Album Review: Extremity – “Extremely Fucking Dead”

12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}

It should be no surprise that death metal and black metal are the two genres I frequent the most, yet what draws me to death metal artists and what draws me to black metal artists are often completely at odds. As I have mentioned previously, my favorite black metal bands tend to be those that take basic the formula of the genre and move it in a different direction, adding their own unique spin and often incorporating disparate elements in the music. With death metal, however, the more complex the music gets, the more I feel like it loses its soul. Give me boneheaded riffs with no frills and no junk and I’m a happy man. So when I say that Extremity‘s debut Extremely Fucking Dead is some of the most satisfying death metal I’ve heard in a long time, you should know what you’re getting into. But it is most definitely something you want to get into.  

EXTREMITY_2708_photo_by_Jehnifer_Mickalacki_Sublett_
Extremity

If you name your album Extremely Fucking Dead, you better not be pulling your punches. Luckily, the veterans who form the ranks of Extremity are more than capable of delivering on that promise. With vocals and guitars handled by Marissa Martinez-Hoadley of Cretin and Shelby Lermo of Vastum, bass work by Trepanation’s Erika Osterhout, and drums by Aesop Dekker of Vhöl, this release features a who’s-who of the Bay Area’s best and brightest. Yet even the talent found in the lineup can’t prepare you for just how good this album is. From the head banging madness of “Crepuscular Crescendo” to the crawling filth of “Chalice of Pus” to the pounding stomp of the title track, Extremely Fucking Dead is full of all the timeless hallmarks that you look for in a death metal album. The riffs here are, if you’ll pardon me, like an ever-flowing stream, a non-stop barrage of razor sharp filth that channels the simple brutality of early death metal, and Martinez-Hoadley and Lermo’s tag-team vocals sync together perfectly. The rhythm sections here are just as at the top of their game as anyone else, never falling out of step even during some of the crazier grinding moments of these songs.

What makes this release stand out for me, beyond simply stellar musicianship and songwriting, is just how much fun this album is. At its core, Extremely Fucking Dead is a love letter to everything that makes death metal great, played by people who have a genuine love and appreciation for the art. Listening to this feels like you’re sitting with a group of friends, albeit the most talented friends you have, jamming out and having a good time together, and that feeling is infectious. I listened to this album at my desk job and even in a public space I couldn’t help but thrash along, co-worker’s confused stares be damned.

More than just retro worship, more than even the sum of it’s parts, Extremity succeed in creating something that is instantly recognizable yet wholly unique. Everything from the riffs, to the cover art, to the album and song titles feels authentically death metal, and yet an album like Extremely Fucking Dead could only come from these particular musicians aligning themselves together to do what they do best.

Sometimes, dead really is better.

– Vincent


Extremely Fucking Dead will be available April 7 on 20 Buck Spin. For more information on Extremity visit their Facebook page.

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