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Trying something new here with a brand spankin series called 'Raffy Recommends' where I discuss heavy metal artists that may be more obscure, underrated or possess some unique qualities under their belt...as well as talk about why you should check them out if you're a fan of their genre. This series will focus on and serve as a mini-retrospective or review on the brutal band's discography as a whole (as opposed to usual site reviews that consist of single album or new release reviews) and we will look at artists from many different subgenres of metal. And in today's pilot episode, the cold hard truth will be revealed about one of England's most vulgar and possibly notorious hardcore acts: Cold Hard Truth.
Having humble beginnings within the confines of the mean streets of Manchester, United Kingdom, this five-piece collective known to Brits and beyond as Cold Hard Truth is a band with some hard styles, tons of heavy hitters in both the vocal and riff departments, and a trolley load of edgy, "TUFFGUY" attitude in their ranks. Their tunes finely produced and their videos chock full of nostalgic editing that would phase even the hardest oldschool/90s hardcore punk acts (think Biohazard & Terror type material), they've so far put out one demo CD as well as two full-length albums in their career since their inception around a decade ago, with a third release well on the way. And, while a lot of the stuff they do is DIY, they're currently signed to the Beatdown Hardwear record label, with some cool merch and more angry music incoming fast and hard (sans innuendo).
First and foremost, the first major heavy hitter for these riffing deadly dudes came in way back around '09 in the form of a demo aptly named Reflect The Conflict. I say aptly since this little number foreshadows a lot of the future elements the band would go on to use, reuse, sometimes recycle, but to effective use, and polish in the next decade. Also, quite a few of the half-dozen tracks on this demo would go on to be rerecorded for their debut full-length (which we will get to in due time). Overall, the recording quality on here is obviously not really up to par as far as it goes, but that's to be expected when it's a newer act that is a local collective on a smaller budget. Starts off with some slammy goodness followed closely by Hatebreed-esque hardcore riffage and toughguy screams in the forefront. It's important to note that many of the influences here are pretty much 90s hardcore punk worship as opposed to the beatdown-centric formula the band would take on in future recordings. It's only 14 minutes, but well worth checking out to see the origins of Cold Hard Truth...and a lot of the audio samples are pretty well-utilized. I'd give this one a 7.5/10.
Next up, the band's 2011 full-length debut titled Deliver The Fear. This album is essentially an eleven song composition that feels and progresses with a lot more punch and an overall more fleshed out vibe to it. There are audio samples here too, but they're used more sparingly in general. The intro track is a testament to how integral an opening song can be to an album, with a gloriously over-the-top beatdown section early on that leads to a fairly memorable vocal entry and finally a hardcore verse going into a slowed down slamming part to finish off. Many of the songs on this album follow this formula, though some are a bit more brief in length than others. 'Cycles of Suffering' and 'Punisher' are two tracks I'd highly recommend for their disgustingly vile energy and grandiose outros, which are some of my personal faves in the genre as a whole. Sure, there are some fillers like 'Telephone Tough Guy' and 'Enemy Down' that I didn't really care for. However, I really, really rate this album highly overall and there is some rapping in it as well, particularly towards the end of it. It has some really punchy production and quite a few of the middle songs really show off the band's legitimacy, even with some guest vocal spots by Pelbu, who some may recognize being from fellow hardcore group Knuckledust. I give this one a 9/10 easily.
Finally, there is the second full-length comically named Truthgetta and it is also a fairly energetic and tryhard-type of hardcore venture with even more guest spots, particularly courtesy of Matthi from beatdown enthusiasts and longtimers Nasty in addition to the likes of Alex Curbstomp (Curbstomp SCBD). This album is a 2016 release that consists of yet another eleven tracks and over 30 more minutes of beatdown-hardcore content. It's more of the same, but still the very solid same. The spark from its predecessor still remains intact; as do all the sweet and tasty slamming beatdown riffs, slowdowns, blast beats and what-have-you. There are also a lot less filler tracks as opposed to the amount there was in Deliver The Fear and this album similarly tops it off with a rapping song in the form of 'Ghetto Romance'. In general, I really enjoyed songs like 'Violence Is The Answer' and 'Muay Thai Or Die' for their not-giving-a-damn attitude, fast pacing and catchy riff madness. It also feels like a slightly more matured album in some ways. I still like Deliver The Fear a bit more, but I'd still rate this one with a worthy 8.5/10.
So yeah, to wrap things up, Cold Hard Truth stands boldly as one of those Euro beatdown-hardcore bands out of many that deserve recognition for their consistency and energetic performances, both live and on recording, as well. Their well-polished and well-played music really gives off a destructive feel strong enough to make you mosh in the pit or in your bedroom, to boot. All in all, I'd give the band like an 8.7/10. Sure, they're not entirely unique with their approach to the genre; however, it's their image and tone that gives them their own unique sort of identity in the end, if that makes any sense. Oh and also, they released a new video/single just a few months ago that I think you should really check out down below, listen to and perhaps even buy the album whenever it inevitably comes out if you turn out to be a fan. There's a hell of a lot more 'TUFFGUY' edge and beefy fight music to come out of these m8s in the near future it seems. But, for now, here is me signing off and wishing everyone well and some hardcore hell!
Raffy's Faves From The Band: 'Cycles of Suffering', 'Punisher', 'Muay Thai Or Die'
For Fans Of: All Out War, CARBINE, Nasty
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-Review by: Dave Raffy
Musician, reviewer, fan & promoter
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