|Origin||Syracuse, New York, U.S.|
|Genres||Metalcore, hardcore punk|
|Years active||1989–2001, 2007–present|
|Associated acts||Path of Resistance, Freya, Framework, Isolated|
Earth Crisis is an American metalcore band from Syracuse, New York, active from 1989 until 2001, reuniting in 2007. Since 1993 the band's longest serving members are vocalist Karl Buechner, guitarist Scott Crouse, bassist Ian Edwards and drummer Dennis Merrick. Their third guitarist Erick Edwards joined the band in 1998.
The band has released eight studio albums, three compilations, two live albums and six music videos. The band is known for supporting animal rights, promoting a straight edge and vegan lifestyle, and addressing further social and political issues. Earth Crisis is considered a crucial developer and influence for both the metalcore genre and vegan straight edge movement.
- 1 History
- 2 Musical style and influences
- 3 Lyrics, views and activism
- 4 Legacy
- 5 Members
- 6 Discography
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Initial career (1989–1995)
The band originally formed in 1989 with Karl Buechner on bass, DJ Rose (who later would be a member of Path of Resistance) on vocals, Jesse Buckley on drums and John Moseman on guitar. Established in the latter part of the youth crew heyday, where many groups disbanded and their members stopped being straight edge, they wanted to "keep that torch burning". Buechner: "The feeling of disappointment we had in those bands lead us to promote straight edge as being a lifetime commitment to never touch a drop of poison. We wanted people to know they can believe in us."
Its initial lineup was short-lived. Karl Buechner continued writing songs and formed a new lineup of the band in 1991, after attending a skateboard demonstration and having met guitarist Scott Crouse and bassist Ian "Pitbull" Edwards, both from the band Framework (a group whose members were all vegan and straight edge). Buechner switched to lead vocals in the process and they were joined by guitarist Ben Read and drummer Michael Riccardi, both from Framework as well. 1992's three song EP All Out War marked their debut release. The next year, Earth Crisis recorded the Firestorm EP in the studio of Bill Korecky in Cleveland. For this album, Riccardi was replaced by Dennis Merrick, and Ben Read by Kris Wiechmann.
Destroy the Machines, their first full-length record, was released in 1995 and would eventually become the best-selling album in the history of Victory Records. Later this year, the band's touring van was involved in an accident that injured all band members, most severely Merrick. During his recovery time, the other band members began the group Path of Resistance with Riccardi and other friends to remain occupied.
Subsequent years and breakup: (1996–2001)
1996's Gomorrah's Season Ends brought a more complex and developed form of metalcore and, shortly thereafter, they were asked to take part in the inaugural Ozzfest, including one song for its live album. Their popularity grew, resulting in a deal with Roadrunner Records, and the band released Breed the Killers in 1998, the first with guitarist Erick Edwards (bassist Ian Edwards's brother) replacing Wiechmann. The album was produced by Andy Sneap and featured a guest appearance by Machine Head vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn.
The band later returned to Victory Records, releasing 2000's Slither soon after. With more emphasis on production and a change of style steered towards nu metal, it drew mixed reactions from critics and fans but had a wider exposure in mainstream music. Their final album before their breakup was 2001's Last of the Sane, which included cover versions of songs by The Rolling Stones, Slayer, Led Zeppelin, Cream and Dead Kennedys.
In 2001, Earth Crisis disbanded on good terms because some members could not longer engage in a full-time touring band due to their personal lives. They played the final show of their initial career at Hellfest in Syracuse. After the band's breakup in 2001, Buechner, Bulldog and Erick Edwards went on to form Freya, a band named for the Norse goddess of fertility. Meanwhile, Crouse and Dennis Merrick moved to California and formed Isolated.
On January 27, 2007, the reunited Earth Crisis played the Maryland Metal and Hardcore Festival. Although it was originally planned as a one-off concert, numerous American and European dates followed thereafter. Earth Crisis headlined the Firestorm Fest in early 2008.
On September 10, 2008 it was announced that they had signed a worldwide deal with Century Media. They entered the studio on October 16, 2008 to record a new record, and Tue Madsen was hired to mix the project. The finished album, To the Death, was released in Europe on April 20, 2009 and in North America on May 5, 2009.
