There obviously have been many Crisis' in the metal and non-metal worlds. The Salt Lake City mob was formed in 1979. Early singer Cal died in 1982 in a car accident. Ken Tabish lasted only a year. This particular Crisis was a hard rock band from Utah and released a mini-album, called Armed to The Teeth, in 1984 through Bullet Records. The label advertised the EP quite a bit and hence the photograph of the armed eye-catching model, Bev Cross, got a lot of traction. The album was issued 26 years later by Shadow Kingdom Records. The EP was actually the band’s Crank it up! 1983 demo. The label’s bankruptcy ended up delaying the band’s full-length as the masters were in the UK at the label’s office. The band appeared on the Metal Warrior sampler in 1986 and distributed its own copies freely to the fans. The group gave up in 1989.
The band issued a full-length in 2000 called Hard Bargain. In the mid-90s the band called itself 440 to escape its namesakes. A compilation through Battle Cry Records was also announced for 2009. The group was working on new material in 2011. Bret Desmond was back on the stool.
CRISIS - ARMED TO THE TEETH/KICK IT OUT - SHADOW KINGDOM
The image of Crisis’ Armed To The Teeth EP is etched in my mind. The band’s EP was issued in the heydays of US metal, and the metal underground in general, and had quite a bit of coverage and advertisements possibly courtesy of a label eager to promote the racy cover lady. Much more importantly however, the band’s music never reached the knights at Metallian Tower possibly thanks to an ineffectual label or distribution network. As it happens, the band’s promise was much better and vigorous than the actual music.
Shadow Kingdom Records’ re-release of both EP and LP on one disc adds a second disc of unreleased material, lyrics and a mini biography of the band. The material is sadly crud. It takes no more than a song or two to discern a band bordering on the amateur. No wonder; Salt Lake City is not exactly the Mecca of heavy metal. Quite the opposite, it is barren and Crisis was never going to change said status.
Musically, the band, er, attempts to be musical. The vocalist, Dane Thomson, struggles mightily. The guitarist spews noise solos and the bass, well, what bass? The arrangements and riffs are useless and wholly ignorable. The vocals give Dave Mustaine a serious run for worst vocals in anything. Alas, the band has no charm to compensate like the Megadeth man. Never mind, power, class or originality.
Now, before we all run to the hills of abomination (i.e. a new Metallica record or something like that) let us acknowledge the band’s sheer exuberance and naïve attempts at metallizing, but facts remain. The song At Night does make an attempt at having an edge (were we cheeky here we could say something like 'it could rear its head only at night' not being good enough for daylight), Blue Roses makes a run at Poison’s throne, later songs degenerate into rock and roll and Kiss, Don’t Look Back appears to have horns in the ensemble (not devil’s horns sadly, just regular musical horns) and then there is the acoustic strum of Kicked Around with its cheesy lyrics and cheesier rhymes. Perhaps it would have worked for a Kraft cheese commercial had the lyrics not been so down n being down? El Camino might be just as bad, or the galaxy’s best song ever, but who can tell given the sub-demo quality recording? Clearly, not all songs emanate from the same time and space (or studio and budget).
Look, I am sure our raw Utah friends mean/meant well and all, but for my dollar this one is best assigned to the dustbin of record store history. Friends and family, however, might want to complete their collections. Metal fans stopped reading, one reckons, three paragraphs ago. - Ali “The Metallian”