Choosing what to write about for this piece proved to be far more difficult than I had anticipated. I wanted to select a topic that I haven’t discussed previously, but I’ve already written about so many of my favorite hardcore bands/albums over the years—Systems Overload (Integrity), Into the Wire (Starkweather), Desperate Measures (Leeway), Mediums & Messages (Parallax); bands like Lash Out, Elements DEC, Cold as Life, Dead City, and so on.
In the end, rather than (re)write about a band or album that had a particularly significant impact on me, since I always prefer to bring attention to lesser-known “underdogs,” I decided to promote an excellent and underrated ’90s hardcore band that I don’t see mentioned very often: Time’s Expired, from Rhode Island.
Primarily active from 1992 – 1998, Time’s Expired’s brand of hip-hop-influenced metallic hardcore should certainly appeal to fans of early E.Town Concrete and the like. My first exposure to the group came from the song “Total Awareness,” featured on Over the Edge Compilation Vol. 1 (literally half of the four-minute track is an instrumental intro of midpaced mosh breaks—always a good sign). But I was certainly not listening to this gem of a compilation in 1993, when it was released. No, unfortunately, it was many years later when I was exposed to this collection and decided that I absolutely had to do some research and find more material from Time’s Expired.
This was before the massive crackdown on file-sharing sites like Megaupload, so I was able to download their self-titled 1994 cassette from a random blog with relative ease. And then, finally, at some point I located a strange online retailer selling mp3s of Time’s Expired’s lone 12-song full-length from 1996: Taciturnity. I can’t recall the name of the site, but let’s just say it was only slightly less sketchy than all of those Russian websites that illegally sell all sorts of obscure recordings from any number of artists. I had no other choice, so I rolled the dice and made the purchase. (Maybe there’s a small chance in hell that a portion of the money actually went to the band!? These days, the entire album is up for free on SoundCloud, as is a self-released EP from 2002 that I didn’t even know existed until I was preparing this write-up!)
Taciturnity was as great as I had hoped, opening strong with what has become one of my favorite Time’s Expired songs, “Remember My Name”:
It highlights all of their strengths: chunky rhythmic grooves (panned left/right to accentuate the interplay between the differing guitar parts), a few Fury of Five-esque harmonics, a quick divebomb or two, bouncy percussion, some really catchy arrangements, and a slick vocal flow that really hits the spot for me. The first time the chorus dropped, I was hooked…
“You may have won but believe me, it isn’t over ’til the next time you see me. I have contained the pain, and after this I promise you will remember my name…”
The vocal arrangements are to some degree more “advanced” (for lack of a better term) in their hip-hop influence than a lot of hardcore-oriented bands of this nature; while the lyrics vary from an at times tough guy angle, to personal hardships (which still come across as completely badass, check out “Cold“), or even “socially conscious” types of messages, as heard in “Chalklines“:
“‘Cause it’s reality, and it happens every day. Another child lost from a bullet went astray, and now the family has to live in endless grief. All because you had to fuckin’ carry a piece. And when I look at the endless list of innocent people that have died due to hollow tips it makes me sick. When I read the headlines, lead winds up in a body whom its death finds. And it will spread like an infection…”
They seem to have lacked the graphic design chops to present their material on a level it deserved, which may or may not have contributed to their underappreciated status over the years, but don’t judge a book by its cover, ’cause the tunes fuckin’ deliver.
Time’s Expired’s Discogs.com entry is incomplete, so for those interested, here’s a list of their recorded output:
- Demo CS (self-released, 1992)
- Over the Edge Compilation Vol. 1 compilation CD (Endless Fight Records, 1993)
- Time’s Expired CS (Trinity Records, 1994)
- Time’s Expired 7″ (Overdose Records, 1995)
- Respect Due compilation 7″ (Brick Records, 1995)
- Taciturnity CD (Serafim Records, 1996)
- The Elements CD EP (self-released, 2002)
I’m crossing my fingers that there will be at least a small handful of Killing the Legacy readers who are as excited to discover Time’s Expired as I was. I really see no reason why these guys shouldn’t be at least as known as comparable acts from this time period such as Second to None, etc. I mean, shit, Time’s Expired started in 1992, so they must have been one of the first hardcore bands that was so blatantly working with a rapping vocal style, right!? Maybe they were just a few years too far ahead of the game…