Canadian punk rock is just ridiculously popular at the moment and for good reason - it's ridiculously good! Toronto based band Brutal Youth have been flying the flag for Canadian hardcore music since 2010 and last year they released what is arguably their best album to date in Sanguine. Sanguine finally had its European release thanks to Gunner Records recently so it only seemed right to give it another listen.
Before I even started listening to the album I noted that Sanguine contains fourteen songs but is only twenty-three minutes long. In the hardcore punk rock tradition, the songs are short and sweet - in fact only one song goes over two minutes. That song, titled The King, actually happens to be my favourite song on Sanguine. Straying slightly away from the angrier, hardcore sound The King has a much more chilled out vibe, taking its time to progress rather than charging through the song.
The album is split into four parts with the songs I. Denial, II. Anger, III. Bargaining and IV. Depression working as beginnings of each section of the album. I found this to be a really interesting approach to tracklisting. Sanguine takes you on a bit of an emotional journey that hopefully makes you feel better when it quickly spits you out of the end of the ride.
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of seeing Brutal Youth live at Manchester Punk Festival. Playing in the tiny Zombie Shack they managed to get an early evening crowd going nuts by playing with a ferocious energy. That ferocious energy works almost as well on the recorded version of Sanguine. Sitting and listening to the record whilst I try and write this makes trying to writing incredibly difficult, as I just want to get up and start a one man mosh pit in my living room. I'll refrain though as I like the stuff in my living room and don't want to break anything… or myself.
I'm not the biggest fan of hardcore personally but I absolutely adore Brutal Youth. They manage to tread that fine line between aggression and melodic brilliantly. It's angry enough to get a listener extremely worked up and lose their poop but there's also enough melody and hooks to create some excellent earworms. Some of these tracks you'll be singing at the top of your voice between going crazy. If I'm going to listen to some hardcore punk rock then this is exactly what I want.
I don't know why exactly it took so long for Sanguine to get a proper European release but it's well worth the wait. Brutal Youth are one of those bands who are making a big impression throughout the punk rock world. I imagine that it won't be long until they are playing massive shows and festivals throughout North America, the UK & Europe - and the rest of the world. I feel like Sanguine is where that future world domination begins.
Stream and download Sanguine here: https://brutalyouth.bandcamp.com/
Like Brutal Youth here: https://www.facebook.com/brutalyouth/
This review was written by Colin Clark.