I get similar feelings listening to the new Earth Crisis disc as I got from Newsted’s Heavy Metal Music. Yes, the newest from the legendary vegan hardcore heroes is quite a bit different from the ex-Metallica bassist’s very cool go at a proper “solo” metal band, but both made me think that if anyone is a fan of the overall genres of these records that they couldn’t possibly come away unsatisfied, unless they have brain damage. “King Of The Underdogs” and “Soldierhead” have everything a Jason-era heavy metal fan of Metallica could ask for. In the case of Earth Crisis, Neutralize The Threat was awesome front to back (especially the no holds barred title track) and if “Devoted To Death” doesn’t get you running to the pit, you just don’t like true hardcore.
Earth Crisis have proven on recent releases that, like the latest Stu Block fronted Iced Earth, the band is on a mission to connect and unite fans of all stylistic eras of their group. Will Salvation prove as influential as Gomorrah’s Season Ends? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean good bands need to just hang it up past their “halcyon days”. I was watching an often plodding but oddly hard to turn off old British murder show called Midsomer Murders the other night (which has apparently run for about a hundred seasons) and when a younger guy mentioned to an older dude that things were different “in his day”, the older character responded that “it still is my day.” Likewise, Earth Crisis are very much still alive and kicking.
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There are some good hardcore and metalcore bands around these days, from California’s Leaders (a Facedown Records standout) to the very exciting Counterparts and the skull-crushing brute strngth of Xibalba, but there are also many shitty as hell bands who are an embarrassment to the genre. The gut churning power of the opening riff of “Shiver” is hardcore, alt-metal and conviction rolled into one, while opener “De-Desensitize” (featuring truly ferocious bellowing by front man Karl Buechner), is a call for rational human conduct. There is still plenty of groove in the bands sound as well, sure to get arms whirling and heads nodding in zero seconds. Man, Ian Edwards’ basslines are probably the best part of this disc. Damn.Shit is rad. Adrenaline overdose!
“Depraved Indifference” shows the group is still socially engaged, like that is a shock from Earth Crisis. But yeah, it is a relief to know some people still give a shit when most bands would rather wallow in impotent escapism instead of tackling real issues. My favorite track is “Tentacles Of the Altering Eye”, and not just because it sounds like the name of a black metal album. The song finds the Zeuss production really taking off with the machine-potent grooves of the band, with Buechner ruling the proceedings with much needed vigor sure to inject fear into the scene stealing poseurs. I often wish bands like Another Victim or Until The End were still kicking butt, but Earth Crisis makes me feel better. Plus, they are from Syracuse and so basically from my region of Upstate, NY. There is even a concept comic book tie-in with SOI. Partnering with the Matt Pizzolo and Brett Gurewitz owned Black Mask Studios for the forthcoming new Liberator comic, Salvation of Innocents and the comic feature cover artwork from Chicago-based illustrator/painter Menton3 (www.menton3.com). Earth Crisis plus fantasy illustrators usually makes for cool art, like the Dave McKean cover they had for the Slither album.
All in all, let’s just say I have been blasting this new shit since 7 a.m. and it is now almost 5 p.m. ‘Nuff said.