Review: Extinguish ‘Extinguish’ EP

Sacramento’s Extinguish are relatively new having only formed in 2017, so new in fact that their only prior releases have been a two-track 2018 promo and a two-track 2017 demo. Extinguish represents the band’s proper debut release via Creator-Destructor, home of such outfits as Mohicans, Scalp, Hellhorse and other gems from the underground metal/hardcore scenes.

Extinguish 'Extinguish'

The band are a five-piece consisting of Eric Anderson – drums, Damian Grellus – guitar, Gedily Santa Elena – guitar, Jose Bermudez – bass and Ian Bouchard on vocals. The EPs artwork comes courtesy of London based artist Nicky Rat whose previous works include Power Trip’s Live in Seattle:05.28.2018 and Clock of Time’s Pestilent Planet, to name two. The cover has a gory lo-fi death metal demo vibe which recalls any number of 1980s underground tape trading releases and gives you a hint as to what the EP may sound like.

Opener Final Sin has a slow burning Obituary style feel combined with particularly harsh brutal vocals. Without a lyric sheet to hand, it’s hard to discern precisely what is raising Ian’s ire, however the promo-notes inform us that broadly speaking the themes are related to ‘corrupt police, politicians and lack of faith in humanity’ as well as the struggle of ‘maintaining your sanity when all systems of infrastructure are broken and seemingly hopeless, creating an apocalyptic mental state which one must climb through every day, just to survive’. The track also features ripping hardcore and breakdowns, both of which are guaranteed to get the pit moving once gigs properly resume again.

Unconquered features shades of vintage Slayer, particularly Mandatory Suicide from the criminally overlooked South of Heaven album. Illusion of Power (not to be confused with the dreadful Black Sabbath/Ice-T collaboration of the same name), starts with a deceptive jazz style cymbal swell. The track, despite its brief length, features some interesting time signatures which keep you on your toes throughout, we aren’t talking about Mahavishnu Orchestra of course, but it does make for a nice diversion.

As someone who has been listening to hardcore… for over 20 years, I found this EP to be an invigorating and exciting listen…

Blood Runs Cold is the shortest track on the EP and features some excellent double kick drum action and considering this is their first proper release, one can only be impressed by the tight musicianship displayed here. Musically I am reminded of straight-edge legends Earth Crisis, with the vocals particularly reminding me of Karl Buechner from around the time of the Slither album, that saw them moving into controversial ‘nu-metal’ territory.

Only Silence sees the band embracing a slower, doomier approach for parts of the track and which serves to further enhance the band’s trademark intense metallic hardcore. The groove on The Judge, the longest track on the album, is absolutely infectious, bringing to mind Biohazard at their early to mid 90s best, and coincidently the piano led outro is something which Billy Graziadei would have penned during that period such as on Love Denied and Scarred for Life. After such a ferocious and unrelenting listening experience this part of the track helps conclude the EP on a necessarily sombre, calmer and low key note.

As someone who has been listening to hardcore, in all its various incarnations, for over 20 years, I found this EP to be an invigorating and exciting listen. Indeed, the music has such a muscular feel and the sound so ‘phat’ that it may make for ideal weightlifting music. This is a release that will make fans of Merauder, Earth Crisis, All Out War and very early Hatebreed (Satisfaction is the Death of Desire) sit up and take notice.

Label: Creator-Destructor Records
Band Links: Bandcamp | Twitter

Scribed by: Reza Mills