Crisis of Faith was notorious for their short association with Chokehold, but they were really an entire band apart, with completely different beliefs. Guitarist Adam Payne and drummer Paul Abrash formed the band in early 1990 as a “side project” to the already serious band One Blood. They had previously created “Civilizing Influence” with Scott on vocals, Adam on bass, Brian Tait on guitar and Paul on drums, but the band only lasted for a few shows in late 1989.
Crisis of Faith was created to do a Bad Religion type of hardcore, as they were really into “Suffer” and even covered a few songs. The line-up was rounded out with Lloyd “Lee” Hagedorn on bass and Heath Carr (from Degenerate Youth) on vocals and they would rehearse at a pay to play rehearsal space in downtown Toronto. The band played a few shows during the year, and on October 20th of 1990 they would record their first demo, “Keep the Baby, Faith”. This was engineered and produced by Glenn Talsky at his studio, Tall Sky Recordings studio, who was actually dating Adam’s mother at the time. Out of the near 200 copies of the demos made, they were mostly kept within the Toronto area. A few more shows happened, but COF was shuffled on the back burner as Adam and Paul were doing One Blood full time. Shortly after, Heath would leave the band for various personal differences.
On May 26th, 1991 the band played their first show with Dave. During the show they covered Nihilistics’ “Welfare for the Rich”. This cover would be featured on Paula Gonzalez’s video compilation “Camera Core 2”. The show was eventually evacuated for a gas leak, and the band would film an interview outside on the street, which was also intended for the video.
The band had met Dave Lake from his association with the CHRY crew (Chris Iler, Stephen Perry and Paul Abrash also had shows at the station). The bands rehearsals then shifted to the Paul and Stephe’s house. Dave wrote lyrics to three songs (Consume, Doctor of Death and the reworked “Aryan Society” as Ecological Business), and Paul took care of the rest, including reworking “Incest” and “Public Assistance” from the first demo. In the following two months, they would play a number of shows at Lee’s Palace, Saturn Theatre, Sneaky Dees and The Silver Dollar, The Apocalypse and the Soup (Slither) Club. The final two dates (though unplanned at the time) were on August 1st and 4th of 1991. This would be due to Lee’s parting with the band due to a jam space situation in which he spent the dedicated money on drugs. Drugs and alcohol were part of a regular rehearsal in the early days. But when the band was called in the middle of the night about their equipment being seized, which was followed by a few getting together to break in and steal their own stuff, the differences in interest became apparent.
The band was due to record their second demo, and after not finding a bass replacement, they went in to record as a three piece with Adam playing bass. The ten-song session was recorded in a single day, on November 30th 1991, once again with Glenn. Stephe heard the new material first and wanted to release their material so bad, he created his label, Ragamuffin Soldier. Seven of the songs were chosen for a 7″ ep which would be titled “The American Dream… A Global Nightmare”. In addition, close friend Chris Iler used two songs, “Close Your Mouths” and “Ecological Business” for his compilation “Ya Ma Bzzz” by Fans of Bad Productions Records.
What happened next was the infamous split with Chokehold on Grinding Edge Records. Although by this time the drinking and drug use had simmered down, none of the members of Crisis of Faith were straight-edge, making an odd pairing for this split. The 7″ was put together by Ted Wong and Spencer Mak who operated Grinding Edge. Crisis of Faith’s song, “Hardline” dealt with emerging hardline bands like “Vegan Reich” and “Blindside” who were apparently racist and homophobic, yet espoused the straight-edge philosophy. The tongue-in-cheek song seemed a perfect fit to distribute Paul’s political views and lyrics to the straight-edge scene, as was the other song chosen for the split, “Ecological Business”.
Shortly after the 7″s came out both One Blood and Crisis of Faith broke up due to band mates quitting, a lack of interest and the tension this created. One Blood had lost a guitarist and COF couldn’t find a bassist so it seemed like both bands had run their course. Paul had been tape trading for years, and eventually came in touch with a guy from Denver, Colorado who was starting up Black Plastic Records. There was a single song left unreleased from the second demo session, so he sent “Freedom of Oppression” to him for the label’s first release, “Powerless II: No More Flowers, No More Ribbons”, a compilation for the benefit of War Resisters League. Sometime in 1993, Lost and Found Records contacted Paul about putting out material for the European market. The band agreed and gave them permission to release the 10 songs from the second recording session. This was released as “Land of the Free”. The label also used the songs “Incest” and “Struggle for Existence” on their compilation “In Crust We Trust”. Contrary to the reputation Lost and Found later forge for themselves, all dues were fulfilled to the band for their material. Paul sent the masters and everything else was done by the label, including the artwork. Finally in 1997, Fans of Bad Productions Records used the song “Consume” on the huge compilation “GO!” and would help the band be remembered by many.