Review: “Sever The Chord” by Extortionist

The follow up to their 2017 full debut “The Decline” sees Coeur D’Alene Idaho Deathcore quartet Extortionist signing to Stay Sick Recordings

Thundering in like your neighbors bulldog at the postman’s ankles “Bad Vibes” delivers an opening crunch that drops off to a very old school KoRn bass click-y bass and atmospheric, accompanied by a vocal that is almost so Jonathan Davis that you double take. That steps back into the Kublai Khan esq chug of the opening before slowing down to some downtempo chugging with anvil heavy kit work. The Deathcore growl drop is in stark contrast to the Davis part and a true brutal moment. “Chokehold” raises the pace with some more Kublai Khan esq grooves and some pummellingly good kit work. Lyrically introspective with plenty of bark and bite it doesn’t contain that melodic drop and instead embraces some hardcore punk speed! “Death Remains” is another battering ram of a song that uses lead work to create an atmospheric swirl over the chugging breakdown riffs. Again slowing down to that downtempo for the closing almost spoken word makes for a fine moment. The Deathcore growls of “Stray Dogs” come up against the savage barked unclean of a heavier Metallic Hardcore vocal creating a great contrast while some big flat hits on something like a beer keg in the drum sound add that charm.

Diving head long into clean vocals “Pressure” has a sung almost spoken word and a melodic clean bark that create a sense of tension before the breakdown kicks in with a return to the core heavy sound. Lyrically talking about being lost in all directions and not knowing where to go or what to do, it’s one that will resonate. In some ways it seems like a single track, at odds with the rest. It sure as hell isn’t a gateway track for people to get into the band as it’s at contrast with the other tunes in a big way. It does act as a calm moment to break up the battering ram of other material but also manages to keep the flow by using decent pacing. In the context of the album “No Soul” is one of the more brutal cuts. Using stuccato riffage and some powerhouse kit work to balance of the Nu-Metal inspired lyrics in a short sharp Metallic Hardcore burst. Groove guitar laiden “Low Like You” changes the vocals to a wordy rap scream that is remanicent of the “Insolent” era Bloodline sound. An anthem about earning respect it’s one that grows on you with repeated listens. “Intuition Knows” is another surprise tune from Extortionist. A “Facelift” era Alice In Chains vibe in a modern context is the last thing you might expect on what is essentially a Metallic Hardcore album, but here it is and it works very well. The chugging rhythm guitars bring things together while the leads add the flavour to the clean vocal. A song about a broken relationship it’s an entertaining tale that demonstrates plenty of storytelling ability and musicianship to match.

Raising back to the heavier groove of the earlier tracks with unclean rap screams “World of Deceit” tears with thunderous cymbal crashes and some brutal footwork on the kit. Breaking up the riffs with some bouncey bass before a handbrake stop it’s one that adds to that satisfying crunch factor. Album titled track “Sever The Chord” is one that sums up the bands sound and direction as a heavy end Metallic Hardcore band rather than standing out above the pack. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still a solid immovable object but it ain’t massively different. “Pain and Separation” has something of the Earth Caller sound to it with some ill fitting lead worth that sounds uncomfortable in the mix of riff slabs during the chorus. So of kilter that it almost sounds out of tune it must be an element that is designed for that discomfort, but actually it’s an experiment that falls flat and that is a real shame. Closing in style with a round house kick in the face of a song “The Ones You Love Will Leave” brings a savage beating to your ear drums. Again it’s one where the tempo shifts make a a real difference and that closing Deathcore growl adds weight and gravity.

Having been released in the same week at the Degrader album and having some similar elements but seemingly without the big single, this one may have been overlooked by some. It is a fine offering and the shortfalls of the Degrader release are the strengths of this one. The mixture of styles doesn’t changing the energy and there is plenty of skill on show [7/10]

Track listing

  1. “Bad Vibes”
  2. “Chokehold”
  3. “Death Remains”
  4. “Stray Dogs”
  5. “Pressure”
  6. “No Soul”
  7. “Low Like You”
  8. “Intuition Knows”
  9. “World of Deceit”
  10. “Sever The Chord”
  11. “Pain and Separation”
  12. “The Ones You Love Will Leave”

“Sever The Chord” by Extortionist is out now and available via Stay Sick Recordings

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