At this time the band was self-destructing with drug stints and jail time. In late 1996, the Crusher returned invigorated with a new understanding of itself, where it has gained praise and momentum since, with the addition of HFL's, Pat Hall and the amazing Noah Lysek on drums, they went in the studio to record and produced one of OC's greatest recordings to date, this session went on to become the Animal ep and No Escape, both on Hostage records. Every band has a defining moment, a point at which things can never be the same, and never go back to what they were...it can either ruin or make you. For Bonecrusher, their defining moment did both, simultaneously. It was one of those, "battle of the punk bands" shows at Malone's Club in Anaheim, put on to showcase the locals. The Crusher showed up and proceeded to absolutely blow it out, and the frenzied crowd followed suit, a sea of people out of control. The club owners freaked, and pulled the PA plug, an undaunted Raybo, continued to wail the vocals, along with the crowd, sans a microphone, and the palace exploded with energy and chaos.
The club owners called the police, who shut the club down and of course, the band came in 2nd place, they lost points for the riot. The band had solidified their spot in OC punk lore, however, now no promoter would touch them, it was a year before their next show. In 1997, they finally got another live gig, at the now defunct, Clipper in Long Beach, which was promoted by Outsider. The band pumped with a year's worth of frustration, delivered in grand fashion, in fact Outsider was so impressed, they immediately stuck the band in the studio, to record what became the legendary Angry Youth single, released on their own label. Until the club's demise, the Crusher was somewhat of a house band, playing for free, once a month opening and proceeding to smoke a whole slew of headliners like the US BOMBS, Mindrot and the Battalion of Saints Maximum Rock and Roll, Flipside, Skratch and 3rd Generation Nation magazines all began to rally around the band with great reviews and feature interviews, mid 1998 found the Crush back in the studio recording for their much anticipated follow-up CD, in true Bonecrusher fashion, they decided to do it themselves.
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