Extinction A.D. – Culture Of Violence
Thrash/Groove/Crossover from Long Island, NY
Releases March 18th via Unique Leader Records
Let’s just get this out of the way, Extinction A.D. don’t really do anything you won’t have heard before – at least not if you’ve had even a passing familiarity with metal and hardcore over the past four decades. The Long Island four-piece are no doubt well aware that their mix of thrash, groove metal and hardcore has been done before, but they certainly don’t let take away from just how bloody good they are at it all.
Anyone familiar with any of the band’s previous output should be completely unsurprised to learn that their new record, entitled Culture Of Violence, is a total rager. Honestly, there isn’t much of a story here, just a rock solid band delivering ten full-throttle thrashings over a bulletproof 40-minute runtime. It’s the kind of record that should have you quickly reaching for bands like Metallica, Sepultura and Power Trip – not so much to make overly bold quality comparisons but in that it reminds you of just how good thrash metal and its various descendents can be.
As for individual tracks, you can’t really go wrong with any of what’s on offer here. Opening with title track “Culture Of Violence”, the uninitiated should quickly get a good idea of just what it is Extinction A.D. do best: blistering thrashy riffs, harsh barked vocals, and huge, crushing breakdowns. “Dominion” kicks things up a notch from there, its rapid double kicks driving along another propulsive masterclass in modern thrash. Everything else follows in a similar vein, with each track seemingly designed to incite pit-spinning and headbanging in equal measure. Coming in towards the record’s end is “Praise The Fraud”, a track whose massive chorus groove turns it into a firm overall highlight.
One thing that really does stand out on Culture Of Violence is the guitar work. Of course, Rick Jimenez and Ian Cimaglia both absolutely nail it on the riff front, but it’s Cimaglia’s lead work that arguably steals the show. Near enough every track boasts a lightning fast solo, with the band also sensibly keeping most of these relatively brief so as not to kill the momentum for the sake of technical wizardry. It all sounds great too, the band comfortably avoiding any of the production complaints levelled at their 80s forebears with a crystal clear sound that bears just enough grit to prevent things sounding plastic.
Also elevating the overall quality of this record is its powerful political bite. Having prided themselves on their outspoken nature for a while now, this again should come as little surprise to long-time listeners. Perhaps the most politically-charged track of all is the excellent recent single “1992”, which sees Jimenez drawing parallels between the current situation in the US and that of the song’s titular year, during which the LA Riots took place following the acquittal of four LAPD officers charged with using excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King. Jimenez doesn’t mince his words here, and he’s absolutely spot on: (“The epitaph on the tombstone/“This is America, this is a warzone””)
THE BOTTOM LINE
To be honest, it’s hard to think of many metal fans who won’t at least get some enjoyment out of this record. It’s heavy enough to please those with more extreme inclinations, while also providing a furiously fun thrashing for those who prefer things a little lighter. The only real black mark against it is the aforementioned fact that it’s pretty much all been done before, but when the execution is this good there’s really not much point complaining. This is politically-charged, technically proficient and all-round well-crafted thrash that sounds great and feels even better.