Record Reviews
When The Revolution Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful (Phratry 2011)

“...drops a sonic a-bomb on capitalism… The dynamic shifts between sonic discord and fractured melodies, as the songs pour out in monolithic emotional cascades and USOT’s unfiltered passion bears down, sometimes threatening to break the listener.”


“...leads their ongoing saga of revolution into dark new territory. It’s an important statement about the relationship between revolution and personal transformation, released at just the right moment for Wisconsin. But the music is what brings this message into gory, horrifying color.”


“...working class noise rock from the protest ravaged state of Wisconsin. This is music born of revolution and rebellion; violating the sanctity of Old Money and ‘play-it-safe’ rock music. For Fans Of: Young Widows, Melvins, Helms Alee, Black Elk, Akimbo and Oxbow”

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“You’d have to beat Unwound up, then train them to box to get the sound tough enough. ...superlative dissonant complex post-hardcore/Math/Sludge/skronk, on par with Quicksand.”

“I imagine in the beginning when The United Sons of Toil came together they weren’t such an angry group of guys. Jamming in the spirit of Touch & Go/AmRep and just embracing loud rock in general. But as time passed something, maybe an overall distrust with the government or the political weather in Wisconsin, gradually drove the band to the point where they are today with their third album When the Revolution Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful. A furious aggression of political statements that are brought forth in the manner of broken and occasional melodic noise along with Russell Hall’s wild range of vocals. Granted, there were traces of such action amongst the groups last album, however it was nowhere close to being this direct in it’s theme and yet probably not nearly as diverse musically as When the Revolution… turns out to be. Songs here ride waves of fervor that happen upon elements of punk/noise/sludge what have you. Like I mentioned, a far cry from the bands past. Really enjoy the packaging for this one as well, as it comes on a limited edition red vinyl along with a 10-plus page booklet giving a some background and in depth looks to the the individual songs. Pretty rad.”


“Sounding like an AmRep release, this is all angular rhythms and riffs… The political lyrics sit wonderfully over the top of the harsh melodies and feedback that are interwoven in with technical stop starts&#151think a heavy Unwound with Shellac song arrangements. The powerful guitar barrage has hints of sludge flying around but never descends into your standard hardcore sameness.”


“The record’s politics all but overshadow the musical work, with band members always building a heavy rhythmic framework for the vocals. Everything rumbles under rough production, maintaining the genre’s Dischord-inspired D.I.Y work ethic. The loose song structure builds and releases tension under a heavy drone, forever pissed-off at the powers that be.”


“The United Sons Of Toil, whose excellent When The Revolution Comes, Everything Will Be Beautiful is still crushing, has been placed on the terrorism watch list by the aptly named Terrorism Watch blog. Perhaps putting the blog’s Twitter account on the “I don’t know how to spell terrorism” watch list would be the best response.”
—ONION AV CLUB (March 14, 2011)


“They incorporate a lot of post-rock and very light sludge into their music—almost similar to bands along the lines of Neurosis and Pelican but going above and beyond with a bit of post-punk thrown in.”


“This is what happens when 90s midwest-emo-loving kids grow up, get angry and discover feedback and distortion.”


“MARVELLOUS muscular post-hardcore sound no one should skip at any cost. Badass boys/kickass title indeed. GET THIS REC’ guys. Post-metal, Post-hardcore, Math-core influence, Post-rock [UNWOUND FANS]”


“The songs are driving and anxious, with harsh melodies and noisy splashes of feedback interspersed between technical start-stops. If you were to dig through the record collection of the United Sons of Toil it would probably feature Jawbox and Fugazi prominently, with some representation from Big Black, Mclusky and the Kill Rock Stars catalogue. ...some pretty killer off-the-beaten-path punk rock. ...introducing their own noisy, stressed-out take on math rock conventions.”


“...a more aggressive Unwound, giving a sort of mathy post-punk vibe with some hints of chaos thanks to a seemingly heavy influence from the Touch and Go noise-rock movement. Guitarist Russell Hall wields distortion like Neil Young gone post-hardcore.”


