Truth Corroded – Behind Enemy LinesSunday, 30th March 2014
Nothing like some good ‘ole dot-connecting to fire up the neurons. Australian label Truth Inc. Records was a name made privy to this scribe during our time as Blistering.com, for our Down Under-based writer Justin Donnelly often submitted reviews for bands from the label. Australia may be a big country, but it has a small, sequestered metal scene, so for a label to get going in such a difficult territory seemed like reason enough for coverage. And generally, the label’s releases were of quality: Black Like Vengeance, Lynchmada, and, the band up for discussion, Truth Corroded. (And yes, that was a total trip down memory lane; and, hi Justin!)
Recently signed to AFM Records after gradually working their way up through the underground ranks, the band’s new Saviours Slain is a vitriolic, vertical meld of spiteful, thought-inducing thrash. The cover – depicting Jesus Christ with a bullet through his temple – has garnered the expected amount of raised eyebrows, but none of that would matter if the band’s music wasn’t worth its salt. As bassist/Truth Inc. owner Greg Shaw would begin, indeed it’s been a bumpy road, full of the usual obstacles that are seemingly inescapable for any band.
“The ride has definitely had its highs and lows, but the highs keep us going,” he beings. “Probably the greatest challenge has been membership changes and getting the support of labels and agents. But staying at it and working hard has paid off. We now have a label behind us with a worldwide deal and album release, we have toured places I never thought I would have seen; been to Europe, Japan, China. and Southeast Asia – some places several times, and played some incredible shows, met great people and had some incredible experiences. On top of that we have shared the stage with bands such as Lamb of God, Behemoth, Arch Enemy, and bands that inspired us to take up instruments years ago, such as Sepultura, Forbidden and Death Angel.”
The band’s deal with AFM can be chalked up to two things: Shaw’s good relationship with the German-based label through distribution deals, and the band’s appeal in European territories. “It took some negotiation to reach an agreement, and we could not be happier,” enthuses Shaw. “They are a great label, really supportive and have some great people working for them. It is easier to get other parties to talk having AFM behind us, such as promoters and agencies. AFM have also offered extensive publicity throughout Europe and the U.S and delivered opportunities to us that would have been hard to source independently. I look forward to seeing what we can achieve together.”
Saviours Slain is the first Truth Corroded album to be without guitarist/primary songwriter Mark Leonard, who left the band in 2010 after the recording of Worship the Bled. According to Shaw, the band was able to maintain its signature sound, and also snag a rather in-demand session drummer by the name of Kevin Talley (Battlecross, Dying Fetus, Misery Index, et al).
“We [create] templates of the songs before sending them to Kevin to write and record the drums and then had our former lead guitarist Corey [Grieve] session on the leads and embellishments. The end result is an album that stands in relation to our previous two and also moves the band forward without losing our distinctive sound.
“I think there is a clear idea of what is a Truth Corroded song and what isn’t,” continues Shaw. “If we bring in new ideas, it will be in the context of the TC sound – we have a particular identity, and it is for myself and Jason [North, vocals] to maintain that identity and stay true to our roots, as we are the only original members. As such, there is filters on what makes the end product, and I have always been involved in the composition, so that helps things take form.”
In a bit of an unconventional lineup setup, Truth Corroded have a full-time drummer in the ranks, Kieren Murray. However, the band prefers to use Talley for recording, simply out of necessity, as Murray’s relatively young age of 26 makes Talley the more convenient choice when pressed up against hard deadlines and expensive studio time. And of course, there’s no argument when it comes to Talley’s playing – he’s one of the best metal has to offer.
“Kevin is perfect for our sound,” says Shaw. “He understands what the band is about and has the background to bring the right feel and results that we are looking for. Furthermore, from a recording standpoint, one which both previous mixers of our albums Mark Lewis and Jonas Kjellgren will confirm, is that the recording of the drums are perfect. Kieran is exceptional, a very powerful and talented drummer. But Kieran comes from a different background musically, and to complete the TC sound we felt best that we should continue to work with Kevin. We are fortunate that Kieran is completely capable of matching Kevin’s playing, but from a creative stand point they are different drummers.”
About the cover. Putting Mr. JC in some of type of compromising and/or fatalistic pose isn’t anything new to metal, but the blunt, and direct nature of Saviours Slain cover art was enough to get the band’s label worried, recalling the times of yore when Roadrunner Records had to place giant stickers over the covers of Deicide albums for similar subject matter…
“If it gets people thinking, considering the title, looking deeper, than it has achieved our aim,” says Shaw. “We are a band that is looking to go for the throat in whatever we do, be it music, lyrics or art work. Some will see it as a direct anti-Christian message, but it is not, that is only part of what the picture and title are communicating. The title is about how we have failed ourselves, and will continue to fail, unless we look to reach beyond what we have known as what it is that can shape us.”