Review Summary: Dawn of the chugcore.
Earth Crisis is a band that pretty much everyone into metalcore knows of, but they don’t seem to really get much attention outside the fact that they helped pioneer the genre. After releasing a ground-breaking and exciting EP titled All Out War and gaining a bit of a buzz among the burgeoning hardcore punk scene of the early 1990’s, they decided to go back into the studio to perfect the sound they experimented with a year earlier. And while perfect it they did not, they certainly managed to mark a step forward for the genre.
By balancing the Minor Threat-esque hardcore punk energy and the heaviness of extreme metal, they managed to craft a new, sludgier sound that still contains plenty of fury and aggression. This style, often jokingly referred to as “chugcore”, is done to death nowadays – and quite poorly, most of the time – but Earth Crisis made it interesting. They would use their so-called “chugs” (drop D/C tuned guitar chords strummed in a repetitive fashion) to build up to a massive peak in sound only to crash it down in a huge d-beat gang chorus or flurry of riffs. By placing mid-paced thrash riffs between these lifts and drops in tempo, they manage to keep things interesting throughout all three of the songs on this EP. The occasional little guitar solo / fill doesn't hurt either.
But the drumming is the true highlight here. Never leaving a single piece of his kit alone in the dust, he manages to hold the ever-shuffling tempo while experimenting with how he holds rhythm and keeping things sounding big and furious. There isn’t a single moment where I’m honestly bored of the drummer because of his versatility. While the guitarists may not share this musical prowess, they manage to get the job done with their big riffs.
However, this EP is not without its share of flaws. The production is very flat, and despite having a decent track mix, the guitars seem to drown out everything else going on here. This is a shame because it makes it a bit difficult to hear the singer’s awesome and powerful shouts and the already-established-as-fantastic drumming. They also fall victim to the overuse of chugging drop riffs, which may put some listeners off. It’s not a huge deal, though, since the release only really goes on for fifteen minutes, leaving little room for boredom.
All in all this is a fun little EP, packed to the brim with testosterone and innovation. While they wouldn’t perfect this sound until the release of their debut LP, this release is a very enjoyable (if somewhat primitive) metalcore outing that could easily fit in with any modern metalcore fan’s collection. Perhaps it’s not an essential, but it’s damn close, and a neat time capsule to look back on.