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Crisis: DeathsheadCrisis: Deathshead extermination

20/03/09  ||  Daemonomania

What the hell type of metal is Crisis, anyway? The closest I can guess, I’d say experimental death/thrash. Post calling it quits they went a bit core on us, but on their second full-length these NYC-based weirdos were much more on the heavy side of the coin.

This is the type of music I used to listen to much more often before being swept away in a bukkake tsunami of brutality. The music was headbangable, the vocals were violent, but insanity inducing gravity blasts, technicality, and jet-black Christ-tanks made out of human skulls weren’t on my young radar. Now all that evoooool is par for course, and stuff like Crisis is only busted out for nostalgia value.

Does that mean “Deathshead extermination” sucks? Nay! You have to be about as flexible in your metal tastes as a Cirque de Soleil hooker on Clowncar Night, but there’s something rewarding for the patient. First and foremost, and certainly the “gimmick” for the band, are the vocals of Karyn Crisis. I’ve raved about this demonic presence trapped in a little dreadlocked body before, and she sounds even crazier on “Deathshead”. Growls turn to soothing tones turn to uncontrolled squeals all in the space of a single verse. She’s like a female version of Chalky. If she and Chalky were to have kids, the nursery would sound like kamikaze pilots attacking an emu farm. Which would be an awesome scene in a movie, if only I could find a plot to fit it in.

Aside from Karyn’s vocal display, the rest of the band keep it odd. Guitar work is good and frequently an unexpected section will pop up and raise your aluminum tent pole. Still, no “Xeper” riffs on here and therefore no Golden Xeper awards will be handed out. Drumming is adequate and varied. But no “Privilege of the gods” moments either (except perhaps in “Working out the graves”), so it seems the coveted Vader series of awards will stay in the warehouse. Better luck next time. Bass, on the other hand, is quite prominent and Mr. Gia Chun Wang truly manages to impress me. Sadly, no award is given for bass in Vaderland, so Crisis will go home from the ceremony empty-handed.

Oh yeah, and the production is good. Like you care. Pfffft.

It is customary to mention the highlights right about now, so that’s what I’ll do. The instrumental opener “Onslaught” is quite cool, unlike 90% of instrumental intros. And like I said before, “Working out the graves” is a killer with some of the heaviest sections and best uses of Karyn’s range on the whole disc. “The watcher” is an odd and disturbing slower track, as is “Methodology” which chronicles the amusement of a godlike character at manipulating his puppets (us). “Bloodlines” rips right through its short length, and “Deadfall” is a nifty thrasher. And there’s a pleasant ambient track to close things out, with some ticking clocks and strange shit swirling around. Drugs ‘r sweet.

Oh yeah, forgot to mention that Karyn does all the artwork and lyrics as well, and both are very unique. Worth checking out to say the least. Someone’s got some issues to work out for sure. Metal is certainly better than therapy for that, and if you’re in a band you make a little money doing it as opposed to paying some uncaring shrink. So props to her for choosing the musical route to catharsis.

If you had asked me ten years ago, I would have given “Deathshead” an 8. However, after over a decade of being terrorized, brutalized, and sodomized by extreme shit I can only give Crisis a 6 out of 10. Sorry gang. Blame the blastbeat, not the blastbeaten.

  • Information
  • Released: 1996
  • Label: Metal Blade
  • Website: Crisis MySpace
  • Band
  • Karyn Crisis: vocals
  • Afzaal Nasiruddeen: guitars
  • Gia Chun Wang: bass
  • Fred Waring: drums
  • Tracklist
  • 01. Onslaught
  • 02. Working out the Graves
  • 03. Wretched
  • 04. The Watcher
  • 05. Deadfall
  • 06. Methodology
  • 07. Bloodlines
  • 08. Nowhere but Lost
  • 09. Different Ways of Decay
  • 10. Prisoner Scavenger
  • 11. 2 Minutes Hate