Long Island thrash band Extinction A.D. have just released their third album, Culture of Violence, on a new label. They used to be on Good Fight, and now they’re on Unique Leader. They’ve always combined old-school thrash (the title track from their debut, 2015’s Faithkiller, is straight from 1984, riff-wise, and frontman Rick Jimenez even unleashes a James Hetfield-esque “oh yeah”) with floor-punching hardcore of the Sick Of It All/Breakdown/Cro-Mags school, and they haven’t magically become a tech-death band on album #3. They’ve just gotten better at doing what they do.
Culture of Violence comes rocketing out of the gate; its opening title track rides a jackhammering beat that shifts up and down between headlong thrash and slower, more rhythmically supple groove sections. Here and throughout the album, Jimenez’ vocals are a hoarse cry that blend raw fury with a more refined emotional edge that recalls Slipknot‘s Corey Taylor at certain points, but also takes a lot from Testament‘s Chuck Billy (see below), while the rest of the band (guitarist Ian Cimaglia, bassist Tom Wood, and drummer Mike Sciulara) deliver hardcore-style gang shouts in the back.
Another standout track is “Mastic,” which features a thunderous performance from Sciulara, a massive bass break prior to a thrillingly harmonized, shredtastic guitar solo, and a brutal, pit-inciting chorus. This might be Extinction A.D. at their most punishing, but the energy level never flags throughout the album; the next track, “1992,” is even faster and just as hard-driving. No ballads, no atmospheric interludes, just ten tracks of face-punching hardcore/thrash in 38 minutes. If this is for you, you know it. (Get it on Bandcamp.)
I recently sent Jimenez a few questions via email while the band was on a short tour. His answers are below.
In what ways is your new album better than its immediate predecessor?
I believe we’ve really come into our own on this album. We started this band pedal to the metal so we released stuff immediately upon our formation with not just the demo but then the first EP and full length. And even though it took a while to record our second full-length, almost all the songs that made up everything we released from 2013-2018 were written in a year or two of forming. This new record we spent a long time writing and refining and molding and recording and then rewriting etc. We took all the energy we’ve always had but focused it more and broke any rules that other people had put on us prior, even though we’ve ignored rules from the start. That’s the long answer. The short answer: we wrote better songs and performed them better.
Songs like “Culture of Violence” and “Heads Will Roll” have a lot of hardcore in them, but there’s still a lot of ’80s thrash in your sound. Are you basically genre agnostic as a writer — is it just “best riff wins”?
Oh yeah, I definitely don’t give a shit what genre tag we get. Our influences are on our sleeve. Punk, hardcore, metal… it’s all spun into one big pile of shit and put through the filter of angry NYers and that’s XAD.
What’s your favorite riff or guitar solo on this album, and why?
Favorite guitar solo is Ian’s from “Mastic” for sure. That shit slams and soars at the same time. A second for me is selfishly the one I did on the record; the second solo in “Behind the Times.” I’m real proud of that one. Favorite riff, fuck, that’s a hard question. Maybe the ass beating four-on-the-floor stomp during “1992” or the shreddy thrash riff in “Dominion” after the first vocal part. My favorite face-smasher fist-of-fury riff on the album is that shit at the end of “Heads Will Roll.”
One thing I haven’t seen commented on too much in the few reviews I’ve read is that your use of backing vocals (and some of the lead vocal cadences, too) reminds me quite strongly of Testament. Are they a big influence on you?
Huge. Chuck Billy is my favorite metal vocalist aside from Dio but maybe even just up there with him. Dude is a machine that can do EVERYTHING. His melody choices and harmony choices are very influential to me. Not even something I do on purpose, just kind of how I hear vocals. I spent a lot of time and effort on vocal patterns, melodies and harmonies and they definitely go overlooked more than not because of the aggression behind the screaming and the harshness of my “singing.” But there’s straight up some Kansas shit on the record that isn’t always recognized. The chorus of “Thirteen” has a three-part harmony. The chorus of “Star Strangled Banner” is almost at the top of my range with the 5th harmony I went with.
What’s the age cutoff when a man needs to get out of the pit and go stand at the back with his arms folded?
Never. So long as you’re having fun and have some Klingon battle joy in your heart, you can go wherever you want when we play
The last interview I did was with a NJ band called Hath, and they gave me five reasons that NJ > NY. (Read their answers here.) So here’s your prompt: What’s So Great About Long Island, Anyway?
Well I’m not gonna argue with anyone pointing out the flaws of NY. But for the sake of being a nice guy instead of a prick, here are some positives about Long Island… there’s always a 7-11 real close with a large selection of energy drinks, there’s always a gym within a few miles of where you are, the best barbers are on LI, people are usually in a rush which is good because I am too and have no time for meandering, and most importantly, VOD.