In August and September 2009, Earth Crisis played America and Europe on the Hell on Earth Tour, alongside Sworn Enemy, Neaera, Waking the Cadaver, War of Ages, Thy Will Be Done and War from a Harlots Mouth.
Latest releases: (2010–present)
In March 2010, they announced that drummer Andy Hurley of Fall Out Boy and formerly Racetraitor would serve as a touring musician for a portion of the band's upcoming tour, as Merrick will only be available for certain dates.
In July 2011, Earth Crisis released their seventh studio album, Neutralize the Threat. The album was mixed and mastered by Zeuss. The tracks "Raise" and "Total War" were released online as an album teaser.
Earth Crisis released their eighth studio album Salvation of Innocents on March 4, 2014. A comic book of the Liberator series published by Black Mask Studios was made in collaboration with the band and released simultaneously with the album, sharing similar conceptual ideas and artwork.
Musical style and influences
Although ideologically tied to the straight edge movement, the initial musical influences of Earth Crisis were mainly from New York hardcore bands such as Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags and Sick Of It All. After the All Out War EP, they developed an increasingly technical and heavier style, citing death metal bands Napalm Death, Bolt Thrower and Obituary as prime inspirations. Buechner's vocals became rougher with each release as well, culminating in the completely gutturally screamed Gomorrah's Season Ends. Terrorizer magazine referred to this album as "heavy hardcore taken to a new level, all the blackness that was hinted at on Firestorm realized in all its formidable glory." In this period, many of their songs were built on Merrick's drum beats. Their 1998 album, Breed the Killers, maintained that aggressiveness, but, according to Shawn Macomber of Decibel, it was "more of a spiritual successor" to the "post-Judge hardcore of the Path of Resistance record Who Dares Wins". Dennis Merrick said: "On Breed the Killers I think we achieved the most honest representation of our sound without sounding too raw or too slick". Its follow-up, Slither, had a change of style that steered towards nu metal. Buechner declared that, rather than being influenced by other styles, they "resurrected" the sound of All Out War in a proper way, which had some of its aspects, such as melodic choruses and spoken word verses.
Their first post-reunion album, To the Death, was described by Buechner as "a mixture between Destroying the Machines and Breed the Killers." According to Stereo Killer, it was "arguably the band's heaviest offering" but with "more traditional verse/chorus/verse" material. Neutralize the Threat followed a similar path, but "with a Gomorrah's Season Ends vibe thrown in", they stated. Scott Crouse said that he always tried "to get the perfect blend of heaviness, imagery and listenability" and that these two albums were the first to "hit that mark". Salvation of Innocents included, in addition, some clean vocals that were compared to the sludge metal band Crowbar by one reviewer, as well as "some elements of European melodic metalcore" and faster songs.
When asked what ten bands inspired Earth Crisis over the years in a 2016 interview, Scott Crouse named DYS, Judge, Corrosion of Conformity, Agnostic Front, Slayer, Sepultura, Metallica, Conviction, Zero Tolerance and Iron Maiden.
Lyrics, views and activism
The name of the band, Earth Crisis, indicates how their members see the current state of the planet and in their lyrics they seek to offer solutions to it; these are either "educational" or encourage direct-action. Most of them focus on rejection of recreational drugs, animal products, industrial livestock production, illegal drug trade and an impending ecological collapse produced by mankind. On the other hand, they promote straight edge, veganism, self-empowerment and organizations such as Earth First!, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Animal Liberation Front. In the words of the academic Jonathan Pieslak, some of their lyrics "read like passages" taken from "direct-action essays" of these institutions. In other songs, especially on Breed the Killers, they are against oppressive governments and the abuses of white supremacy. In the 2000 record, Slither, they incorporated more topical issues, including genetic engineering and second amendment rights. Their seventh and eighth albums, Neutralize the Threat and Salvation of Innocents, are concept albums entirely dedicated to real-life vigilantes and animal rights/anti-vivisection, respectively. The albums All Out War, Gomorrah's Season Ends and Breed the Killers included essays that delve into their lyrics and beliefs.
