EARTH CRISIS


"Last of the Sane" (Victory; 2001)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

So many bands lately have done tributes to their influences that, when I first heard about Earth Crisis' "Last of the Sane," I had my doubts. It's always fun to hear a band perform cover tunes, but there comes a point when enough is enough.

Fortunately, "Last of the Sane" is a little different than most other tribute-type CDs. First, it's got a hell of an eccentric song listing. Songs by the usual suspects - Slayer, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath - are covered here, but so are others by the Rolling Stones, Dead Kennedys and the Misfits. In fact, for my money, the best track on the CD is the cover of "Paint It Black" which starts out much like the original and then rapidly explodes into a Earth Crisis-like chorus.

That's another thing that makes "Last of the Sane" so successful: The songs aren't simply "covered" here, they played with true Earth Crisis style. The songs on this CD sound like they would have if Earth Crisis had originally recorded them instead of the real bands. That grinding, heavy sound works wonders on most of the tunes, less successfully (but still well enough) on others (especially on Led Zeppelin's "The Wanton Song.")

As if that weren't enough, there are even more bonuses on "Last of the Sane." In addition to the aforementioned covers, also included are demo versions of "Broken Foundation" and "Gomorrah's Season Ends," a compilation track entitled "The Order," and a brand new track, "Panic Floods."

"Last of the Sane" is one of the year's heaviest albums; fans of Earth Crisis or any of the bands covered here will find something to like.

Earth Crisis is Karl Buechne on vocals, Scott Crouse and Erick Edwards on guitar, Bulldog on bass, and Dennis Merrick on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.earthcrisis.cc


"Slither" (Victory; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Expectations can really screw with one's idea of what things really are. I was only briefly familiar with Earth Crisis and as a consequence I had lumped the band in the hardcore category. That might have been true a few albums ago, but the times they are a-changing. With "Slither," Syracuse's favorite sons Earth Crisis have created a metalcore CD to the maximum. "Slither" may be yet another defining moment in the slow transition of metal and hardcore finding a new life in metalcore. 

Just because Earth Crisis has strayed ever so slightly from the traditional hardcore sound with some metal, melody, and rap-like vocals doesn't mean that the fans will abandon them. If anything, "Slither" will provide Earth Crisis an opportunity to take their musical message to an even wider audience.

Basically what I am hearing lately is that metal bands like Machine Head are moving towards a hardcore/rap sound and bands like Earth Crisis are moving towards a groove metal sound. In fact, most people might have trouble making a distinction between Machine Head's latest effort "The Burning Red" and Earth Crisis' "Slither." That's how closely metal and hardcore are these days. 

The percussive nature of the songs lends a similarity to Sevendust, Spineshank, and Skinlab as well, but without sounding like any of those bands. Raging tracks like "Killing Brain Cells," "Arc Of Descent," and "Agress" stand out.

Earth Crisis' origination of 'straight edge' is bound to be discussed, but the 'straight edge' philosophy is not as explicit as it has been in the past. However, let's not lose sight of the fact that Earth Crisis stand for the liberation of humans, animals, and the environment - Earth Crisis does not shy away from tough topics. The lyrics probably have its genesis in a bit of paranoia formed by a 'us-versus-them' view of the world. However, there is an eventual strength in Earth Crisis' ideas that forms the basis for a theology of kindness by supporting such ideas as living a clean lifestyle, self-confidence, and the power of the mind over the body. 

Fans of Earth Crisis, by and large, have already decried the change in the vocals. The vocals are no longer as vehemently screamed fits of anger as a more 'singing' style has found a very nice home in the new melodic leanings of the band. To me the vocals have a sort of Handsome-type inflection now. If you're patient enough you'll find killer vocals throughout the CD especially on tracks like "Nemesis" and "Hairtrigger."

The image on the CD cover is ample proof of what Earth Crisis sound like - two snakes coiled around an exposed heart - how's that for crushing! 

"Slither" was produced by Steve Evetts (Snapcase, Hatebreed); the production is taut, bright, and clear. "Slither," at the very least, is a great sounding record. 

Earth Crisis is Karl Buechne on vocals, Scott Crouse and Erick Edwards on guitar, Bulldog on bass, and Dennis Merrick on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.earthcrisis.cc


Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 14 May 2017 12:40:08 -0400.