Who has never seen the iconic (OK, iconic in the hardcore punk scene) crossed hammers logo (that shaped an “X” ) of the band Judge?
Judge ultimately proved to be a short lived musical unit that produced just one album Bringin’ It Down (discounting the very limited release of Chung King Can Suck It which in it of itself has attained a legendary status amongst vinyl collectors of the Revelation and hardcore punk persuasion) while still making an impact on the hardcore punk scene that is still felt today, and while I could go into the sordid history of this landmark record, the idea of retreading ground that has been more extensively covered is silly (go look for a more detailed account because it is interesting when looking at the development of the band); but regardless of that legendary situation, Judge follow up their equally impressive debut EP (New York Crew) that was originally released on Schism with an album that impacted the hardcore scene like an asteroid strike that triggers an extinction event.
Judge takes a much more different approach than that of their peers on Bringin’ It Down as the album is a much heavier and “tough” sounding attack in terms of both music and in the lyric writing approach, and this combined with the vocals of Mike “Judge” showcase a more raw and in your face version of the expression of the straight edge “philosophy”; but Bringin’ It Down” is really just a more real and heart felt band when looked at through the various “Youth Crew” posing that was going on around the time period, and Judge was like a kick in the ass to the scene when it needed it while at the same time the band seemed to become a soundtrack for many people’s violence and aggression at the same time. There is not a single dud among the nine songs presented on this album as the band moves from higher speed blistering hardcore (heard in songs like “Hear Me” and the thrash of “Take Me Away” and the title track) and the to a slower paced crush (best exemplified in the heavy and brooding crunch of “After The Storm” and the paean to lost innocence and scene “brotherhood” that is “Where It Went” ) to the more metal styled guitars (heard in “Like You” and the solo of “Where It Went”).
I am not sure that my expressing how much Bringin’ It Down has affected me over the years and is easily my favorite of the early Revelation releases, and Judge is the band that I still go back to when I am most pissed off because it is simply and exemplary album of angry, tough hardcore; but I am not the only one as you can hear echoes of their legacy through bands like Integrity and any band that has some metallic influence mixed in with their hardcore punk, and all of these factors show why this album is so revered and pointed to as a classic of the genre and scene.
9.5 / 10
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