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I'm a longtime contributor to MTV, Billboard, Alternative Press and MovieWeb. I've worked as on-air reporter, host, writer and producer for MTV, MSNBC and E!. I have provided opinion and commentary to programs on VH1, IFC, G4, Fuse, Current and Oxygen. I have written for Huffington Post, Premiere, OC Weekly, SFGate.com, NextMovie.com, MTV's television and movie blogs and other publications. I am the founder of Superhero Productions, providing broadcast, online and aftermarket content for a number of clients including Lionsgate, Sony and Warner Bros. I personally handle artist management for a handful of bands. "Ryan Downey has established a history of breaking some good scoops in the last few years, and you could certainly do worse than bookmark [him] to check in on." -- Ain't It Cool

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Decibel Hall of Fame: Brutal Truth, Need to Control


I remember seeing those ads for Sounds of the Animal Kingdom everywhere. It was the most ubiquitous metal marketing campaign I can recall to this day.

I was aware that the former bass player for Anthax and Nuclear Assault (and S.O.D.), Dan Lilker, was in Brutal Truth. I saw the band at the Fireside Bowl in Chicago and interviewed him for my 'zine. He talked to me about playing black metal in the cab he drove in New York. He didn't want to answer questions about his age. And he was rocking a short hair-cut that made him look like Loadera Kirk Hammett. I seem to remember people at Relapse telling me he was sensitive about the comparison, which prompted him to relaunch his locks.

A couple of years later, I met Brutal Truth's drummer, Rich Hoak, at Gordon Conrad's apartment. Gordon and I became friends when he was a publicist at Earache Records and he sent me Coalesce's 002 EP in 1995 during my brief stint in Atlanta, Georgia. Gordon went on to work at Relapse and started Escape Artist Records with one of Relapse's graphic designers. Escape Artist released Burn It Down's second EP and our only full-length. I believe I was staying at Gordon's place in Philadelphia during a tour. Rich was talking to us about his then-new band, Total Fucking Destruction. He struck me as hyper-friendly, and a bit hyper in general.

With all that being said, I have never listened to Brutal Truth.

Listening to Need to Control now, I think I may have been missing out. It's full of a lot of crazy fast stuff that isn't really my speed (pun intended), but the sludgier bits are awesome, and all of it is undeniably difficult to play and well-played at that. I'm on my second listen now and I'm glad I purchased this album on iTunes (We Are the Romans my friend Ati gave me; I figured since I had a promo copy of it once upon a time I already sort of "owned" it... Er, right?).

I must admit this album shreds.

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