By Keith Carman
Not exactly one of the most prolific—or internally functional/conciliatory—bands to spawn from the New York hardcore scene, Killing Time finally keep it together long enough to record a tertiary effort. If you’re keeping tabs, they formed over 20 years ago and have endured more “hiatuses” than they have consecutive years together, their last full-length The Method being released in 1997.
Regardless, the dramatics were entirely worthwhile. This 12-track affair is surprisingly progressive, unwittingly infusing a great deal of punk rock ‘n’ roll into their beastly Sick Of It All-influenced (as in, Three Steps Back feels like it could be a natural successor to Scratch The Surface) delivery. The majority of tracks blend a vocal styling similar to Discharge’s raspy uneasiness coupled with The Dukes Of Nothing’s two-packs-a-day grunt and hammering rhythms while musically Killing Time hasn’t lost any of their undulating, churning hardcore as evidenced on the upbeat passion and modest harmonies of “24,” an anthemic and inspiring tune. Similarly, “Mingus” revels in a combative pace and chugging guitars while “Lookout” is a bastion of chant-a-long verses and Zeke-worthy aggression.
Blasting out at under a half-hour yet never feeling rushed or lacking, Three Steps Back proves that even when as maladjusted as Killing Time appears, they’ve got enough shit together to make an impact where it counts. If more bands took this long to hone their craft, there might not be so much shitty music clogging up the world.