I suspect many reviews of this record will contain a similar disclaimer but if you don’t already know, this here Brutal Truth / Bastard Noise split contains different music on the vinyl and non vinyl versions. I think the promo I’m reviewing contains all tracks, but don’t hold me to that. I’m as confused as you are.
Do either of these bands need an introduction? Absolutely not. Both are legendary at this point, established as forward thinkers in their particular corner of the underground over decades of work and between them hundreds of releases. It’s somewhat surprising they’ve not worked together on record (to my knowledge) before. But the sad reality of this split is, I can also see why.
This is a mismatch of skills if ever I’ve come across one.
Bastard Noise‘s tracks (or what I presume to the Bastard Noise tracks as they sound recognisably like Mr Wood and co) successfully navigate ambience and frequency abuse perfectly, as is their usual manner when operating in the electronic mode. The four tracks they present meld the all too familiar Togotronic chirping and clusters of manipulated feedback here with an icy drone on ‘The Horizon On Lynx’ and ‘Mantis Colony’ sounds like a colony of robotic insects on the moon during a particularly frenzied mating season, but the truth is while it’s solid and enjoyable it’s not quite up to the admittedly stellar level of releases from ‘Rogue Astronaut’ on that has marked their recent work. Still, it’s nice to hear them revert to noise mode for a while, and it’s still a fine selection if not their most engaging of recent years.
Brutal Truth however offer up two versions of ‘Control Room’ that do absolutely nothing for me. The first, ‘Peace Is The Victory’ is almost harsh wall noise while fragments of vocals under the static, and the second ‘Smoke Grind And Sleep’ mix starts albeit a little more menacingly but just kind of plods on. There’s plenty of minute detail in both of these, sure, but both are dragged out far too long without the necessary peaks and troughs to reward the listener for their patience.
I’m actually not sure which artist is responsible for ‘The Story’, I suspect it might be Brutal Truth, but it’s a more digestible chunk of mechanical nonsense, taking only 7 minutes and at least feels like it’s going somewhere.
So a game of two halves – an admirable effort from Bastard Noise, but an aimless and eventually irritating side from Brutal Truth.
It could have been so much better.
Scribed by: Jamie Grimes