Crucial Records #10 : Turning Point – Its Always Darkest … Before The Dawn

By Tieuma

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Another great record that carries a passed out name. Even though I never met nor knew Skip, but I got to say that TURNING POINT, GODSPEED and the other bands that he sung in are huge influences for me, and for this reason, I want to dedicate this issue to his memory.

 It was hard to pick something from their discography, their sound evolved a lot in a short period of time, and each record has something special. I even considered reviewing the discography released on Jade Tree to get through everything this band has brought to me, and obviously, as they helped shaping the 90’s hardcore sound.

But I’m still skeptical about that BULLDOZE review I did, and the point of those reviews are not to speak about how a band was crucial, but which of their records struck me the most, and in a sens of coherence, I finally picked up this LP. One of the first argument is that it was released on New Age Records, no need to extend myself on this point, but it’s already meaningful and one day, maybe you’ll see an article about New Age Records here or somewhere else.

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Indeed, it goes deeper than just a label on this case. Being the one and only LP of the band it had to be a killer record, following a 7″ many people acclaimed, they couldn’t deliver a disappointing performance. You have also to consider the period it was put out. YOUTH OF TODAY released Disengage, JUDGE released There Will Be Quiet… and BURN their Self-Titled. All three EP, all three huge records from the New York area, that could have easily shadowed the effort of TURNING POINT, especially in a type of hardcore that was already seeing its limits.

But as I said in the intro, it’s a band that evolved on every release, on every side. And this evolution served them well. If they kept the raging part of punk, the straight forward feeling and also jumped a bit on the Metal pool, with the guitar licks, what marks their sound is emotion, without a doubt.

Not to say that the other bands I mentioned didn’t share emotions, but the way TURNING POINT did it was kind of unique at that time, and a lot of bands today how them their riffs, the closest example I got might be GUIDANCE from the UK, who probably took their name from the song out of this LP. It’s the kind of riffs that are heavy but strike me right in the heart, and probably struck other people at that time.

Because some kids in the nineties loved moshing stupidly while others were amazed by the DC scene and the revolution summer. Well, some others decided to mix the two. And I think it was some risky business. How kitch can it goes when you do that kind of stuff ? Many bands showed us it could become ugly when misused. But Jay Laughlin showed us how you had to do it. And even went on with GODSPEED, we’re not talking about a rookie then.

When I told you about a declining genre, Youth Crew was competing with the upcoming Metalcore wave, and many bands started sounding the same all around, it became somehow boring for some people until it’s first revival in 95. But TURNING POINT still had the Youth Crew attitude while taking a huge step forward, and if I still consider them to take part of this part of sound, I think bands like GRIP or even SILENT MAJORITY owes a lot to this LP. Yes, I’m saying this without any shame.

If it’s either the sensitive touch or the heavy one, they brought the good compromise between the two and musically, you can find mostly anything you search in a hardcore punk record : Aggression, emotion and rage. Indeed, some could say there’s some sketchy riffs, like on Shadow Of Life, but I think I already gave you my opinion about bad taste.

Through all this noise, there’s also an important thing to consider, the poetry. Where one of the massive change in the band sound was Skip’s voice, he also improved the writing, and for me it was what caught me. Honestly, it took me time to get into their music. If the first EP pleased me, I blocked musically on the LP, but fortunately, there was the lyrics.

Deep could be the right term. It’s not the point of the Split or the next bands he played in, but it could be considered their turning point somehow (hmhm). With the LP, they totally step apart from the other bands, thanks to those lyrics.

Even if its still personal, it show a lot of introspection and self-criticism, like on Face Up and even their songs about being back stabbed by a friend are poetical, as seen in Shadow Of Lies. But you can also rely on standards, like Growing Stronger, typical of the style. But each time, it’s not even close to be sketchy, it’s always heartfelt and as the terrible fate of Skip can tell, it’s sincere and not some hypothetical stories. It’s the story of someone growing up, changing.

Emotional hardcore from the nineties is a personal favorite and bands like SPLIT LIP always ring a bell for me, especially lyrics wise. A lot of those bands, I think, were inspired by Skip’s work somehow. Maybe from the later records, but I’m sure it’s with this LP all the changes in his way to sing and write came on. And in a general manner, it’s definitely a cornerstone for the nineties and marked a new step in creating hardcore.

 Aside being a band that did so many different things the greatest way possible, TURNING POINT also released the LP that is, for me, one the cornerstones and the beginning of the Nineties Emotional Hardcore as we know it, with an heavy sound yet still sensitive, deep lyrics still reachable. More than an important record, its a crucial record that could hardly be copied and probably never be excelled.

My only regret is that I could never see them play it live.

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Hatred Is Nothing To Be Proud Of

R.I.P Frank “Skip” Candelori

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