Finding the Brutal Truth at Exit-13

Contrary to the ignorant, grindcore is not all just a “bunch of noise”. It can be musical and entertaining with messages of alarm and messages of new awareness.

In September of 1992, American grindcore act Brutal Truth released what is arguably one of the greatest records of the genre. With solid veteran musicianship, and contributions from another American grindcore pioneer in Exit-13 Bill Yurkiewicz, Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses remains one of heavy metal’s greatest homeruns.

Brutal Truth were pushing things a bit further in their lyrics and for the right reasons. Extreme Conditions Demand Extreme Responses was not a typical book of poetry representing the anger of youth speaking out against injustice. “Birth of Ignorance” references being born and baptized into the ignorant thoughts that permeate religion. It prompts thinking about how dangerous indoctrination and extremism is. “Denial of Existence” specifically targets right-wing extremism with words that hold even more truth to this day. That kind of extremism is one of many to land right on North American soil and it could take generations to see people moving away from it. Religious extremism continues to deny the rights of people to exist.

“Anti-Homophobe” is a revolutionary track that grabbed the attention of listeners and music journalists for the right reasons. It was a statement about equality and acceptance. I remember an interview in Metal Maniacs where it was either vocalist Kevin Sharp or drummer Scott Lewis mentioned this song. People initially misread the title and thought Brutal Truth was singing about gay-bashing. On the contrary. The song is the exact opposite. It was a necessary message to the metal community that change was coming and those that did not see the LGBTQ2S+ community as equal needed to stop and think.

The heavy tracks “Time” and “Walking Corpse” draw out more points about indoctrination. It is encouragement to be yourself and realize there is more to life than living in sheltered ignorance.

Becoming a fan of Brutal Truth led me to one of my favourite metal acts in Exit-13. Members from Brutal Truth were also part of Exit-13. Hearing Exit and reading their lyrics was this series of transformative mind moments. Their music, lyrics and sound bites made me think of environmentalism. Their music was part of the inspiration for adopting veganism and seeing animal rights as a valid cause. Exit-13 is worthy of discussion in a separate posting.

Brutal Truth and Exit-13, along with legendary acts Repulsion and Terrorizer and several others, helped ensure this form of exciting and extreme music could co-exist with death metal’s rapidly-growing fanbase of the 1990’s and beyond. Musically and lyrically, each band drew from reality, attempting to reason with those who might otherwise be unreasonable in their thinking. Metal purists were forced to listen and open their minds to so much more.


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