Review Summary: I tried to look at the bright side, and trust me, there is one. TRUE NYC HARDCORE
The NYC hardcore scene is one the most consistent yet extremely underrated scenes in music. People will rank the Swedish death metal scene bands or discuss the Scandinavian black metal bands or the Bay Area thrash metal stuff, but you never hear people list the NYC hardcore bands. With ***ing awesome stuff like Cro-Mags, Bad Brains, Madball, Sick Of It All, Cokesnorter, Crumbsuckers, Agnostic Front, and, most famously, S.O.D., it's pretty hard not to rank these bands and their discography, or at least try to. In terms of overall bands, Bad Brains or Crumbsuckers are probably the best and most of the above bands have at least one album that is a 4/5 (and some a 4.5), but my overall favorite album from the scene is Killing Time's Brightside, which is surprisingly the most underrated of them all, despite its massive inspiration on the hardcore bands of 80's NYC.
Brightside is real hardcore punk, not that pussy punk *** that we see in media today. A Greenday or Blink 182 may dress like an anarchist and ***, but they most they'd do is draw a Sum 41 logo on a desk and then erase it before the teacher sees. They'd probably look at a grandma and joke "hey lets mug her" and then not do ***. Brightside is for the ***ers that would carve a Nails logo into the desk with a knife then rip the wood part from the desk and beat the *** outta the Greenday fan with it. Brightside is for the ***ers that would run over the old lady with the their bikes, go back again and run her over again, and then piss on the corpse because she looked like a republican. What I'm trying to say is Brightside is for real punks, real hardcore people that do hardcore things. Probably why it is so underrated: because only a few of those people exist!
Now I must disclaim that this album isn't like Nails or Wormrot, it isn't brutal or anything so don't go into it expecting to die of metalation of the eardrum, but I will still say that this album is still heavy as elephant balls. Damn, this is so ***ing heavy. This isn't just LOUD NOISE NOISE NOISE RAHHHH like what I may have incorrectly depicted as above, as Brightside actually incorporates a lot of thrash and mid-paced chugs into the mix. Although the album is still very punk/hardcore orientated, thrash metal is an undeniable influence on the albums overall sound, as evident in the title track and most of the other songs. This means pretty much the entire album is insanely catchy and very hard to not headbang your facial flesh off to. Although the pure insanity of true grind hardcore is awesome, the thrashy mid paced stuff adds a lot of texture and flavor to this delightful dish of AWESOME. Seriously, this is one giant collection of riffs that have been undiscovered by most of society. Most of the songs actually sound like pure thrash, but with hardcore song lengths and vocals, almost like lost tracks from Reign In Blood at times. Speaking of the vocals, they rule. Anthony Carmunale was apparently 18 at the time but he sounds like a 40-year-old pissed off Bronx taxi driver screaming his head off at the douche who missed the yellow light in front of him. Even when the lyrics aren't really that angry, he sure sounds pissed off, like they put George Bush in the studio and he was just going off at him the entire time during recording. Any normal imitator of his voice would be coughing up blood after a concert, but I bet he just sounds like that everyday when he sees another 'punk' abortion wearing a spiked belt and a pink My Chemical Romance shirt.
Another thing I should mention is the sound quality; for hardcore punk in the 80's, it's amazing. Good sound quality is something most hardcore albums have been unfortunate to have. Some of the best hardcore albums ever, like Cro Mag's Age Of Quarrels or Bad Brains's self titled or most of Black Flag, sound like they were recorded by Varg Vikernes with a walkie talkie in a ***ty Brooklyn apartment room that can barely fit the drumset. Hell, I think most bands listed "Static" as the official 5th member. Meanwhile on Brightside, every note can be heard clearly, every solo is at the front, every word can be coherently understood. In this genre, this sorta thing is kinda a novelty, and I'm sure a lot of people really enjoy the Myrimin sound on most hardcore for the 'broodle' factor but you've gotta marvel at how pristine Brightside sounds. It was apparently recorded in a kitchen in Rhode Island, making the novelty even more great. I'm surprised this fact alone hasn't made Brightside more accessible to a wider audience, as this album, despite being heavy and angry as hell, is actually easy to listen too, which may sound like a paradox. A lot of people that would try to enter hardcore punk or grindcore may be drawn away by the constant RAHHKILLTJTGJSFOJNSIFDARRR but I can't imagine a lot of people turning off Brightside until the end of the 23 minute long ride unless they just despise metal overall. Brightside contains the same energy, anger, and anti-conformistness that most other hardcore or grind bands do, but Brightside also has one hell of a clean sound and a lot of catchy riffs that are easier to digest and process, making the album more memorable.
I'll be honest and say that I first heard these guys in Grand Theft Auto 4 on the metal radio station. The song "Tell Tale" is in the game and it's hard to not just instantly floor your car into a crowded sidewalk while blasting it, which is always a big sign that you're listening to some good hardcore ***. Because of this, Killing Time only released one album in the prime of the NYC punk scene and even though they eventually released a sophomore effort, a damn good one at that, it was nearly a decade later after the scene had fissled out. Why? These guys were apparently one of the kings of the scene and and most NYC hardcore acts, along with a large number of hardcore bands outside of NYC, list Killing Time as one of their biggest influences. With only one album (at the time) on Killing Time's resume, that fact should speak for itself. If you are an anarchist or just wanna jam the *** out to some good heavy ***, then YouTube Brightside you dumbass and kiss your neck goodbye...that or just beat up a scenecore miscarriage.