Review: Earth Crisis Bore the Metalcore With ‘Salvation Of The Innocents’

Bands like Earth Crisis always bring the debate of “when were they better”. The release of their 1995 album Destroy The Machines hit the hardcore world like a fist, a fist with a giant X tattooed on it. The sound of that album, and it’s volatile message towards drug users and meat eaters, helped militarize the Straight Edge movement.

The cross-hatching of metal infused riffs, hardcore structures and socially-aware lyrics, helped Earth Crisis stand apart from the other new breed of metallic hardcore, like VOD or Hatebreed. In reality, Earth Crisis was never a hardcore band, not in the vein of Black Flag, Bad Brains, Cro-Mags or VOID. They were a metal band. One that seemed to galvanize thousands of kids wrapped up in youth identity politics.

So the debate continues. Is the newer sound of Earth Crisis, one that leans much more into metalcore than previous releases, more or less worthy than their initial power blast? Answer. Who cares? Everybody will have an opinion on the new Earth Crisis release Salvation Of The Innocents. Personally I have no use for either the straight edge movement or metalcore.

Once bands like Hatebreed and VOD became the norm, I checked out. Not because they were terrible, it just was not my thing anymore. I don’t begrudge the metalcore kids their music, nor the straight edge kids their scene. Yeah it becomes preachy, and the violent side of it is reprehensible, but for the most part I’d rather a bunch of kids find identity in clean living, than being the standard drunken show-going tough guys.

So with the debate neutralized, how does Salvation Of The Innocents stack up as an album? It’s boring, kind of derivative, and the message has become repetitive. Earth Crisis still bring a crushing heaviness to what they do, but that’s more because of how they tune their guitars than anything memorable about the riffs. If I played this band for a non-Earth Crisis fan, I doubt they could pick them out among other bands who play this same material.

The derivative thing is a little more surprising. Their last album, Neutralize The Threat, seemed to straddle a line between whom Earth Crisis were and who they are. Salvation Of The Innocents finds the band almost fully abandoning their older chops, and embracing metalcore on every level. From structure to production, this is album shows no traces of hardcore, only metal, and boring metal at that.

As for the message, well, I guess rock politics being screamed at me with a certain level of elitism doesn’t wash. If you hate animal cruelty and drug use so much, quit the music scene and dedicate your lives to those pursuits. Don’t stand on a soapbox and scream at me about injustice while touring, signing autographs, and hawking merch. Add to that how Karl Buechner’s vocals are one-note, and there’s little left to offer those who aren’t either part of the Earth Crisis dedicated, or just stepping into straight edge culture, with a youth outlook that finds the elitism refreshing.

Earth Crisis hasn’t jumped ahead enough musically for anyone to really debate which era of their sound is better. They are the band they are. I find it tedious. Some will find it inspiring. Some will think Earth Crisis bring about the perfect soundtrack to the apocalypse. I’m hoping the music played during the burning of the world is a lot more interesting.