“Their music is a mix of math rock, noise rock and post-hardcore. They remind me of bands such as Fugazi, Rites of Spring, Neurosis and Unwound. There are a lot of good moments in their music. Their anger is expressed with some awesome guitar riffs and violent drums. The opener “Alcoholism in the Former Soviet Republics” and “The Concept of the Urban Guerrilla” (my personal favourite song) are songs that noise rock and post-hardcore / post-metal fans will really appreciate. But there are some other interesting moments in this album—the doom metal introduction in “Operation Cast Lead”, the aggressive guitar riffs and the screaming vocals on “The Shining Death”, the post-punk / post-hardcore ending song “State-Sponsored Terrorism”. To sum up, When the Revolution Comes, Everything Will be Beautiful is an album that combines very interesting and mature political opinion with great heavy rock music. I recommend this album to every fan of the genres mentioned above even if they haven’t this revolutionary feeling that these guys have.”


“...stemming together various aspects of the past mid-western math-rock elite and the fleshed out noise-rock style of Unwound.”


“Explosive, violent and for the most part terrifically precise… This tough, neo-noise rock harks back to a superannuated Rust Belt world of drop forges and blast furnaces with every angry, chopping chord and sharp, pile-driving beat. ...a fascination with the cerebral aggression of old-school noise stars like Big Black and Tar is obvious, but there’s also more than a hint of breathless ’80s hardcore here. Looking for a musical analog of your favorite Howard Zinn tome? This is it.”


“...levels of disdain and diligence that the end result comes out as a battle-hardened battering ram to the ears that caresses and excites as much as it pummels”


“...hint[s] at elements of 90’s Amrep/Touch and Go noise rock… Fugazi styled discordance… possibly Louisville KY post hardcore”


“When a record’s liner notes include a manifesto and outline of the central story of its lyrics, it would normally be easy to go into the listening process with a negative bias about how pretentious the band is going to be. Not only is When The Revolution Comes void of any pretense, but it is full of noisy, heavy rock that is surprisingly original—I guess it better be when you name your band The United Sons of Toil and sing about how fucked up society is.”


“I really don’t have a lot of overtly politically themed bands in my book. This is simply because of the fact that thus far I didn’t find any such band to be musically pleasing as much as the very idea of what a certain band wants to achieve is interesting. Namely, the majority of politically inspired bands I came across are so dedicated to simply putting their message out in any way they can and in that process the music and the final product end up being extremely low quality, a strong message being transmitted via weak transistor. The United Sons of Toil managed to beat this fact, having an impulsive and powerful ideology entwined with superb melodies and an amazing playing style to back it up. First of all, their recordings are extremely clean and top notch, paving a solid road on which you can enjoy every aspect of both words and tunes. Second, despite the fact that they are rooted in math rock and hardcore, a lot of the times you can feel how much the band members actually like to play with the sound they create, not just being trapped in close quarters. Some of their songs are quite long, with epic buildups and shattering climaxes, taking on several traits from post metal/post rock genres. Other times however, their tracks can be shorter, more aggressive and rushing, the band manipulating with noise and spasm like start stop rhythms.”



Personal Revolution: An Interview With United Sons of Toil

by Alexander Billet / May 20th, 2011

“The aural assault delivered by United Sons of Toil is noise in the true sense—not just a series of dissonant sounds, but sounds that so willfully defy categorization that it’s hard to not peg them as subversive. Any notion of conventional rock structure is promptly thrown into the wood-chipper by this trio&#59 imagine Fugazi at their absolute heaviest blended with a pre-breakup Swans, and you’ve got United Sons of Toil. It’s the kind of music that shakes us alienated drones out of our inertia and sends the beautiful privileged few into conniptions. It’s no surprise then that all three members of the Madison, Wisconsin group are themselves radicals. Their third album, When The Revolution Comes Everything Will Be Beautiful (Phratry Records) was released right on the heels of the massive labor rebellion that shook their hometown—almost as if history itself is trying to tell us something. ...” (follow link below for full interview)

Interviews - United Sons of Toil
By Jay Snyder / February 2, 2011

“The band is as heavy, pained, and ungodly loud akin to pounding thundermakers such as Unsane, Hammerhead, and 90’s era Neurosis, but temper their melodies with the layered, multi-faceted scrape of your Shiners, and Fugazis. ...With a new record in the can, and a fresh set of hands manning the skins, it seems that 2011 is poised to be a landmark year for TUSOT. The Hellride Q & A department drops in with guitarist/vocalist Russell Hall for all of the dirty digs!” (follow link below for full interview)