Unlocking The Truth’s back story is so compelling and unprecedented, it’d be a shame not to let it out of the bag right away: Three African American 14- and 15-year-old friends from Flatbush and Crown Heights, Brooklyn, they’ve been a thrash band for four years — initially a duo, before drummer Jarad Dawkins and guitarist/screamer Malcolm Brickhouse (whose surname inspires fond memories of The Commodores) convinced their pal Alec Atkins to take up the bass.

Growing up in a hotbed of hip-hop (a style of music they tend to dismiss as “wack”), they got converted to heavy metal via PlayStation games, anime soundtracks and wrestling matches. Self-proclaimed “black nerds” (according to a T-shirt Brickhouse’s been known to sport), they’re also inspired by Japanese manga and, apparently, religion — church is where Brickhouse first met Dawkins, who is said to precede all their gigs with a band prayer, and one of their best songs, “Other Side,” seems to concern the possibility of life after death.

They’ve played the Warped Tour, Bonnaroo, Coachella, SXSW, The Colbert Report, the Apollo Theater and Times Square, where a few years back they instigated a smoking viral YouTube buzz. They’ve opened for loud rock bands famous long before they were born: Guns N’ Roses, Marilyn Manson, Metallica, Motörhead and Queens of the Stone Age.

Unlocking the Truth’s acknowledged influences run the gamut of fifth-generation post-grunge, nü-metal and deathcore.

They signed a six-album, escalating-advance, 360-degree deal for $1.78 million with Sony, which had supposedly never hired a rock band so young, but they eventually had a lawyer help them escape the contract after frustrations about being marketed as Boondocks-style cartoon characters and needing to shift a quarter million units just to recoup the initial $60,000. All of this led to a documentary called Breaking a Monster, co-starring their manager Alan Sacks, whose resumé includes Welcome Back Kotter, the ‘80s skate movie Thrashin’, an early ‘90s kiddie TV show starring cowboy band Riders in the Sky, and several Jonas Brothers projects. The movie hits theaters just a week after Unlocking’s debut album Chaos— a record in limbo for way too long that they’re finally releasing on their own, via TuneCore.

Unlocking the Truth’s acknowledged influences run the gamut of fifth-generation post-grunge, nü-metal and deathcore, and *Chaos *was produced by Johnny K, who is best known for working with ensembles like Staind, Drowning Pool, Megadeth and Disturbed. In fact, the first concert Brickhouse’s mom took the boys to was supposedly Disturbed in 2009, when they were all still in single digits, age-wise. Their New York street performances were known for covers of “our favorite band Chelsea Grin,” Brickhouse’s highest *Guitar Hero *score was for Avenged Sevenfold’s “Bat Country,” and they name-drop Pennsylvania industrial goth corers Motionless In White an awful lot in interviews.

There’s no lack of tasty chords chugging, dooming, and wheedling to high heaven, too as well as tunes to grow on, which these kids will: If you think they kick now, just imagine what they’ll sound like by the time they graduate.

You can indeed hear all that stuff in their music — “Ravens” has the requisite screamo retching; “Take Control” ends the album, moving from a “Welcome to the Jungle”-ish intro to hopped-up rapcore jibber-jabber that blabbermouths back at school bullies, complete with Slipknot styled masks in the video. Brickhouse regularly switches into a roar mode the music demands, and he certainly gets screamotional a lot, telling us he’s losing his mind in one song then asking to be forgiven in the next.       

Still, maybe because his voice is changing or because it’s impossible for teenage headbangers not to sound like they’re having the time of their lives even while exploring their dark side, Chaos really does exude the fresh-faced sort of exuberance and freedom from cynicism that was overflowing yet rarely acknowledged in very early thrash (think Metallica’s first album from 1983, recorded when that band’s members were all more or less 20 years old) or speedy pre-thrash (Def Leppard’s 1980 debut, when they were around the same age). The “puppet masters” Brickhouse growls about in their evidently ex-girlfriend-inspired “Monster” seems an obvious Metallica allusion. You might also flash on long-forgotten kiddie punks like Odd Skull circa the ‘90s or Eyeball Skeleton circa the ‘00s. And heck, while you’re at it, maybe toss in black hard rockers like Bad Brains, Living Colour and Fishbone, whose “V.T.T.L.O.T.F.D.G.F.” might be a predecessor of Unlocking The Truth’s mysterious acronym “Faywb.”

There’s no lack of tasty chords chugging, dooming, and wheedling to high heaven, too as well as tunes to grow on, which these kids will: If you think they kick now, just imagine what they’ll sound like by the time they graduate.