In a 1998 interview with Roadrunner Records, Karl Buechner described Earth Crisis' philosophy: "I want to boil it down to one notion: personal accountability. Respect for yourself, respect for the lives of innocent beings around us." He added that "Just being drug-free doesn't make you a good person, you need to use that clarity of the mind to become actively involved in the struggle that is being waged for earth, human and animal liberation." Their message disjoined from the "posicore" attitudes in its advocation for violent direct action. However, they believe that it must be used only as a last resort: "destruction and violence are the last thing I want to see but tragically, they are sometimes necessary. We place so far greater value on the lives of the innocent beings than any type of worth that could be put upon someone who's sadistic or greedy and doesn't want to change their profit system", said Buechner.
The band cited authors Peter Singer, John Robbins and Huey P. Newton as inspirations. In their live shows, there is usually literature about PETA, Greenpeace and others distributed. They have been longtime supporters for organizations such as the Animal Defense League, having done several benefit concerts for them. However, they are not part of any of these groups or a political party: "We're about things we're interested in and we sing about things that happen politically, but we're not left-core or right wing. We don't want to get tangled up in someone else's agenda, which can happen if you join up in certain organizations."
Earth Crisis was occasionally misidentified with the hardline subculture, but they are not against homosexuality and believe that abortion should remain as an option in some instances. They also do not have a religious agenda and think that that is mainly a personal choice.
Earth Crisis had a huge impact on both the hardcore punk music and its ideals. MetalSucks said: "For anybody who was not in the hardcore scene back then, it is hard to describe the impact they had or how controversial they were. You either loved them or hated them for bringing both metal and veganism into the hardcore scene."
Their albums Firestorm, Destroy the Machines and Gomorrah's Season Ends were particularly influential for the emerging metalcore genre. According to Andrew O'Neill, "Earth Crisis inspired a much more heavy metal sound in hardcore" and "the distinction between the two started to crumble" shortly after those records were released.
To a large extent, Earth Crisis was responsible for the rising of vegan straight edge militancy in the mid- to late 90s, when veganism was rarely present in mainstream culture. They spawned many activists in the scene because their message "imparted the sense of urgency in a way that nothing else that ever come before had", according to Peter Daniel Young. Some of their songs went on to be considered by some as anthems, such as "Firestorm" for straight edge and "Ultramilitance" for eco-terrorists. They also drew major media attention, having been featured and interviewed by CNN, CBS and The New York Times, while lead singer Karl Buechner was invited to address the Congress about teens and substance abuse.
Comments from other musicians
Many artists have cited Earth Crisis as an influence or have expressed their admiration for them, including Davey Havok and Jade Puget of AFI and XTRMST, Hatebreed, Throwdown, Robb Flynn of Machine Head, Jona Weinhofen of I Killed the Prom Queen and Bring Me the Horizon, Jeremy Bolm of Touché Amoré, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying, Glassjaw, Andy Hurley and Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy, Igor Cavalera of Sepultura, Paul Waggoner and Thomas Giles of Between the Buried and Me, Matt Fox of Shai Hulud, Heaven Shall Burn, Unearth, Code Orange, Maroon, Deadlock, Marc Görtz of Caliban, Born from Pain, Saving Grace, Twelve Tribes, Dan Smith of The Dear & Departed, First Blood, No Innocent Victim and Guy Kozowyk of The Red Chord; as well as activists such as Peter Daniel Young.
