90’s hardcore was a period of peaks and valleys. You had legendary bands that changed with the times but also had a few bands like Earth Crisis, that changed the face of hardcore entirely. The original California Takeover featured Earth Crisis, Strife and Snapcase and in its second installment, decades later, the same bands came together again to get a totally evolved scene slam their hardcore hearts out.
The night began with Hesitation Wounds, a hardcore outlet for Touche Amore singer, Jeremy Bolm, who uses this band to scream and howl with more aggression than we’re used to seeing from him. There’s no room for sensitivity here, Hesitation Wounds does not hesitate to destroy whatever is in their sights. The turnout was good and the set was great this early in the afternoon, so we were all assured this show would only get more insane as the doomsday clocked ticked down to Earth Crisis.
One of Triple B’s best bands, Magnitude, were next and of all the bands off this label that I’ve seen in my days going to hardcore shows and frequenting Sound and Fury, I’d have to say I’ve never been more impressed than by this North Carolina straight edge outfit. They were pure energy and focus and they used these ingredients to perform a set that was relentless and hit you deep in your chest.
Of all the bands, Buffalo, New York’s Snapcase had the most synergy in their performance, transcending hardcore with metallic jam sessions that had you feeling like these guys were blessed by the hand of Fugazi. The set was crushing and kinetic and inspired a fire in everyone that bore witness.
Strife is one of my favorite hardcore bands for a very distinct reason. They go harder than anyone else, even as veterans of Southern California hardcore, Rick Rodney still bleeds and inspires the gnarliest pits and sing-alongs for songs like “Lift” and “Through and Through”. These songs trigger a blood thirst and need to mosh in me and others that saw us dog-piling upon each other, driven by some kind of savage hardcore instinct.
What separates Earth Crisis from all these other bands is that they hold a very important place in the history of hardcore, where had they never come around, the scene might not be even half as strong as it is today. Straight edge and veganism were always important values within hardcore but it wasn’t until Earth Crisis released a song as unrelenting and confrontational as “Firestorm” that these values turned into a full on movement for change that swept the nation like an inferno. I had been waiting to see Earth Crisis for years but these hopes were never rewarded until this show. I wasn’t the biggest fan there, I was just trying to fill my picture of hardcore’s history by going to see all the genre’s landmark bands perform. Having seen Earth Crisis and the burning desire they instill in people with their crunchy guitars and brutal vocals, I knew my hardcore credentials had buffed up.
After all was said and done and California was taken over, we had fought the good fight and promised ourselves that energy that was conjured in that room would be used to fight battles that would take place far beyond the Teragram walls. The battle for Animal Liberation, the battle for our minds, and ultimately the battle to keep the underground true to something greater than itself.
Words by: Rob Shepyer
Photos by: Taylor Wong