Brutal Knights? When I first heard the name my immediate response was to prepare myself for the inevitable. I was going to set my mind back to fourth period gym class where pumping myself up with some siq ‘core (metal) with righteously bru-tal breakdowns and Tolkien-inspired lyrics would be sorely needed. Their name, thankfully, could not be anymore misleading bros and broettes. BK keep their ‘core firmly situated where it should be: in the realm of `80s “because I hate painters” punk.
Those readers of a less noble birth might not know this but in Canada’s vast expanses of fresh water, marijuana grow-ops and gay marriage queues there is a serious penchant for garage rock -- especially in Ontario and Quebec. Now I’m not talking about some bland Lou Reed aping, I’m talking about real balls-out Iggy-in-a-dress rock. Unlike fellow Torontonians Career Suicide, who at this point...in their career...have seemingly abandoned most of their garage rock tendencies, BK fully integrate that influence into their hardcore punk stylings.
While vocalist Nick Flanagan (xflanzx) is still a comedian, the band has never sounded as serious about bringing the public all that is filthy and absurd. Material on their previous full-length, Pleasure Is All Thine, seemed like amateur comedy hour whereas the fine morsels contained here read more like script lines culled from the twelfth Cosby that never was. “Extreme Lifestyle 07” opens with a drum intro that beats around your head forcing fists into the air to the words of "I wake up in the morning / and use wasabi mouthwash / I have an extreme lifestyle / my attitude is mosh." The song also provides a generous but considerate guitar solo, the kind that screeches along a chalkboard until it careens off into the dustbin of oblivion. Other topics of utmost import on the album are as follows: dieting, the weak, having an aversion to touring and being Bill Clinton’s official/unofficial biographer. Of particular interest for those of us that use the email is the song “We Have a Website”: "Jack into the machine / hold your keyboard tight / adjust your modem / enlarge your scrotum / get ready for an awesome website / log on Brutal Knights dot fucking com."
The snotty sneering vocals, dirty drums, and thin fuzzy guitars with non-overbearing soloing, this band has the sound down. The real pleasant surprise however will come in the substance, the sheer and exuberant lack of it. The burgers in the album art bring to mind Kwik Way’s woefully all-but-forgotten LP, and thankfully so does the band’s mindset. Some of the more college-headed individuals out there might gripe about the relative lack of serious socio-political commentary. To those individuals I say you have just forgotten what the world was like before scene kids came around breathing up all the good air. One thing though: This album doesn’t really go well at noon hour with green tea and a vegan bagel with soy curd faux cream cheese. Nay, these songs should be listened to whilst thrashing about with cheap beer on your breath and someone else’s blood on your clothes.