"Old School Death Metal" is a commonly discussed sub-subgenre these days, and it gives one a ballpark estimation and idea of what they're getting into. The tag brings to mind the aggressive and horrific sounds of AUTOPSY, DEATH or BOLT THROWER—or BLOOD INCANTATION as far as newer bands taking cue from the elders—rather than, say, a contemporary tech death outfit like ARCHSPIRE or BEYOND CREATION. But the fact of the matter is that whether new or old, the artists that tap into the darker side of existence, touching upon subject matter ranging from bloodshed to mysticism and the occult and more, are ones forwarding Timeless Death Metal.
One of the more impressive, newer purveyors of this style is Oakland's EXTREMITY. The band has only been in existence for a couple of years, releasing an EP entitled "Extremely Fucking Dead" last year, yet it isn't really new in the realm of underground metal. Drummer Aesop Dekker has served time in numerous bands including AGALLOCH, KHORADA, VHOL, LUDICRA and WORM OUROBOROS, while guitarist/vocalist Marissa Martinez-Hoadley has led death hymns for CRETIN for decades, in addition to her involvement with none other than REPULSION and EXHUMED. Shelby Lermo, also responsible for guitars and singing, has performed with many bands, including the impressive death metal entity VASTUM. Impressive resume credentials aside, what matters most is that EXTREMITY's debut long player is a memorable rager.
The tools of the trade and the sounds of steel are familiar enough, but EXTREMITY stands above the pack because of its distinct songwriting and lively and dexterous performance. This form of timeless and true death metal is certainly in vogue these days, and many bands capture desirable sounds, yet the majority are awash with monotonous and/or poorly written songs. EXTREMITY's songs, on the other hand, have the ability to drill through listeners' skulls and embed itself to the grey matter.
The preliminary winding riff of "Like Father Like Son" slithers like a snake seeking its prey in a manner that's just as menacing as it is memorable, quickly merging into a more frantic and upbeat riff that's equally appealing. That's before the group shifts gears into overdrive, later slowing things down to an evocative, soulful, doom-like crawl. EXTREMITY has a keen sense of songcraft. It has enough changes to keep things interesting, knowing when to utilize ideas for maximum effect without overusing them, and "Coffin Birth" is much more than a collection of riffs.
Multiple listens are required to begin to grasp the depth and dynamics at hand. The paradox of EXTREMITY is that the members are seasoned musicians who write songs with a sense of musical maturity, while the content and sound is raw, primal and filthy in a way that is typically associated with more youthful artists. However, one may wish to describe the unit, death metal fans simply need to listen to EXTREMITY.