Extinction Agenda - Inter Arma Silent Leges
Extinction Agenda is one of those ‘one album wonder’ speed thrash bands in the early 2000s that never really took of running and faded into obscurity. Only releasing and EP and a demo between 2004 and 2007 before splitting up, it seems recently that the Massachusetts band has reformed and done a few shows, so it is only fitting that their music be re-released and remembered almost 16 years later. Over this gap of time the members have gone off and done other projects that have stayed roughly in the thrash genre area, some branching out to hardcore, but even in these other works the core sound of Extinction Agenda can be heard, even if faintly.
The 2022 release is more of a collection of their demo and EP, so nothing new, but a chance for those who have never heard them before to get their hands of the music. The barks of vocalist Devon Smails supported by the guitar assault of Brian Izzi and Scott DeFusco along with the drums is pretty solid. The distinction of the quality of the two is pretty clear. The first 3 tracks are gritty, fuzzy, but feature the old school thrash style of Exodus that has been loved by so many with that late 80s/ early 90s sound. The percussive drums and groove on ‘Inter Arma Silent Leges’ drives right along followed by the rather echoing ‘Trafficking Apathy’ that still features plenty of groove. Then there’s the speeding ‘Creature Of Unconscious Design’ which echoes of more modern thrash by letting up the pace a bit with a bit more of a Kreator sound to it but doesn’t betray the old school roots.
The tracks from “The Grace Defiled” EP are a little more polished and a little louder. ‘Patron Saint Of Chainsaws’ is biting, loud, and the vocals have a little bit of a hardcore influence to them. There is also a bit more liveliness to the track compared to the demo; while still being gritty the groove is a bit more upbeat, almost groove metal based, and the speed thrash elements are a little more restrained. ‘The Grace Defiled’ is probably the heaviest track on the album with the tone of the guitars and just sheer brutal attitude, almost coming more like death metal vs. thrash with the lack of groove here. Thankfully ‘Methedrine Angel’ kicks things back into familiar territory despite being mid paced. Then there is the closer ‘Mock Samaritan’ which is a hybrid of Obituary inspired death metal and Testament led thrash which has a ton going for it with the guitar melodies and is well worth the wait of the 7 tracks.
Overall, fans who know of the band get nothing new save the hope for a new album in the future. It doesn’t feature anything that hasn’t been heard before , but new listeners who enjoy thrash mixed with some death metal here and there will find it a respite from the typical Vader or Slayer outlet. It is a quick listen, but worth the ride.
3 / 5 STARS
Oct 17, 2022