Heart of Steel: Interviews

Karyn Crisis of Crisis
Interview By Keith McDonald

Crisis, the female fronted band, came onto the metal scene in the mid-90’s. They have carried on through the tough times and have returned with their newest offering ‘Like Sheep Led to Slaughter via their new label deal with The End Records. They plan on hitting the road soon as I caught up with lead singer Karyn Crisis who gave the lowdown on the band and it’s new release.



What did you do during your downtime?

We continued to write, record, and play shows under the name Skullsick Nation while we kept up the search for a Crisis drummer.



Tell me about your new album (production, studio, etc.).

About 1 year ago we found our new drummer, Josh, and began writing the new album. We wrote and recorded 6 songs with Billy Anderson (Melvins, Fantomas) with whom we wanted to work for many years. We began to shop those songs around and ended up meeting Andreas from The End Records via Maria Abril of Martyr Music Group. Soon after we signed to The End and recorded the rest of our new album, "Like Sheep Led To Slaughter", which we all feel is our best work to date. You'll hear the old Crisis spirit, along with a new and evolved take on our own sound.



How strong is the metal scene today? How much has it changed since the early 90's?

Crisis formed in 1993, and back then "metal" was definitely a dirty word. We proudly called ourselves metal, but received a lot of flack for this. Metal was far more underground then, and record label and industry people frequently told me that metal would never go anywhere again, and that they couldn't figure out what kept the underground going, especially since it wasn't making money. Also, at that time Crisis was the only female fronted heavy band touring the states. We also saw our audiences grow from being mostly male, to being 50% male, 50% female, with women participating in the pits and all. When we got out of our contract with Metal Blade in the late 90s, other record labels told us we were too extreme for radio, etc. Now, extreme is all the rage, and you see bands everywhere trying to be as 'brutal" as possible, because it's now a profitable genre.



What are your tour plans?

We just signed with a big booking agent and are waiting to hear back about summer tours.



How helpful are the End Records?

The End Records is the perfect home for Crisis. They are all about the music, and as you can see from their roster they support diversity. The End also likes to take risks, as we do, and work with bands that don't tend to fit in anywhere else, yet have an apocalyptic vision. We talk with our label on a daily basis, and the decisions made about our career are very much decided by both The End and Crisis together. The End supports Crisis 100%, and they do indeed come through on their word.



Why didn't you record for Metal Blade again?

They are the opposite of The End Records.



It seems your music is a combination of dark metal and hard-core. Do you agree?

I can't really say I agree or disagree. What our music sounds like is totally subjective to the listener, and I would never try to categorize our music with terms that are genre -specific like you have, especially since none of those genres have ever called us their own. We're Nomads of the music scene. I would use terms like "apocalyptic, dark and haunting, violently energetic, cathartic, uplifting, time-stopping, like an exorcism..."



How do your lyrics come about?

It’s a process that takes on many forms. Sometimes I will allow a certain amount of time for feeding my brain information on a variety of topics. I'll allow this to sink in and then I'll do a shitload of free-form writing, which I then edit into another big pile. While the guys are jamming or refining a new song, I'll read through the writing and slowly turn them into lyrics, after finding words and passages that seem to "fit" the song. Sometimes I just get inspired on the spot and free form, which I rewrite and refine later. Sometimes "channeling" occurs and the words just come out with little effort and remain in that form.



Why do you think there are so few female fronted metal bands?

There aren't so few female bands-- There are tons and tons! The question is: Why do record labels want there to be so few female fronted metal bands, especially on major labels? Why don't they want the female voice to be represented like the male voice is? There is certainly no equality in the heavy music scene, but it's not because the female musicians aren't there.



What do you think separates your band from the others?

We haven't separated ourselves from anyone, rather our musical style stands apart from the current musical styles, just as it did back in 1993 and probably always will, though many younger musicians are surely being influenced by what we do. Our new drummer is evidence of that, as well as the many bands that have ripped our songs and riffs and lyrics off. We're a band that doesn't neatly fit into a category, because we don't follow the rules of any genre's songwriting. I use my whole range when I sing- my growls, screams, screeches and other are actual in-tune notes, and I'd be bored to death just low-growling every song, album after album. That repetitiveness gets redundant in my opinion, and I prefer to use my whole vocal range to express a variety of emotions. Our time signatures are very different from the average 4/4 you hear in metal. As musicians we all need diversity in our lives, in our musical expressions. Our music dares to go to emotional places that most heavy bands dare not go. We take risks and are not afraid to not fit in.



Who are the new members?

Joshua Florian, our drummer. Jwyanza Hobson (right-handed guitar) has been in the band for 6 years- this is just the first time he'll be on a Crisis album.



Do you speak with the former members?




What lies ahead for Crisis?

Who knows, I cannot predict the future. All I can say for sure is that our new album comes out May 25th on The End Records, our video for "Blood Burden" will be out soon, and we hope to tour this summer. We recently celebrated our 10-year anniversary, and I can say that barring the apocalypse, the precession of the equinoxes, or any other unforeseen circumstances, we'll be doing this for another 10 years. Nothing is guaranteed.

Band Website: www.crisissite.com
Label Website: www.theendrecords.com