Culture Of Violence

Unique Leader
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Culture of Violence
02. Dominion
03. Thirteen
04. Mastic
05. 1992
06. Heads Will Roll
07. Behind the Times
08. Star Strangled Banner
09. Praise the Fraud
10. National Disaster

These are heady days for thrash metal, not least because we seem to be entering a new Cold War. EXTINCTION A.D. released an absolute face-ripper of an EP last year, and since global events have taken yet another turn for the worse, a full-length from these militant destroyers would seem to be exactly what everyone needs. Laudably livid from start to finish, "Culture of Violence" lives up to its title.

Maybe it's a sign of the times, but EXTINCTION A.D. have the same sledgehammer intensity that has propelled the likes of POWER TRIP and ENFORCED to metallic prominence. Everything from the opening title track, replete with brilliantly odd breakdown, to "National Disaster"'s visceral climax, is delivered with maximum brute force, and a stellar raw-meets-cutting-edge production only serves to reinforce this band's collective power.

The best songs here offer audacious hybrids of old- and new-school brutality, with inspired touches, like the skewed SLAYER motif that erupts during "Thirteen"'s raging beatdown, adding to an all-encompassing vibe. The genuinely startling "Mastic" is EXTINCTION A.D. at their most feral and uncompromising, while "1992" is a dizzying blur of mutant crossover tropes and lobotomized gang vocals. Nearly all of it is hellishly catchy, not least the swaggering, spiky singalong of "Star Strangled Banner", but also audibly rooted in the pomp and precision of traditional metal. That genre-straddling aptitude is showcased most impressively on "Behind the Times", a scintillating amalgam of TESTAMENT-style thrash, metallic hardcore punch and wild, virtuoso soloing, it's a superbly crafted metal song with hooks galore and choking levels of low-end crunch. The rest aren't too far behind either, with the breakneck "Praise the Fraud" and nailed-on crowd-pleaser "Dominion" standing out as particularly suitable soundtracks for doing backflips off the furniture. Even the hulking, mid-paced "Heads Will Roll" contributes to the carnage.

Above all, "Culture of Violence" gets to the point and hammers it home with heroic force.

Wrapped up in a nobly economical 38 minutes, it amounts to one lethally effective wake-up call, in true thrash metal tradition.

Author: Dom Lawson
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