Music Review: Unlocking The Truth

Today is the day I first heard about Unlocking The Truth. If you haven’t heard about them, give it a minute, because they’re going viral all over the place. If you don’t want to wait, here’s what you need to know:

-There’s three of them.
-They play metal.
-They’re 12 years old.

And they’re good. They’re very good. They’re extremely talented young men who quite obviously want to rock your face off. And they do a good job of it. If you do a Youtube search, you’ll discover what I did. A long list of videos of them performing, whether at festivals, or on Time’s Square as people pass by and drop some change into their bucket, or on TV shows. They’re making a name for themselves, and they should. Because in this country, if there’s one thing we love, it’s kids with musical talent.

What’s sad is, not every kid in this country has that talent, or one like it that should be showcased. We celebrate it because it’s not the norm when it should be, at least in my humble opinion. So we celebrate them for what they’ve accomplished, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t, but it’s sad because of why we do.

So this morning as I surfed Youtube and watched more than a few of their videos, this is what I noticed.

For one, let’s be honest, they’re twelve. They haven’t lived yet. They have no life experiences yet. Metal is a serious genre of music, and in order to be taken seriously in it, you’ve got to be serious. I think these kids are going to be huge one day, and by god I hope they are. I hope they can succeed in a world where everyone gets a hit and is forgotten the next day. Because as soon as they’re of age and they’ve made their millions off their hit single, there’s going to be another group of kids, all eleven this time, who are going to be in the spot light.

Because of their age, they’ve got a lot of growing to do. Not just physically and mentally, but as musicians. While they’re extremely talented for their age, they naturally need to work on some things.

For starters, and so far as I can tell after listening to three of their songs and a cover of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets, they don’t sing at all. They’re an instrumental band. And that’s completely fine, but if they’re going to make it as an instrumental band they’re going to have to write fuller instrumentals. Right now their songs sound like there’s supposed to be singing going on. They have their verses and their choruses, their bridges, and even a solo here and there. That’s great, if you got some singing to do, but for an instrumental, it isn’t enough. It needs more depth. For an all instrumental band, it really isn’t enough.

Here’s where the problem comes in. If they’re not going to have a singer, then they’re going to have to do better. Because as they stand now, they’re a novelty act. Of those three songs I listened to, I’m assuming they were all originals, I only finished one. Because after a minute of listening to them, you’ve heard everything. And after listening to three songs (and that cover), I heard all I wanted to hear. I’m not going to want to listen to an album of that.

I’m not trying to hate on them, because I’m in love with them. I wish I could play like that at twelve. Hell, I wish I could play like that now. These kids are borderline prodigies. I was just a kid who was taught how to play a few instruments, and not really well, because I lacked a drive to play better.

I also realize they’re only twelve and they’re damn good for twelve. But the music business is a serious business, so I’m taking them seriously, so I have to say what needs to be said. They’re not ready for the big time.

Hell, go watch the video where they’re interviewed by Kamau from the TV show Totally Biased, and he asks them if they want to play on his TV show. They’re not excited. In fact, they show no emotion at all. The singer just responds with, “We’d like to do that.” BUT THEN, he asks them who their influences are and they mention Living Colour, as well as a couple others. Kamau brings out fucking Vernon Reid from Living Colour to meet them AND… they just look at him, maybe a smile but no real excitement.

That’s where they’re at mentally. They have no idea what’s going on. They’re fucking twelve. They’re not ready for the music business, nor are they ready for METAL. They have Vernon Reid in their basement and they can pick his brain and talk the business… he wrote one of the baddest and heaviest guitar riffs in rock history, and they’re all just sitting there, not giving a shit. And they should because this is serious shit.

Why do I say all of this? Why does it matter? Because they’ve been signed by Sony for $1.7 million. Or $1.9 million, depending on where you get your story from. So yeah, this is serious shit.

Here’s my main concern for the boys. I don’t know where they’re getting help from, as far as direction or leadership. I don’t know what their influences are, and as of right now I don’t know what direction they want to go in, or if they have even thought that far ahead. I mean, they’re twelve. I think right now they just want to play, show off a bit, and have fun. More power to them. But since they’ve signed that contract, I’m thinking maybe they’re wanting to take a serious stab at this, and this can be awesome, or it can be terrible.

Sony can take them under their wing and help them grow. They can get them some leadership and direction from people in the industry. They can help them evolve into something great. I actually have no doubt in my mind that that is what is going to happen.

However, HOWEVER, what happens then? Are we going to get a Sony product? Are they going to be left to evolve into what they’re supposed to evolve into? They’re now not going to grow into the musicians they could become, and at twelve years old they’re already growing into fine musicians. Their path was already lined with gold. They could have evolved into something amazing.

Now we’ll never know. They’re going to grow up under Sony’s wing, and they still might turn out to be amazing. Or they could just be another radio band, and that will be, of course, thanks to Sony. And if that’s the case, if that’s what happens, I feel bad for them. Because they won’t be doing what they should be doing, they’ll be doing what Sony taught them.

And then we’ll never know. We’ll never get to hear their greatness, of what should have been.

I’m sad to see that at this stage of their musical knowledge and ability they’ve already got a record deal. They’re undeserving of one right now. To me, all I see is a desperate company trying to get the next big thing before anybody else does, because they’re desperate for something great, because they have nothing great. And they see some green young men who they can warp and mold and use as puppets.

Unlocking The Truth should be left to blossom on their own. To grow into their future, not to be formed into their future by a company to make that company a buck. It’s unfair to the band.

Lastly, they’re only in the eighth grade. They haven’t hit high school yet. Now they got millions of dollars and a record deal. So much for their education. I hope they don’t throw that out, because they’re going to need all of the life experiences they can get. That’s how you write better songs.

I’ll keep my fingers crossed and I hope the best for them. I just fear the worst.

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