It's been an all-too-long six years since the last Truth & Rights release, but when a band rules this hard, it's always better late than never. In my book, a group's collective résumé really can't get much better than this. I mean, vocalist Eddie Sutton needs no introduction—the music he created as a part of Leeway cemented his legend status decades ago. But don't sleep on the rest of the guys:
- John Doherty, bass (Elements DEC, Agents of Man, etc.)
- Dimi Douvas, drums (Skarhead, Stillsuit, Homicidal, etc.)
- Rey Fonseca, guitar (One 4 One, Elements DEC, Agents of Man, Maximum Penalty, etc.)
- Zack Thorne, guitar (Bulldoze, Train of Thought, Agents of Man, Homicidal, etc.)
There was a time when I would listen to Leeway's Desperate Measures every single day on the way to work; and Train of Thought, Elements DEC, and Agents of Man are some of my all-time favorite bands. Period. So, to say I'm enthusiastic about Truth & Rights' lineup is a bit of an understatement, to say the least!
As exemplified by the diversity of opener "Games," Truth & Rights explores a sound that—at least to my ears—is a perfect fusion of Agents of Man and Leeway: heavy and aggressive yet crazy melodic and catchy. Shit, the back-to-back burst of "Tommy Karate" and "Pick it Up" even summons memories of the thrashy, energetic attack of Born to Expire (granted the latter piece branches out with some punk-infused gang vocals during the chorus)! And textbook melodic/metallic hardcore banger "Sociopath," one of my immediate favorites, is actually musically reworked from an old track ("Through the Madness") by the painfully overlooked Karma Never Forgives—another short-lived act which featured John, Rey, and Zack.
If you missed Truth & Rights' excellent Greenlight 7" from Six Feet Under Records in 2010, fear not, as all three of those songs appear herein as well. "Chopped Up," in particular, brings to mind touches of Eddie's vocal work during Leeway's later years; and the anthemic "B.O.L.O." is certainly the most infectiously catchy tune of the bunch.
"Wonderland" is another huge standout for me, and displays everything I love about so much of what these guys have been involved with: creative, badass riffs that seamlessly transition from fluidly melodic to chugging grooves; with a bit more attitude and grit from Sutton. Just awesome. Like "Sociopath," "All In" is more straightforward and in your face, though with a darker undercurrent; and highlighted by an emotional vocal performance that lends a little more of a pensive vibe, "Diamond in the Rough" closes things out with yet more brilliant guitar/bass interplay. Another of my personal favorites.
You'll hear the subtlest of variances in production from time to time, but everything sounds pretty god damn fantastic overall. Super solid percussion takes a hint of a backseat, but that works out well in the end. There are plenty of vocal harmonies from Eddie, and the uniqueness of the songwriting is allowed to shine through the technical flourishes of the guitar work. Doherty is an absolute beast on the bass, too—hammering down runs that weave in and out all over the place, with a very audible home at the core of the mix.
The debut outing from Sutton's newly-formed My Reality Entertainment imprint, Lies & Slights is housed in a slickly-designed gatefold "eco-wallet" sleeve that includes a few photos and all of the lyrics. As the album title would suggest, there's much talk of treachery and betrayal through the bitter resilience of a band on a mission:
Chin up my friend, we've got this thing... there's too much heart for them to take away. They don't hold any weight. Who gives a fuck what they say? No, there ain't no way... I ain't going out like that today...
I actually feel that same bitter resilience as a fan, knowing full well that each and every one of these guys should have achieved far more success for their efforts long ago—Eddie with Leeway, Dimi with Stillsuit, and the others with damn near every band they've ever worked with (many of which I've been screaming about for over 15 years now). It's just a simple fact that this is so much better than so much else of what's out there right now, on every level.
I've only heard two albums all year that really made me flip the fuck out and get excited, and Lies & Slights is one of 'em. These guys are seriously some of the hardcore scene's most underrated musicians and songwriters, so I can only hope that I can lend any small hand in spreading the word and encouraging others to do the same...
These limited edition CDs are nearly sold out, so PayPal $15 in the U.S. (and your mailing address) to [email protected] to get your hands on one. You won't regret it!
- Bandcamp (mp3)