Benefit for the Animal Defense League, a Lost Compilation

This compilation could have been a landmark for Canadian hardcore, emo and metalcore of the 1990’s. “Could have been” because it was never released. The fact is no one really knows how close it came to coming out. Usually referred to as the “Benefit for the Buffalo Animal Defense League” but sometimes also as the “Canadian Animal Defense League Benefit”, as it was filled with bands from Canada (more specifically  from Southern Ontario). But the proceeds were to go to the Buffalo, NY Animal Defense League, to help them with animal liberation. A true all-star compilation (although missing some in my opinion, Ignorance Never Settles for example), it would have featured, in alphabetical order; Acrid, Blake, Bree, Burst of Silence, Eliot RosewaterGates of Dawn, Grade, Holocron, Mad Hatters, Montgomery 21, New Day Rising, Seer, Shoulder, Sprucehill and Sun Still Burns.

Flyer for the compilation, designed by Dave Buschemeyer

Flyer for the compilation, designed by Dave Buschemeyer. Sorry for the low quality.

Dave Buschemeyer was the brains behind this mammoth and started compiling the songs in early 1996. Most of the bands on it had played live with New Day Rising and three of the bands on here were ones he played in at one point (Acrid, New Day Rising and Sun Still Burns). Right off the bat, Gorilla Warfare Records promised to release it (as they had also promised to release the New Day Rising/Hourglass split 12″,  the New Day Rising “Live” 12″ and the Gates of Dawn/Blake split 7″). The initial line up of bands featured Acrid, Blake, Bree, Eliot Rosewater, Gates of Dawn, Grade, Holocron, Montgomery 21, New Day Rising, Seer, Shoulder and Sprucehill.

Dave actually put together a 28 page zine-type booklet (8.5 x 11). Unfortunately I don’t know what the booklet comprised of, but I assume it would have been similar to the Empathy “Under the Lost Smile” LP booklet, perhaps even influenced by it, as it was in the same format. The compilation masters were ready to go, but Gorilla Warfare, unsurprisingly, couldn’t release it anymore. Dave was determined to get it out so he shopped it around for a few months, but it wasn’t getting picked up (I can’t figure out why?).

Dave then decided he would put it out himself and set up a series of benefit shows for the benefit compilation. The first took place on January 11th 1997 at “The Church” in Mississauga and featured Karenza, The Far Outs, Eliot Rosewater, Montgomery 21, Shoulder and Grade. The second took place on January 25th 1997 at the Oakville YMCA, where Mad Hatters, Racer, Jersey, Blake and Despair played. Dave Buschemeyer, along with Neil Rodman from Acrid and the occasional help from Mike Charette from Ignorance Never Settles, was responsible for booking almost all the shows at The Church. Before these two shows, Dave also made a speech about the importance of The Animal Defense League and the compilation. He also wrote a statement on the bottom of the show flyer, which is as follows:

“Originally, I was supposed to put out a benefit compilation for The Animal Defense League. Financial problems postponed this project and now is the time to get it rolling. The proceeds from these shows will go directly into the pressing of this record. Eventually the profits from this compilation will go directly to the Animal Defense League. Your attendance to these shows are very much appreciated by The Animal Defense League and I. Thank You”

Benefit for the Animal Defense League Compilation, January 11th and 25th 1997. With Karenza, The Far Outs, Eliot Rosewater, Montgomery 21, Shoulder, Grade, The Mad Hatters, Racer, Jersey, Blake and Despair.

Benefit for the Animal Defense League Compilation, January 11th and 25th 1997. With Karenza, The Far Outs, Eliot Rosewater, Montgomery 21, Shoulder, Grade, The Mad Hatters, Racer, Jersey, Blake and Despair.

By then three more bands had been added; Burst of Silence, Mad Hatters and Sun Still Burns, while Eliot Rosewater was eventually dropped, to bring it to 14 songs. Dave was helping Mad Hatters out financially for them to record a song for the comp while he took songs from the back catalog of Sun Still Burns and Burst of Silence, as both bands had broken up. He finally found interest from Freedom Tripodi who ran Struggle Records. This was going to be the label’s 10th output (STG010) and was well into 1997. Struggle Records was planning to fold but advertised the benefit compilation as being its final, farewell release. But Mad Hatters ended up never recording the song and whether this issue played a leading factor or not, Dave dropped the compilation completely. Oddly enough, Struggle Records’ website did advertise it as if it was released.

Struggle Records website statement:


This Canadian allstar disk features tracks by: ACRID, BLAKE, BREE, BURSTS OF SILENCE, GATES OF DAWN, GRADE, HOLOCRON, MAD HATTERS, MONTGOMERY 21, NEW DAY RISING, SEER, SHOULDER, SPRUCE HILL, SUN STILL BURNS. Comes with 28 page full sized (8 1/2 X 11) booklet.

With the release of the Canadian Animal Defense League Benefit CD, the struggle will continue, however Struggle Records will not.”

I’ve asked around in hope to find more information about this but most people don’t even remember it ever existing. Thankfully some people did remember it and it is with their help that this post is able to document this compilation. Within those people, only a small handful were able to help me find out what songs their bands sent for this release. Other times, I was able to find lost archives which pointed the finger to which song would have been used.

*1: recorded song exclusively for the compilation
*2: sent in an exclusive song which was previously recorded
*3: sent in a song which was not exclusive
  1. Acrid – “Ocular Lesions” (*2, eventually released on “Sea of Shit”)
  2. Blake
  3. Bree – “763 Donkey” (*1, never released)
  4. Burst of Silence
  5. Grade – “We’ll Get There, Just Not Yet” (*1, eventually released on many different compilations and album reissues)
  6. Eliot Rosewater – “Wave Your Hand Like a Shark Fin” (*1, never released)
  7. Gates of Dawn
  8. Holocron – “…The Hand That Feeds” (*1, never released)
  9. Mad Hatters
  10. Montgomery 21
  11. New Day Rising – “Naked” (*1, eventually released on “We Cannot Know How Much Blood it Costs”)
  12. Seer – “New Song” (*3, intended for their unreleased 1996 EP)
  13. Shoulder – “This Is Not An Exit” (*3, also intended for a Rhythm of Sickness compilation, never released)
  14. Sprucehill
  15. Sun Still Burns – “No Shame” (*3, released on their self-titled 1994 demo)