The United Sons of Toil's latest release leads their ongoing saga of revolution into dark new territory. The liner notes tell one part of this tale about the plight of the hopeless and oppressed. "Pushed to the brink by corruption and squalid, inequitable conditions, they resort to violence," the Madison band relates. "As they struggle, they convince themselves that their violence is justified."
But the music is what brings this message into gory, horrifying color. Sonic nods to Rage Against the Machine and MC5-inspired guitar riffs make the album boil.
The brutal, metal-tinged vocals of album opener "Alcoholism in the Former Soviet Republics" summon images of peasants screaming in the streets, starved for food and answers from their government. The band writhes in disbelief on "The Concept of the Urban Guerrilla," blending garage with grunge as cymbals crash and guitars crunch. "Sword of Damocles" injects the album with a freaky shot of electro energy.
Then, all hell breaks loose on "Operation Cast Lead," with jagged guitar chords, thunderous bass, and drum smashing capable of causing puncture wounds. Album closer "State-Sponsored Terrorism" takes the sweet vitriol of songs like Modest Mouse's "Convenient Parking" and bashes it into submission with über-precise rhythms, decrying the sad state of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
This isn't just a great local album. It's an important statement about the relationship between revolution and personal transformation, released at just the right moment for Wisconsin.