I remember first hearing the name R.A.M.B.O. from a friend of the band while hanging out in Philadelphia in the mid-‘00s. What? Costumes at shows? Political lyrics? Sorry, if you need me I’ll be here in my utterly original EMPEROR shirt and equally individualistic corpse paint, thanks. Then I listened.

Wall Of Death The System sold me, elements of SACRILEGE demos, a smattering of AGNOSTIC FRONT/SOIA and even a dash of MENTORS when it came to the sense of skewed humor reminding that there are things to be taken with a dead seriousness as well as to be mocked because of how “serious” they take themselves. I won’t pretend to have stuck with the handful-ish of releases over time, but definitely have revisited.

And here they are again, defying extinction with the aptly named Defy Extinction. ‘River Of Birds’ lures us in before slamming the door on the cargo van shut and subjecting ears one and all to the glorious chaos that is this sort of music when done with passion and credibility. Lost count of string scrapes even by the start of ‘Who Let The Sheepdogs Out?’, rife with d-beat, down/de-tuned bass and the SHEER TERROR / ROGER MIRET nods in the vocal style of Tony Croasdale.

‘Imperialist Pigs In Space’ is harrowing sonically, something sounding disjointed in an uncanny valley way. It seems like it “should” be faster or slower, but here it is in this grim nether, and is the creepier for it, ideal for those who let music affect them on a gut level. The title track is anthemic, piles of bodies in a heaving pit screaming the chorus back at the band by halfway through even though no one’s heard the damn song before, and that’s where hardcore shines when done right, my boys. That’s when it’s a fuckin’ community. Damn shame humanity can’t seem to get there, huh?

In all, anyone who’s ever enjoyed punk or hardcore in any permutation should be grinding right along from start to finish in this short but focused return to a form that never really got left behind for the members of R.A.M.B.O. Defy Extinction, indeed.
Review By: Lord Randall

Defy Extinction
4 / 6