Because Extremity features everyone’s favorite Cosmic Hearse pusher Aesop Dekker (VHOL, ex-Agalloch, ex-Ludicra, etc.) on drums, you were bound to hear them eventually. But the sooner you get to know these Oakland-based bringers of unmitigated death metal the better. Because on their debut album, the perfectly titled Extremely Fucking Dead, Extremity roll out 5 tracks (plus an intro) of ungodly morbid destruction. Whether rending limbs with trem-picked, blastbeat-riddled dirges reminiscent of old school NYDM, or pummeling your brainmeat until it bruises and calcifies into something like caveman coprolite, a la early Grave, Extremity clearly know their way around death metal.
Besides the aforementioned Aesop Dekker, Extremity consists of Shelby Lermo (also of Vastum) on guitars and vocals, Cretin’s Marissa Martinez-Hoadley also on guitars and vocals, and on bass, Erika Osterhout (check out: Femacoffin, Necrosic, Trepanation). With such a veteran line-up, how could Extremity’s debut be anything but consummately composed metal of death, from start to finish? And yet it’s truly something even more. If you’re wondering what that something is, then you’re in luck. We’ve got the exclusive premiere of (arguably) the best song on Extremely Fucking Dead—at least one of the best, because they’re honestly all ridiculous. Plus! We reached out to Erika Osterhout and Marissa Martinez-Hoadley to bring all you ravenous death fiends the intracranial scoop on “Chalice of Pus.”
So, what motivates you personally to make death metal?
Osterhout: There’s that moment when you’re watching or listening to a band and you just can’t hold back or restrain yourself anymore. It’s just what you wanted to hear whether you knew it or not and it gets stuck in your head for the rest of the night, days, and sometimes weeks. That happens to me with death metal, and I want to be able to create music that does that for other people. It’s also indescribable to be onstage and see everyone’s heads banging, hair flying, fists pumping in the air, people singing along, air-guitaring, etc. to music that you’re playing. There’s really nothing like it and I can’t get enough of it.
Martinez-Hoadley: Honestly, the thing that motivates me the most to keep making music are the friendships that come out of being in a band. I mean, the music has been a major part of my identity for the past 25+ years. But, I really enjoy the camaraderie and friendships that come out of playing music with other people.
Who came up with the amazing title for “Chalice of Pus?”
Martinez-Hoadley: Hahaha! Either Shelby or Aesop came up with the title. All of the songs had titles before they had lyrics just so we could identify them with something better that “Song1”, “Song2”, etc. I figured they were just temporary titles, but in most cases Shelby used them as a basis for the lyrics. This song is one where the name never changed.
In your opinion, how does “Chalice of Pus” compare to “Crepuscular Crescendo,” and also with the rest of EFD?
Martinez-Hoadley: From the start “Chalice” is a faster, more aggressive track than “Crepuscular”. We open it with a blast beat and a scream. It alternates between that fast riff and a really heavy, what Aesop likes to call “ignorant” riff. The chorus riff kind of reminds me of the Twilight Zone theme, which leads to the break riff, which is pretty thrashy. In the middle of the song we break down into a finger-picked melody.
I think the song fits perfectly in the album. Every song varies enough from the others that they all support each other.
There’s this Gothic interlude right smack in the middle of “Chalice of Pus.” Can you talk about what inspired such a part as that? Were you channeling some early Anathema or what?
Osterhout: Shelby had already written that interlude into the song by the time it was presented to us, so your guess is as good as mine. The layering didn’t feel as strong to me until we got into the studio. I’d mess around with fills at rehearsals, but wasn’t sure what fit into it for me until the actual recording. I figured we could ditch my noodling and simplify if it sounded too hectic with everything else. I don’t know about the rest of the band, but I was a little surprised at the depth of that part by the time everyone’s tracks were finished. It all came together pretty well.
Is the chalice of pus from this song merely that, a chalice of pus, or is it a gross name for something more banal that we might find ourselves around every day?
Osterhout: It’s the official beverage of the “Death Metal Dads” podcast and only the most infernal nightcap for all the demon dads of DM! DRINK UP!!
All West Coast supplicants need to catch Extremity on tour with Asphyx this spring.
- 4/25/2017 The Brick – San Diego, CA
- 4/26/2017 The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
- 4/27/2017 The Metro – Oakland, CA
- 4/28/2017 The Raven – Portland, OR
- 4/29/2017 The Highline – Seattle, WA
- 4/30/2017 The Rickshaw Theatre – Vancouver, BC