Judge at the Pipe Dragon, Buffalo NY, Spring 1988, Photo: Geoffrey Nicholson
The unpopular vote seems to be the one that I always go with, but that's fine with me. I'll go to my grave swearing up and down that the "New York Crew" 7" is better than "Bringin' It Down" for two reasons: "Fed Up" and "In My Way." Two of the angriest, hardest, in your face and urgent straight edge songs ever written.
To me, there is so much beauty in the fact that the "New York Crew" 7" was written as a reaction/response to all that was going on within the scene at the time. People accused Youth Of Today as being elitists and judgemental and slagged them for bringing straight edge to the masses, so Mike and Porcell delivered their rebuttal in the form of a project on 7" vinyl. "I'm stepping back and I'm gonna judge you, I hope that fucked up head can tell you what to do"... it's lyrics like those that still psych me up every time I put the Sharpie to the backside of my hand. Of course it's a tad over the top and a tad extreme, but I think that's part of the attraction.
No disrespect to "Bringin' It Down" in the least because that LP is nothing less than greatness, but in my mind, you just can't beat the urgency and rawness of "New York Crew". -Tim DCXX
To represent the majority opinion here, I'll offer a couple words about why I went with Bringin' It Down. Before that, allow me to acknowledge that the seven inch is tough to beat, no question. It's raw, urgent, and completely over the top...one of the first records I think of when the 1988 NYC SE scene comes to mind. It's two guys cranking out unpolished hardcore songs that hit you in the face like a hammer. It's heavy and fast and over before you know it, but you are almost knocked the fuck out in the process.
The LP, however, is like a long brutal storm (no pun intended) you have to buckle down and endure...and by the end of it you are worn down and destroyed from every angle. Gigantic Normandy Sound (which can actually get on my nerves every now and then)? Check. Excessive metal production? Check. Ripping fast parts? Check. Crushing mosh sections? Check. Finely tuned and machine-like playing from a full all-star cast? Check. Lyrics varying from straight edge disgust to lost love? Check. Sick layout and overall overall Revelation package? Check. It's just a winner on all counts to me.
I know many EP purists slag the metallic tone of the new direction JUDGE took here, the clean intro of "Like You," and some of the varied playing...but to me it creates just the perfect amount of dynamic that keeps the record from ever feeling long or stale. It's JUDGE in a mature, metallic form that pushed the band far beyond the original blueprint of the seven inch.
From the opening feedback of "Take Me Away" to the final notes of "Where It Went," there isn't a single weakness on this record as far as I'm concerned, and that's why I always place it higher than the epic debut EP.
"Stay Off The Tracks..." -Gordo DCXX