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Brick by Brick – Dismal Existence Award winner

Brick by Brick
Dismal Existence
by Gary Hernandez at 06 March 2022, 10:02 PM

BRICK BY BRICK has a history as big and mean as the streets they hail from. Formed in 2004 they have at least six studio albums under their belt, not counting “Dismal Existence” which dropped on February 18, 2022 on Upstate Records. This Metal/Hardcore foursome gives exactly zero fucks about what you or I think of them. It’s this attitude, plus their considerable talent, that make BRICK BY BRICK a band to follow and “Dismal Existence” an album to buy.

The massive 12-track album (full runtime of 40 minutes, including cover and remix tracks) kicks down the door with “Evil Remains” featuring Chuck Billy (TESTAMENT).Thematically, this song picks up where TESTAMENT’s 2008 salvo, “The Evil has Landed,” left off. What follows is an unapologetic rampage of ruthless Hardcore. If you need trigger warnings for any of your music, you should probably leave this album alone. I mean, listen: After two long years of hearing people piss and moan about being victimized by COVID and various perceived social injustices, it’s refreshing to hear a band strike out with utter conviction and viscera. This album isn’t about innovation and expanding musical boundaries, it's not about cleansing your soul and finding peace with your inner self, it’s about retrenching in brutal basics—brick by brick.

Standout tracks? Just pick up a fist full of rocks and throw ‘em. You’re bound to hit one. Every track on this album completely kills from “Full of Hell” that could have easily stood as the title track, to “Whiskey is the Truth” with its unhinged solo, to “The Hunted” with its hilarious video, to the vehement “Liar, Deceiver” that spits riffs like busted teeth, and even to the inconvenient truths of “Just Look Around” (SICK OF IT ALL). Out of them all, my favorite has to be “From my Eyes” – a crushing indictment against the empty promises of religion. “If Jesus saves / Then he should have saved himself.” (Okay, maybe a reiteration of JETHRO TULL’s “Hymn 43,” but still legit). If this track doesn’t get you moving, you better call Jesus 'cause you just might be dead.

Heads up: This album will murder your speakers—tower, headphones, or vehicular—so adjust your volumes before dropping the needle. The db needles bury deeper into the red than your ex’s bank account. If your thing is Thrash, Hardcore, Death—shit, just about any extreme metal—you’ll appreciate the sheer intensity of “Dismal Existence.” The lyrics are unsophisticated, the riffs unrelenting, the impact uncompromising. A cure for the ages.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1.  Evil Remains ft. Chuck Billy (Testament)
2.  Infiltrate
3.  Full of Hell
4.  From My Eyes
5.  The Hunted
6.  Can't Be Broken
7.  Whiskey Is The Truth
8.  Loyalty To The Grave
9.  Liar, Deceiver
10.  Tearing Down
11.  Just Look Around (Sick Of It All cover)
12.  JLA Remix ft, Lord Willin
Mike Valente – Guitars
Andy Parsons – Bass
Ray Mazzola – Vocals
James Muller – Drums
Record Label: Upstate Records


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Edited 23 March 2023

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