EarthPart of the process of this review was to refresh myself on where Earth Crisis came from to get to where they are.  I duly bludgeoned myself my listening to their 2011 oeuvre “Neutralize the Threat”. Puffing my cheeks out to regain stability after this crushing onslaught, I moved on to “Salvation of Innocents”. Earth Crisis have been metalgoring us since 1989 with one five year break, and this is their eighth album. An interesting aspect of this one is that it’s a kind of concept album which allies itself to a US vigilante comic book called “Liberator”. Unfortunately I don’t know the comic nor did I have access to the artwork but it’s worth mentioning. I can certainly visualise the heavy hardcore which characterises Earth Crisis fitting in with New York’s mean streets and vigilante action.

A great swirling riff surrounded me. Metal shards flew everywhere. The vocalist reminds me of Dew Scented’s Leif Jensen. But the real quality here is the robust structure of the songs. Menacing guitars and in-your-face drums are the permanent backdrop. But Earth Crisis take each track where they want to take it in a disciplined, leading us along the dangerous path they create. Like “De-Desensitize” which starts the album, “Out of the Cages” has similar balls and sophistication. Hell doesn’t break loose. This isn’t part of the plan. Murder has a systematic edge. Although I wasn’t in the least surprised by what I heard, being acquainted already with the style, it was evident that there were some fresh ideas and interesting touches. “Shiver” has an interesting chorus. The disharmony of its chorus takes us away from mass production and will arouse any crowd.

Earth Crisis are good at that. They’re great musicians. Their single “The Morbid Glare” is an interesting choice. Faster and harder than most, it too has a crowd-pleasing chorus. Sophistication is sacrificed for hard-hitting impact. This wasn’t my favourite track. The two tracks I liked the most were “The Pallid Surgeon” and “Devoted to Death”. I like tracks which punch holes in walls and “The Pallid Surgeon” does just that. This is pure headbanging material, enhanced by some magical guitar work. “Devoted to Death” meanwhile punched big and permanent grooves into my brain. The riff is utterly compelling. The song is as usual heavy and hard-hitting but it is the general structure and mobility which are most striking and impressive. The atmosphere is always edgy. “No Reason” is deep, pungent and sinister. The drummer keeps us on our toes. “Final Breath” is inevitably anthemic as the closing track but more representative of this album’s qualities is “Razors Through Flesh”. The scorn and contempt pour through the sides, reminding me of Hatesphere. The guitar work is razor-like. The control is gut busting. But one aspect which comes through on this track, “Devoted to Death” and others is that Earth Crisis do not waste time. Punishment doesn’t need long explanations. Quality outweighs quantity.

It’s tough guy stuff but the music is well crafted. I really appreciated the control and structure of the twelve tracks on this album. “Salvation of Innocents” swept me along and like a lean and mean fighter it has bags of energy and not an ounce of wasted flesh.

(8/10 Andrew Doherty)