Killing Time - Three Steps Back

Well. 14 Years later, we have a new Killing Time. I wanted to put this in before the interview, so as to eliminate all bias. Here we go. Overall, this music kicks ass. That could be the review: plain and simple; direct and blunt; no frills - like a Killing Time album.

The songs are all under 2 min; no emo singing, no experimentation, no post-hc influence, no gimmicks, no leaps of faith. The fact that they are the original 4 plus one - solidifies this classic ensemble. (Anthony Comunale, vox; Carl Porcaro, gits; Anthony Drago, drums; Rich McCoughlin, gits; Chris Skowronski, bass)Responsible for the first Breakdown material, Raw Deal demo, and the Hall of Fame "Brightside" lp, this line-up has written music together for 25 years. And it comes across with a blistering slap as they synchronize seemlessly. The production holds the tough feel, while leaning towards a crisp sound that lends itself to each individual's actions and a cohesion that melds indistinctly. This lp is mixed so well. I can pick out the bass, which frequently deserves the spotlight. Nothing is done on those four strings by the numbers here. Decisions in writing and in mixing let the nuances perk up with flair. The guitars play well together. Often, we have a solid, focused riff; while simultaneously leaving space for the lead to play around and wander. Vocals are flawless. Not aged one bit. No stupid ass singing. Just a spoken, fierce delivery of throaty sage to explain what's fucked up with this world and the ugly ways in which people interact with each other.

To do the "for fans of" thing; in case you are new or haven't tuned into Killing Time in 20 years... First off, i think of the much younger, Philadelphia based
The Virus. The vocals are dead on and the music is the same. Anyway, since these dudes sparked this style, lets compare. Think Ag Front- LAJFA/One Voice. Murphy's Law fast spite and spunk mixed with Inhuman's stark stomp with a dash of Cro-Mags. True NYHC. Think Poison Idea - BVBO/FTD and The Pist. Maybe KYI hopped up on steroids and sarcasm. Maybe Bane and The Wretched Ones have a quickie in the men's room while MOD watches? Think when NRSV plays a 'catchy' song... i don't know. Did you get Colletti's "Loved & Hated' or the mighty Against the Grain? This is like just a step away from that. the perfect amounts of Terror mixed with Gorilla Biscuits. Anyway - if you like any of these bands, kneel and pay homage to Killing Time.

This is a true collaboration, all members are credited with music and lyrics; coupling up and writing solo. A true group effort.

This isn't "Brightside Pt II". But it isn't "The Method Pt II" either. This album would have felt like the natural, gradual step in between the two. There is a maturation in this album, but there are tons of "Brightside" moments. More than moments, this is actually pretty akin to "Brightside". There's no denying that these guys honed in on the 'method' or, er, sound, that they created. This album could have been recorded in '88. Rest In Pieces/AF/Breakdown/Killing Time feel, through and through. There are some metal parts, some rock parts, mostly punk parts; but they are all liberated by the heavy hardcore that these dudes originated. Killing Time has grown, but not changed.

welcome back.
thanks guys.

1. "Flight Plan" kicks right in with a straight 4/4 drum beat, quick riffing, and some screaming guitar. Anthony Comunale comes in with his voice in the same exact shape as any other KT output. the riff is heavy and fast. This is pure NYHC. No apologies. at 1:20, we get a vicious breakdown that rivals any band of kids that grew up on this shit. The lyrics are peppered with a refrain of "fuck them!". It is a phrase that is a flippant response to anyone that might degrade those of us that live a hardcore/punk lifestyle; eschewing all the benefits of productive responsible lifestyles. We get some pretty damn good benefits out of this life. Tangible, visceral ones that feed people's desires that they do not reflect on til they fuckin retire.

2. "Spaceheater" jumps right in with NYHC old-school flavor; a touch of late '80s but not too crossover. Some slow sludgy parts provide a nice kickboxing soundtrack in between the comfy riff that propels the fast parts. This is classic.

3. "24" jumps in with a quick riff that is laid with what is followed by a dissonant lead the elevates the tune. The drums pounds away with speed. This tune is a touch more punk. It has a bounce to it. This tune blazes by at 1:44, not a second wasted. The vocals bounce with the sound; and gang chants are added to bring that punk feel home. Amazing.

4. "Cropduster" continues on the hardcore punk trek. We get beaten with a pummeling, gritty beat and moments of the bass being jiggled at chaotic speeds. A clean riff carries the song through what we want; 2 quick verses and then a rolling breakdown with gang chants. It picks up and builds at the end to culminate into an exhausted exhale.

5. "Mingus" comes in with a punky-new school gallop that has me dancing in the mirror. i can see the kids running side to side and picking up change. A nice nod to the 2000-era bands that expanded on KT's sound. Every thing comes full circle, i guess. It has depth with the guitar lines. There is more going on in this song. Adding to a youth crew feel is a presence in the bass that grasps the listener. The lead guitar is allowed to go astray more and is featured. While, it is not something i always look for in my HC - it certainly does not detract.

6. "The Accident" a good mid-level stomp. the drums really push the bass, which is promoted in this mix. it diverges off the simplistic path and adds a level of groove to this joint. The vocals are fierce and contemplative. there is a catchiness to the main guitar line, especially in the chorus that will get you singing along. The bass lays this foundation well. The leads, again, add little squeals that will have Carl from ATHQ basking. "We've all been searching the wreckage" is chanted at the close and provides a nice coda.

7. "Rope A Dope" This tune leans more towards that punk hardcore feel. Not Bad Religion catchy, but Murphy's Law. All the instruments meet a nice middle ground. Each is allowed to shine and titillate in the mix , while they all complement and yield to each other. There are two parts that step back a touch - dying for a cavalry of sweaty bald guys to pick up change! and i will be right there. good shit.

8. "Inheritance" my first reaction to this was that has a splash of 'rock' in it. I mean, it's a hardcore song. And not like a Brookyn Biohazard/LOA groove, but just a little more rock than other tunes. Listening to it again and again, the parts in this have a down stroke feel to the riffing, a retarding effect, almost. it allows us to catch the riff and dance. Its good. it is a nice pause.

9. "Half Empty" No resting! Let's go! Speed picks right back up wit this one. and a chorus of chants ("Half Empty!") rest on a fierce gallop of drums and bass, as we forge a path of ash from the suckas that stood still. Boom! A solid breakdown in the middle lands expertly. Which then picks right back up to cruise throughout the rest of this strong song. Probably in the top 5 of the album.

10. "Lookout" yeah. you should. Pile on right away. Music and gang vocals paint a picture of the singer getting forgotten under like 50 kids on the edge of the stage. AC emerges from the crowd to growl over the bouncing, wiry riff. Drums concretely establish the standing beat, over which all of the instruments convene to add to the frenzy.

11. "Crouch" ..."don't be a pussy, boy!" yeah. Don't. Jump up and do your own thing. This tune crushes.

12. "AKB" Somehow they lifted a 1987 Anthrax stomp for this. it works. "Everyone's out to get me!" and "Leave me Alone" are the constant repetition of these lyrics. And the metal riffage adds to the paranoia. There is a quick, but crisp bulky breakdown in the middle. The song is harsh and tough. perfect.

Review by Hutch from Empty Hands blog
Label: Dead City Records
Year: 2010
Band's website