• Band Bio

    28. Apr. 2006, 13:15

    By the late 1990s, hardcore had gotten weird. Really weird. A subculture rooted in nonconformity had morphed into just another target market. In a scene where distinctiveness and individuality were once kings, uniformity somehow found itself as heir apparent: Let's all sound the same, dress the same, and listen to the same ten bands. In the midst of all this muck and mire, CRUSADE was born.

    Lawrence Susi was no stranger to this artistic ghetto, having played bass with New York Hardcore stalwarts Breakdown and co-founding the critically lauded Sub Zero. Crusade was formed, Susi cryptically recalls, "as a reaction to what was going on." As to exactly what was going on, he's not saying, but there is nothing that is the least bit opaque about his reaction, as the band's recordings and live show illustrate.

    A recent performance showcased a slew of new material, some recorded, some as-of-yet uncommitted to tape. The band opened with "Church And State", and its lines "Where've you been, You know it's nice to see you, Strung out in a burning fucking jungle far away" stuck with me throughout their set, and for most of the night I was plagued with images of Sgt. Pepper in fatigues, a junkie ex-POW too weary and bedraggled to introduce Billy Shears. "Bloodletting", aside from being way too catchy for a song called fucking "Bloodletting", perfectly articulates the ennui responsible for the band's creation. "Morbidly Festive" (one of a handful of more recent compositions that has actually been recorded) evokes Dance With Me era TSOL, and crescendos into a truly Songs For The Deaf-worthy bridge. Garnish with lyrics more suited for the message board than a rock song, and you've got my full attention. "Perpetual Care" is another newer song, and may quite possibly be the best love song written for a corpse since "I Heard Her Call My Name". Musically, think Van Dyke Parks scoring strings for Love And Rockets and you're almost there. "Between Heaven And Hell" is definitely the standout track of all the new material, though. Described by Susi as a paean to the fringe benefits of war, the song conjures up the less cringe worthy moments of both Mr. Danzing and Mr. Jourgensen, while boasting a monster riff (yes, a monster riff) that would make K.K. Downing crap his trousers.

    Those of you fortunate to have found a copy of the band's only official recorded output (2003's The Beauty Within The Decay - one thousand pressed and label goes "poof!") will go home happy as well. The infectious arcade game bleeps of "All Is Lost", the Bukowski-inspired "The Hand You Cannot Sever", and the (literally) show-stopping title track were all present.

    A few other gems were resurrected, if not revealed, that night. The long dormant "Burn Like Rome" condenses twenty something years of hardcore into two minutes, recalling Minor Threat, Cro-Mags, and Bad Brains, mining but never miming. "Gardenia", another new one, is soaked in reverb and lush guitar, and one can't help but imagine Kevin Shields twisting knobs and insisting on a pitch bended synth part in the chorus.

    The band is stronger than they have ever been. Guitarist John Troy is equal parts Ace Frehley, Steve Jones,and John McGeoch, and is a lot better looking than all of them. Well, maybe not Ace. The rhythm section, comprised of Anthony Realbuto and Jon Boucher (expatriates of Connecticut's Eventide), is mentally insane, in addition to being impossibly tight. Seeing them live, one can witness indications of what greatness is yet to come. To put it simply, now is a good time for you to start paying attention.

    D.B. Cooper
    New York City
    September 27, 2005