Rock and roll sprang directly from the blues and gospel roots of African-Americans. Ike Turner. Chuck Berry. Little Richard. Metalcore, as far as anyone knows, did not. And yet this raucous admixture of hardcore punk and heavy metal inspired the East Flatbush, Brooklyn power trio Unlocking the Truth to take up their instruments and make their own mark on the subgenre. Yes, members Malcolm Brickhouse (guitar), Jarad Dawkins (drums) and Alec Atkins (bass)—currently rehearsing for their borough’s annual Afropunk Fest—are Black.
Depending on your views on post-racial America, this may not be so surprising in 2013. So try this on: Brickhouse, Dawkins and Atkins are all entering the seventh grade, and are the thrashingest 11-year-old metalcore band you’ll ever meet.
“I started playing when I was about 5 or 6, because my mom’s friend told her to get me a guitar,” Malcolm says from the rehearsal space of a parent’s basement. (Sporting an Afro the size of The Boondocks’ Huey Freeman, he’s currently wearing a cast on his arm, dislocated doing monkey-bar backflips at day camp.) “At the time, she was trying to see what my different talents were. She tried me out for piano but it didn’t work, and then she tried me out for guitar. So that’s what I’m playing now.” “I’m waiting to get drum lessons from Steve Jordan,” says Jarad Dawkins. The John Mayer Trio drummer has recently taken Jarad under his wing. “Other than that, I’m just working from home with my electric drum kit to make songs better.” Unlocking the Truth is almost done with their second full-length collection of original songs, inspired per usual by the likes of Slipknot and Metallica, and written by the tweeners themselves.