- Current members
- Karl Buechner – vocals (1991–2001, 2007–present)
- Scott Crouse – guitar (1991–2001, 2007–present)
- Ian "Bulldog" Edwards – bass (1991–2001, 2007–present)
- Dennis Merrick – drums (1993–2001, 2007–present)
- Erick Edwards – guitar (1998–2001, 2007–present)
- Former members
- Ben Read – guitar (1991–1994)
- Kris Wiechmann – guitar (1994–1998)
- Michael Riccardi – drums (1991–1993)
- Touring musicians
- Jim Winters – guitar (1993-1996)
- Andy Hurley - drums (2010)
- Studio albums
- Destroy the Machines (1995, Victory Records)
- Gomorrah's Season Ends (1996, Victory Records)
- Breed the Killers (1998, Roadrunner Records)
- Slither (2000, Victory Records)
- Last of the Sane (2001, Victory Records)
- To the Death (2009, Century Media Records)
- Neutralize the Threat (2011, Century Media Records)
- Salvation of Innocents (2014, Candlelight Records)
- All Out War (EP) (1992, Conviction Records, re-released 1995 on Victory Records)
- Firestorm (EP) (1993, Victory Records, re-released 1995)
- Forced to Kill (7") (2009, Seventh Dagger Records)
- The Discipline (EP) (2015, Bullet Tooth Records)
- Music videos
- "Broken Foundation" (1996)
- "Killing Brain Cells" (2000)
- "Provoke" (2000)
- "Nemesis" (2000)
- "To Ashes" (2009)
- "Total War" (2011)
- Live and compilation albums
- The California Takeover (1996), Victory Records, split live album with Strife and Snapcase)
- The Oath That Keeps Me Free (1998, Victory Records)
- Forever True – 1991–2001 (Compilation) (2001, Victory Records)
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Earth Crisis, with their emphasis on heavy riffs and socially-aware lyrics, proved to be one of the most influential hardcore bands of all time.
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EARTH CRISIS waren Mitte der 1990er Jahre nicht nur eine der vehementesten Vertreter des Veganismus und der Straight Edge-Bewegung, sondern auch musikalisch auf dem Höhepunkt ihrer Karriere. Mit ihrem Album "Gomorrah's Season Ends" bereiteten sie den Weg für einen Musikstil, der heute allgemein als Metalcore bezeichnet wird, und waren zusammen mit INTEGRITY ein maßgeblicher Einfluss für unzählige Metalcore-Bands der letzten Jahre. (In the mid-1990s, EARTH CRISIS was not only one of the most vehement representatives of veganism and the straight-edge movement, but also were musically at the peak of their career. With their album Gomorrah's Season Ends they paved the way for a musical style that is now generally known as Metalcore, and together with INTEGRITY they have been a major influence for countless metalcore bands of recent years.)
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[...] By the early ’90s, hardcore was still very much an active scene, but its relevance had diminished. [...] That all changed in 1995, thanks mostly to two records that were the flashpoint for what became known as metalcore: Integrity’s Systems Overload and Earth Crisis’ Destroy The Machines. [...] Integrity and Earth Crisis, each in its own way, established an alchemy of metal and hardcore that extended beyond the short-lived crossover thrash of the ’80s. Brutal and inventive, it struck a nerve. Drawing equally from the thick grooves of Pantera and the chunky belligerence of Youth Of Today, the emerging metalcore sound had yet to become a parody of itself. It marked, in short, a revolution in hardcore [...]
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For the next generation of activists, 1990s hardcore was even more influential. The scene was far from homogeneous, but bands like Earth Crisis helped ingrain militant animal rights and environmental politics into the culture [...] Few people in the outside world knew what the word vegan meant, or how to pronounce it, but within a large segment of the hardcore scene veganism and support for animal rights was expected.
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Earth Crisis was well recognized for including the veganism subject within many of their songs. While this was one of many subjects the band was well known for, the general attitude towards the band and the subjects they based their songs around had greatly changed over the years. Veganism was no longer a taboo subject, and something the public became a bit more open towards.
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And after attracting national attention for their message through such mediums as MTV, ABC World News with Peter Jennings, CNN, TBS and 48 Hours, lead singer Karl Buechner was invited to speak on a panel in front of the US Congress in Washington DC regarding straight edge and drug and alcohol use among young people.
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I remember when Earth Crisis started recording, when they were on Roadrunner, they were starting to release records that I think were very, very metal sounding. They were one of the first bands to bring some of the hardcore kids into metal, and in my opinion were very groundbreaking back then, they were incredibly heavy but down-to-earth and the mentality of being in a hardcore band is something that will always stick with me no matter how metal our music sounds.
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