Earth Crisis – Slither

Earth Crisis

For those that don’t know about Earth Crisis, I will explain. Earth Crisis is a very angry, uh, “hardcore” band. They are straightedge, meaning they don’t consume drugs or alcohol. They oppose animal cruelty in all of its forms. They are also vegan, a diet consisting of no animal byproducts whatsoever. However, for Earth Crisis, vegan is less of a diet and more of a hard-line political faction, and ingesting any part of an animal or any animal byproducts constitutes an act of animal cruelty. They advocate for their fans, most of whom are around 15 years old, to spread this opinion by any means necessary, possibly including violence, vandalism, gunplay, and arson. Oh, the music? I almost forgot.
My first experience with Earth Crisis was not positive. I was walking down the street in Syracuse, NY (where I lived at the time) with a few friends, and I saw a couple of guys from Earth Crisis and some others driving by in a minivan. A few months earlier, the word in town was that the band had been involved in an auto accident on tour that they were lucky to walk away from. I looked at the van for a second to make sure it was them, and I intended to wish them well after their horrible experience and put a plug in for my little band (I was a lot more naïve back then.) Well, they didn’t seem to like the way I looked or something, because one of them stuck their head out of the van and screamed, “What the fuck are you looking at?” Meanwhile my friends are getting all riled up, the guys in the van are shouting, the situation is escalating, and I wished I hadn’t even looked their way. I certainly didn’t want any trouble, but they must have assumed that I was up to no good. They pulled away eventually. and no one got hurt, but I never understood what made them so angry towards a stranger. Apparently my wallet chain wasn’t long enough or something. As War said, why can’t we be friends?
Damn, I forgot to talk about the music again!
I really don’t like being preached to, whether it is set to music or not. It is the same thing as sitting in church: Here are the beliefs, if you don’t agree with all of them then you are cast out of the community. (The lyric sheets to this record contain more fire and brimstone than a Catholic hymnal!) At least with church you don’t get beat up by malnourished teenagers, as many unlucky drunks did at the hands of the straightedge lemmings in Syracuse. But I think if people want to be activists, there are better ways to do so than with a record. Protest peacefully, educate those wanting more information about your cause, volunteer with social services, just stay out of my headphones. Going to a rock show doesn’t change anything. Rock musicians never made good politicians, and I for one have never changed my political views due to what a rock star has to say. I want to make up my own mind. This is shit for the same reason that most Christian rock ends up being shit.
(As you can see, I’m still too busy on my soapbox to comment on the music. I’m getting there, honest!)
I’m sure that living in the city where Earth Crisis’ message was taken literally by kids who just as easily could have been involved in a situation like Columbine, my view is slanted, so take it for what you will. Having left the city years ago, I don’t know how things stand today. (Perhaps the scene mellowed out after Earth Crisis appeared on the Ozzfest, a show stamped with the name of the druggiest druggy who ever drugged! He snorted ants, man!) Earth Crisis employs a marketing gimmic that infuriated me at the time. The intensity just continued to rise: kids firebombed meat packing plants, kids brought guns to rock shows, and people were assaulted for the “crime” of having a couple of beers once they turned the legal age to do so. It was great press for those guys, wasn’t it? Animal rights awareness and a straightedge ethos are both commendable, but when they occur at the expense of human rights it becomes an idea only metal meatheads could have masterminded. I saw no difference in mentality between these kids and the street gangs on Syracuse’s east side, whose grim plight those whiney white kids in the suburbs could give two shits about. As a social work student I never understood how one of the highest infant mortality rates in the US occurs right in their backyard, but they’re more worried about what people are eating and drinking. The whole thing reeks of fascism. I’m just glad I’m nowhere near Syracuse, where this opinion would have caused me to be beaten up as a victory for animal rights!(?) I am glad that I moved to Chicago, where people seem to be a bit more open minded. (God, I can’t believe I just said that!)
Oh yeah, the music: Boring mid-tempo metal. Lots of yelling. Unintelligible lyrics. I still don’t understand what all of the hype is about because the music does nothing for me. To their credit, I just wrote over 800 words on this review, so at least this band provokes opinions and dialogue, which I see as a positive. Just be careful who you express them to if you find yourself in Syracuse.