Judge – “Bringin’ It Down”


The making of Judge’s “Bringin’ It Down”

released: 1989

label: Revelation


Upon finding out the next album our vaunted Hall of Fame was going to open its pearly gates to was slated to be Judge’s Bringin’ It Down, an anticipatory buzz broke out amongst the extreme music luminaries hanging around the Decibel table at the most recent Maryland Deathfest. Considering the congratulatory smiles and copious pats on the back, you’d think our Editor-in-Chief had just become a first-time father, with Pig Destroyer’s Blake Harrison summing up the joyous mood in a single well-worn adjective: “Awesome!” However, we realize that for most of you, Judge’s only full-length might be a tough sell. For one, it’s not a metal album. While the New York band made use of guitarist John “Porcell” Porcelly and bassist Matt Pincus’ most demonic tones thus far, churning tempos anchored by drummer Sam Siegler and the screaming bellow of one Mike “Judge” Ferraro, the rest of Bringin’ It Down pointed to clean and positive living by clean and positive hardcore kids. And Judge pointed hard.

The quartet found themselves as the one of the last bastions of the New York straight-edge hardcore scene come the conclusion of the ’80s. The filth, debauchery, alcohol, dope, guns and fucking in the streets that has nudged along so many extreme music recordings just wasn’t there. Judge stood tall in the face of changing times while helping to transform the musical landscape around them. Porcell, Ferraro, Siegler and Pincus may have had a list of priors that screamed “mile-wide X’s on the backs of your hands” (Youth of Today, Death Before Dishonor, Bold, Side by Side, Project X, Gorilla Biscuits, Young Republicans, Violent Children, Schism Records/fanzine, etc.), but even as they remained true to the edge, Bringin’ It Down moved towards a more sinister vibe and further promoted the nascent collision of metal and hardcore, while setting the stage for the likes of Integrity, Ringworm and Starkweather. This, in spite of—or maybe because of—having to re-record the album after a sub-par session at Chinatown’s infamous Chung King Studios. Not bad for a band that was originally designed to be a one-off for Ferraro’s frustration with the “Edge ’til 21 Crowd.” Harrison may have been about 5,500 words short in his summary, but yeah, “Awesome!” (Huge thanks to Joseph Pattisall for his help with the Mike “Judge” Ferraro transcription.)
—Kevin Stewart-Panko

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