Review: Combat Crisis “Face the Crowd”

Combat Crisis “Face the Crowd”

10 Jun, 2010 Rhonda Readence

combatcrisisWith names like Elisha Cause, Jonas Image, Anthony Edge, Adam Bomb, and Joey Vital, Combat Crisis is out to prove to the world that their music is more than just music.  Their debut album, Face The Crowd, carries with it a message of retaliation against injustices such as rape, false imprisonment, and corrupt governments.  Sporting multi-colored mohawks and the classic punk rock attire, Combat Crisis portrays a sense of freedom from conformity and rebellion against society as a whole.  This is pure punk rock, the kind that would make Black Flag proud.

The punk genre is somewhat of a closed circuit amongst music aficionados.  You either love it or hate it.  Combat Crisis, however, goes a long way towards making sure you love it.  Face The Crowd opens with the track “We Represent,” and like many of the songs on the album, it is short and not-so-sweet.  At just over two minutes, the opening track packs a punch and establishes from the start that Combat Crisis has mastered the art of hard-core, ear-bleeding punk.  As the title of this track implies, they are here to represent.  The following track, “D.T.T.R.,” is seemingly a continuation of the fist track and the listener may have difficulty differentiating when one ends and the other begins, at least until the hook of “D.T.T.R.,” which is melodic, as far as hard-core thrash punk goes.

“World Won’t Wait” takes the album in a slightly different direction with a slower-paced rhythm and an attention grabbing bass line.  This slower tempo lasts for about 40 seconds into the song before Combat Crisis reverts to what they do best – gracing the masses with their unique style of punk music in all its raging glory.  The lyrics are brutally honest and filled with anger as Elisha Cause sings, “Now I’ve had enough of you and there is nothing I can do.  I’ll stand right here and watch you die; watch your whole life pass you by.  Greed and corruption – total self-destruction.” They continue with “Fool Me Twice,” a stinging anthem dealing with betrayal that has some excellent instrumentation in it, as is evidenced by the spectacular guitar work within.  Combat Crisis does a phenomenal job making sure their sound is clean and that the listener gets the full effect of each instrument, which is occasionally difficult to do with punk music since much of it is very fast-paced, heavy, and can sometimes come across sounding muddy and unfocused, but the sound of this album is exceptional.

A good example of the clean sound that this collective has produced is the title track “Combat Crisis.”  This piece opens with the crisp sound of a killer drum beat and then the boys come forth with a Ramones-sounding “OohhhhOoohhhhhOhh!” that is refreshing and energizing.  The lyrics of this track are brimming with rage and revolt against the world in general.  “Sometimes I think and I realize I hate this fuckin’ world.  Combat crisis.  I’m tired and I feel like nothing is worth it anymore.” Perhaps not something an impressionable young person should be listening to, but they are words that many can relate to nonetheless.  “Your Life” provides the listener with a brief reprieve from the super fast-paced rhythm that is the signature Combat Crisis sound and the band slows it down just a millimeter.  The vocals are actually intelligible for most of this piece and the listener can get a better appreciation for talent that this band harbors.

The guys take a 17-second untitled break (track 7) in between songs as the band members record themselves being themselves, which is oddly endearing.  The album marches onward with “Listen Up,” a masterful minute-long track with some of the best instrumentation on the album yet, especially the guitar work and the drums.  Combat Crisis continues in this vein with the fantastic opening of “40 CCs.”  Loud, melodious guitar work sets the pace for what is perhaps the best track on Face The Crowd.  “40 CCs” is about living life to the extreme as Elisha and the boys sing, “I would take control of my own future, but you don’t get a second chance.  Once you’re gone, that’s the end.”

“Not Afraid” is up next and the message of this piece is clear and brazen; revolt and rejection of society and the hypocritical standards that much of it lives by.  In addition to extremely thought provoking lyrics, the music itself is extraordinary as the band traverses down a slightly different avenue of punk music.  It’s refreshing to hear that Combat Crisis has the ability to change up their delivery ever so slightly as they slow down the tempo mid-song and add some exceptional guitar riffs before jumping back into their comfort zone of thrash punk.  “Misled” gives the listener a taste of some truly screaming guitar as the band reverts back to more of the same – lyrics shouted with anger and rage and the distinct edge that Combat Crisis has cultivated during their careers.  However, “Misled” is vastly different from anything heard on Face The Crowd yet.  Each member gets a chance to contribute to this piece and the listener is now, perhaps belatedly, realizing that this band truly has a diverse range of influences and an exceptionally distinct sound that does indeed vary from track to track.

The title piece, “Face The Crowd,” hits hard and touches on the issue of war and how pointless it is.  “Lives were lost – it’s the ultimate cost for greed and power, but what’s left is a nation with enemies – and for what?” This is a powerful track with a message that should be heard; however, the uninitiated may have a hard time deciphering what is being sung.  The delivery is fast, as is the case with most of the tracks on the album and the punk genre in general, which is a shame.  Combat Crisis does indeed have a message in their music, but one would not know what it is without actually reading the lyrics.  “Out of Luck” and “Nothing To Lose” follow in this pattern as the album winds to a close.  The last two tracks seem to merge together to form one continuous song that ends the album with a bang.  Combat Crisis closes with a message of fearlessness in the face of diversity and the ideology that there should be no regrets in life and that it should be lived in the best possible way, whatever way that you deem fit.  This vicious band of punks has indeed brought forth their message and they have done it loudly and brashly, which is the ONLY way to do it.

Review by Rhonda Readence