Monday, July 9, 2012

Truculency - Eviscerate the Paraplegic

Ok, time to review another underground brutal death band. This time, it’s going to be a band that released this album under Amputated Vein Records: Truculency. Although Amputated Vein hasn’t always been the most dependable label when it comes to quality, they sure know how to deliver brutality. And I think that I’ve expressed well enough that brutality alone just won’t cut it for me. Well, they sure do have tons of bludgeoning brutality, but that’s not all that Truculency put into this record. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone outside the underground brutal death community, but this isn’t a record that I would put the “STEER CLEAR” sticker on (that bands like Putrefy, Guttural Engorgement, and Waking the Cadaver have received).

One thing that most brutal death (especially the underground type) doesn’t seem to have is the presence of guitar solos. I fully understand that in many cases, guitar solos are not what the music requires. Putting in guitar solos when they’re not needed can make the music sound over-cluttered, unorganized, and just not good. Even when their presence doesn’t hurt the music at all, bands still have the capability of fucking everything up when choosing what to do with the background music (if any) during the guitarist’s solo. I’m not talking about bass solos, that’s a topic for another day (don’t think that I’m dissing bassists, because I AM a bassist). Hearing guitar solos in brutal death is really something I look forward to when I hear about it because I want to know whether the band is good enough to totally fuck up the music (and yes, obviously the guitarist has to be good). So when I hear Truculency’s guitar solos, I don’t hear disaster, but I don’t hear a miracle either; the guitar solos and the way they’re implemented in the music is completely mediocre. The lead guitarist obviously went for the bare minimum, but for him, the “minimum bar” was set at a much higher level than usual. I hear a guitar solo that sounds completely void of any kind of creativity or emotion…but still catchy and fitting with the music.

This is going to sound really geeky, but the thing that I like the most about Truculency is the arrangements and their extremely solid song structures. For me, being completely predictable isn’t a good thing, but neither is being completely unpredictable (with the exception of Iwrestledabearonce and a few others). Truculency has figured out how to make a nearly perfect balance between the two. There are parts when the brutal breakdown comes when you expect it, and there are parts that kind of slow things down for a bit with a slightly repetitive guitar riff, then explode into a cacophony of brutal blast beats and extremely technical guitar shredding. This balance between being predictable and unpredictable that Truculency has created is something that not only enhances the music for myself, but is the key to making the listener happy by giving them the brutal sound they want, but with some hidden surprises to keep them engaged.

The vocalist is obviously an example of a very good death metal vocalist. I’ve come to figure out that some people’s vocal chords are built in a certain way that enables them to make EXTREMELY low exhale growls. I’m not talking about the kind of deep that you hear in Whitechapel, Amorphis, Opeth/Bloodbath, and The Faceless, I’m talking about shit like Nile, pre-1995 Cannibal Corpse, and Mummification. You can tell that he’s exhaling because it sounds really breathy and it sounds really fucking shitty when he actually DOES do inhales. Either he’s really good at making a DEEP inhale sound like an exhale, or he’s just doing really fucking deep exhale growls that I wish I could do (my growls sound like the ex-The Faceless vocalist that did the vocals on Planetary Duality, Demon Carcass). But that aside, his vocals are extremely deep and not only matches the brutality of the music, it enhances it and makes it stronger.

The drummer is the main problem that this band has. He has astonishing skill and great technique, but he has an issue of falling out of tempo. I would imagine that it’s because of the high intensity and speed of the music. Also, I can tell that he’s playing the drums REALLY hard. He probably spends his miniscule paycheck on drum-skin and cymbal replacements because he keeps breaking them. So obviously, if you’re hitting the drums too hard, you’re going to get tired. The thing that sucks is that the rest of the music isn’t going to slow down for you, it’s going to keep going. And if the rest of the band DOES slow down for you, they’re not going to notice that you’ve slowed down for a couple of seconds because they’re so focused on what they’re doing. In Truculency, they mercilessly push through it and get the job done without stopping or slowing down for others. So after the drummer does some more bench presses, he shouldn’t have any problem at all by the time the next Truculency album comes out.

Overall, this record has amazing vocals, exceptional guitars, great bass, amazing drums that could use a little tweaking, and an overall powerful and (of course) BRUTAL sound. I would give this record 16/20 for having positive ends so big and powerful that they almost drown out the negative ends. Along with that, most of the guitar solo sections come with a melodic sound that blends very well with the rest of the song. Although I wouldn’t personally recommend this to anyone outside the underground brutal death community, this wouldn’t be a bad album to check out if you’re unfamiliar with the sound of underground brutality.