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Music | New York hardcore legends Earth Crisis pick up where they left off


In 2001, in their hometown of Syracuse, N.Y., reigning hardcore kings Earth Crisis took the stage for the last time. They had been together for more than a decade, released 10 albums and helped usher in a new era of hardcore that would last long after they were gone.

But they weren’t quite done yet. Almost eight years later, the band has played two reunion shows and is prepping for a full U.S. Tour that includes a March 7 stop in Logan.

“In hindsight, I think when we ‘broke up,’ we all knew that it was really just more of a hiatus,” guitarist Scott Crouse says. “I don’t think we ever thought we’d never play together again; it was just time for us to focus on other projects and families after devoting 10 years of our lives to Earth Crisis.”

The members of Earth Crisis pride themselves on being both vegan and straight-edge, and their message of human, earth and animal liberation became the anthem for many hardcore kids growing up in the ’90s. At the height of their popularity, people were wearing shirts with Earth Crisis lyrics printed on them and even getting tattoos with art inspired by their songs. Their uncompromising message landed them high-profile media interviews on networks like CNN and TV shows including America’s Most Wanted and 48 Hours. In the mid-’90s, an outspoken band like Earth Crisis was seen as more of a threat than anything else—and the members thrived off that perception.

As their fan base grew, the band started gaining more and more popularity outside the hardcore scene. They played the first incarnation of Ozzfest in 1996, much to the dismay of many of their fans. But, through it all, they kept their message loud and clear and at the front of everything they did. When they broke up, they inspired a whole legion of vegan straight-edge bands that wanted to pick up where they left off. Now, years later, things in the hardcore scene are different, but Earth Crisis is still the same band they always were.

“Everyone in the band is still vegan straight-edge and our goals always have been and always will be to play heavy music that motivates people to think about the way they live their lives,” Crouse says.

With hardcore now a legitimate part of the music industry, Crouse is able to look back at how different things were when they were at the height of their popularity.

“The scene as a whole is much more mainstream now, and people are more accepting of hardcore bands doing things like Ozzfest and getting their videos played on MTV,” he says. “When we were doing things like that [performing at the high-profile event in1996] the general vibe was that we were turning our backs on hardcore.”

In late 2006, rumors started circulating that Earth Crisis was planning a one-off reunion show after other reunited bands like Gorilla Biscuits and 108 had found success again. They took the stage January 27, 2007 and the fans went nuts. The positive response quickly prompted the band to add a West Coast show and a short European tour for the overseas fans. That wasn’t enough, though, and the band soon made plans for a full-blown U.S. tour.

“After the first two shows, we had such a good time and we had received so many requests to play in different parts of the country that we figured a short tour would be our best option,” Crouse says.

Now dubbed Firestorm Fest after one of the bands most popular songs, Earth Crisis is set for three weeks on the road with some of the biggest names in hardcore including Terror and Sworn Enemy. Thanks to hardcore’s increasing presence, there are bound to be a lot of younger kids that have maybe never even heard of Earth Crisis at the show. That’s the kind of thing that the band has always embraced, and they look forward to educating some newer fans.

“One thing I know for sure the younger kids will see is honesty,” Crouse says. “We all still believe and live every word of every song. I’m very proud of the fact that we are one of the few bands that have gone away and come back the same people with the same beliefs.”

While the future of Earth Crisis after this tour is still up in the air, there are speculations about their next move all over the Internet. According to MTV, frontman Karl Buechner claims that the band is in the process of writing for a new album that they hope to record this year. Crouse, on the other hand, is a bit more cryptic, revealing only that “it’s a secret.”

While it’s a safe bet that Earth Crisis will be a full-time band again soon enough, nothing is certain. Still, Crouse makes it seem like they never skipped a beat.

“It honestly felt like we were off tour for only two days instead of eight years.”

For most fans, that was eight years too long. Welcome back.

EARTH CRISIS @ Club NVO, 339 N. Main, Logan, Friday March 7, 6 p.m.