The Monday Grind: EXTORTION's Blasty Wall of Rage Will Make You Sick
It’s Monday and Mondays suck, so let’s grind it out with Extortion’s Sick.
There’s no anniversary for this album or anything, so there’s no real occasion to spotlight it. I pulled it out of my record collection over the weekend, and along with that every other piece of vinyl I have by the band. I don’t why this band ever fell out of rotation. I guess not putting out any new material will do that sometimes.
Sick is about getting bird flu and dying over the course of fifteen-tracks. Anyone who had heard Extortion previous to this release knew that the band had a preference for the brutal. The less sarcastic, but still sometimes darkly comedic, Raymond Pettibon style artwork adds to the band’s mood. And Sick as an album encompasses much of what the band was all about: savage, brutish, short and intense.
“H5N1” opens the album with a few coughs. Just to get you into the concept before going off the rails. Extortion just slam you with a thrashy, blasty wall of rage. It’s fast and way more metal than their previous release Degenerate. In fact, you might say the album is also a lot more grindcore influenced than previous releases.
The second track, “Infection”, gets the concept rolling. While the first track is like the harbinger in a Friday the 13th film, the concept, or story, actually begins with the second track. The virus has landed and the track has a tasty little guitar lick running through it.
It’s “Phone in Sick” that displays the humor Extortion has. You could probably read those lyrics right back to your employer and get the day off. Actually, you should do that. The conversation has a friendly, dismissive, joking tone. But once we’re past this it’s a constant downward slope for our victim. Not for the music though.
Extortion play with moods a lot in here. While frustration runs rampant on “Medicated” and “Vomit”, two very fast, raging tracks, it’s when band slows down that things get more serious. “Bedridden” is lethargic, never picking up the pace. It tosses and turns with clenched fists but stays sludgy. “Body Failure”, the album’s longest track is a slow as hell ride that feels like it’s barely twitching as the infect vessel slowly shuts down.
There are faster pieces in between. “Last Breath” is a blaring speed-freak and “Losing Battle” is frustrated and thrashing with all the energy it can muster. It breaks down and roars in the midst of its battle. And as we already know, the war is lost despite its efforts.
Sick is one of Extortion’s strongest albums. It remains filthy and old school as much of their discography always does. Though their rawest album will always be Terminal Cancer (my personal favorite). If Extortion somehow passed you by in the mid-late 2000s, then it’s time you got into this. These guys are one of the best bands to come out hardcore/punk/grindcore. Sick is intense, filthy and sure to please the metalheads and the hardcore/punks. And if you did phone in sick today…