on-off encore but go straight through another 10, including the groovy “I killed my family” featuring the guitarist from Narcosis providing some guest screams and growls.

All in all another very satisfying return, a brutal truth/narcosis/TFD 3way split 7” providing a splendid souvenir.