Have a listen to 'I.Denial' and 'Sanguine'
Brutal Youth – Sanguine
Release Date: 23rd September 2016
I’m opening this review with a bold statement, Brutal Youth might just be my favourite discovery of 2016. Somehow the Canadian hardcore punks have escaped my radar with two previous releases before I checked out their third LP, ‘Sanguine’. This latest effort being a long awaited release by many fans since their 2013 album, ‘Stay Honest’.
The first thing I noticed before even listening was that some of this album revolves around the topic of death. While it’s not a concept album, there are five chapter tracks spread throughout the album – ‘I. Denial’, ‘II. Anger’, ‘III. Bargaining’, ‘IV. Depression’ and ‘V. Acceptance’. These would be the five stages of grievance. Musically, Brutal Youth blend hardcore punk and skate punk phenomenally, mixing aggressive tendencies with anthemic and melodic influences in a manner that hooks you in. In “true” punk fashion, most of the songs last between one to two minutes, none of them outstaying their welcome, and completely captivating your attention.
Opening track ‘I. Denial’, starts off slow at first, but soon it blasts into energetic gritty sounding riffs with erratic beats. The vocals match the chaotic raw sounds with fast shouting vocals. The song then leads into a fun skate punk end with “Woah” chants and catchy hooks. Follow-up track ‘Chlorine’ is a straight up minute-long hardcore song, more of the all out fast riffs and full-on aggression.
‘The King’ then takes on a slightly more chilled out stance, acting as the longest track on the album at just under three minutes and stands out as the most uplifting. the guitar melodies are less intense and the vocals are at their cleanest and anthemic. That along with lots of layered gang shouts make you want to sing along. The follow up then takes the polar opposite approach, ‘II. Anger’ is exactly what the name suggests. Just like ‘Chlorine’, it’s another angst-ridden hardcore track that blows off a lot of steam.
‘Hostile Working Environment’ stands out as the catchiest song on the album. It unleashes high tempo, positive energy with and incredibly hooking chorus, “Always in the wrong place…” gets stuck in your head so easily. Yet it’s followed swiftly by the most energetic track in the form ‘Sandpit’. After an ambient opening, the song launches into fiddly guitar whines, thrash like drum beats, it’s aggressive, yet it flows right into a two-step anthem – it’s a pure pit starter.
Brutal Youth showcases their ability to write songs that can create manic live atmospheres, as well as happy go lucky singalongs. The energy delivered within each song is infectious and after just a couple of listens this has become on of my favourite punk albums of the year. If you like any form of hardcore and skate punk, the variety of the influences that the Canadians unleash should have you hooked. More of this, please.
For fans of: (early) The Flatliners, The Unseen, Anti-Flag, Dropthis