Love the cover, but that guy looking into my soul is bugging me. What do you expect to find, you mysterious dude in red? And why is your hand inside your pockets?
The United Sons of Toil are an anarchic, dissonant band that have produced an equally loud and raucous, math core heavy album in the form of When the revolution comes, everything will be beautiful. 9 tracks, each one politically charged, but not in the way of indicting a party or a certain political belief, more about the dynamics between that strange, self-destructing symbyote : government and the people.
Let’s say this album made me think of Lope de Vega‘s Fuenteovejuna. If you need a quick moment for the reference, here it is.
Between the harsh lyrics (“You’re writing stories for freedom fighters / But you don’t really think it’s justice”) there’s a lot, and I do stress a lot of heavy instrumental rock, which sequesters the almost bite sized messages. Yes, the music is quite riff-ey and pleasing to the ones wanting a hard atmosphere, but the lyrics (which are mostly shouted in staccato fashion – think an angrier Page Hamilton) are the punchiest bit here. Love this bit in ‘The shining path’ that says “Whose anger did you voice? And did you walk away? / And did you feel you want to rule the world?” I can think of a thousand people that pretend to be Che Guevara behind a keyboard, but don’t know who he really was or what he stood for.
Wait, music. This is an album review. Have I mentioned it’s slightly lo-fi, with some math core madness? ‘Alcoholism in the former Soviet Republics’ is a smashing way to open the album, showing the blade is not rusty and it might be heading your way. ‘The concept of the Urban Guerilla’ lashes back and forth, like a stormy sea. ‘Sword of Damocles’ starts with a keyboard/synth doing an ambient drone, laying a red carpet for The United Sons of Toil to rock and freak out. It genre hops deftly, with an instrumental ending going for that post rock feeling of sadness and hopelessness that usually comes after you’ve reached a cathartic moment (a shouting match, a bonfire of things you don’t want to ever see again…). ‘Sword of Damocles’ is my fave of the album. A hard choice, as the bass heavy bits of ‘State sponsored terrorism’ are an excellent moment too. I have mentioned the lyrics are succinct? “One little thing — you’re not alone / One fucking thing — you’re not alone / The sand flows black.”
Two things will be grafted in your head when this album finishes, and they are not related to the rather excellent music (‘Operation cast lead’, you’re groovy as fuck). First of all, is the title of When the revolution comes, everything will be beautiful a promise or a taunt? Let’s remember how the Mexican revolution fucked up things (out of the frying pan and all that) more than they already were. Many a politician offers, nay, dangles the carrot of change. Is it for real? Well, that’s when the second thing embeds in your head and it’s something the band clearly states in their Bandcamp and I agree entirely with this: “Fundamental societal change can emerge only through radical individual change.”
In a nutshell: change starts from you. Will you let it go supernova or let it whimper and die? The Ballot or The Bullet? Your choice.
Words: Samuel J. Valdés López