Photo by Catherine Patchell
Interview with vocalist/guitarist Rick Jimenez | By Tim Anderl
Sometimes, a little change goes a long way. In the case of Extinction A.D., a little change is what it took to graduate from their hardcore band This Is Hell to a new, full-blown metal beast. Taking cues from powerhouse ‘80s era thrash and metal juggernauts, their forthcoming LP Faithkiller is a devastating debut that punches the genre into the 21st century. Recorded and mixed by Brett Romnes and mastered by Brad Boatright, Faithkiller hit the streets via Good Fight Music on August 21. Having spent the summer introducing their ferocious LP and the messages contained therein—“Trust no one!”—on a tour with Hawthorne Heights and Sleepwave, Extinction A.D. are chomping at the bit for the record’s release and anxious to return to the road.
Were you always a fan of thrash music? How did it shape you as a young musician?
My first exposure to anything thrash was Metallica and it changed my life. I liked rock bands like Guns ‘N Roses and Van Halen, and my favorite, until my exposure to Metallica, was Def Leppard. After I saw the video for “One,” the world opened up in a different way. After discovering Metallica and reading up on them in magazines like RIP, Circus, and the like, I found out about Megadeth, Testament, Anthrax, Exodus, Slayer… Faster and more evil was always the way to go with me. Those are still most of my favorite bands now.
What are your favorite thrash records?
Depends on how far your definition of thrash goes. [Metallica’s] …And Justice for All is my favorite piece of music of all time, but if that doesn’t fall under someone’s thrash banner, then [Slayer’s] Reign in Blood. It’s essentially untouchable even after all these years. It has every single thing I could possibly want from a thrash or metal album. Keeping it to one album per band, I prefer Anthrax’s State of Euphoria over Among the Living, by a hair. Megadeth’s Peace Sells gets the nod over Rust in Peace, just because we’re on the thrash tip and RIP is like the …And Justice for All of Megadeth’s discography. I also prefer [Metallica’s] Ride the Lightning to Master of Puppets. But I may prefer Kill ‘em All to Ride the Lightning. I honestly prefer Testament’s Low over any of their other releases, also. Man, I love metal.
When was Extinction A.D. conceptualized?
Essentially, the last few months, we were doing This Is Hell. We were burning out on it and the seeds for XAD were planted. We were leaning more metal towards the end, and I wanted to push it even further.
How does this band differ from This Is Hell?
It’s way more extreme across the board. Heavier, faster, angrier, hookier, shreddier… This Is Hell went more metal towards the end, but were stuck with the hardcore tag. We’ve exploded the walls of that box and exist solely as a metal band now.
When did you begin writing Faithkiller?
Some of these songs started to take form in late 2012 and were finalized once the band really took shape, but some were completed only a few months before recording. We write and we write and we write. We have another entire full-length and EP worth of material in the bank already.
Is there a theme or message you wanted to communicate with Faithkiller?
Every song has its own message, but overall, the theme of the record—and even the band so far—is that you absolutely cannot take anything at face value. You owe it to the world and yourself to question things and find truths and fight for them. Resistance is the truth.
Based on the title, one must assume you don’t practice a religious or spiritual faith, correct?
I hate the cliche “I’m not religious, but I’m spiritual.” I am absolutely 100 percent not religious. Am I spiritual? I don’t even know. It’s such a generalized term and can mean anything existential at this point. I am very cautious about what I put my faith in, though. And that’s across the board. Any ideal, situation, person… That comes from my life experience. I am a follower of logic and realistic thinking. Part of that is admitting often, “I do not know.” I’d much rather admit “I do not know” than follow any rhetoric—be it a religion, culture, or scene—to help guide me or keep me in some box of bullshit under some thumb of an authority or tastemaker.
How did you decide that Brett “Ratt” Romnes was the right engineer to work with? Did he lend anything to the creative process in the studio?
Oh, absolutely. We’re pretty stubborn guys, especially when it comes to our music, but when someone we like and respect offers suggestions, it behooves us to take it into consideration. Most of his creative input was on vocal melodies, which was super fun to work with and it took me out of my box a little bit. The occasional, “Hey, try going higher there,” or, “Don’t do the same shit you always do, try something better,” goes a long way. He has a great ear and understands not just metal and thrash, but music overall. Getting out of the box is always cool. We’ve known Ratt for years from I Am The Avalanche, and it was so fun to hang and record with him.
Was it different touring prior to the release of Faithkiller than in support of it? Do people know the material at all? What have their reactions been like?
The record comes out in another month, but we’ve been touring for a few months, playing the songs prerelease and trying to get the crowds warmed up to the stuff. It has been going well. The songs have a ton of energy and we exude that as well. People have become familiar with the songs that we’ve streamed on the net and especially the ones with videos, which is encouraging.
You recently completed a pretty diverse tour this summer with Hawthorne Heights and Sleepwave. Was it been challenging to win over that crowd or do you like playing with bands who are different?
Both. It is challenging, but I don’t fear that challenge. I believe in our music, message, and energy. We were the sorest thumb in the history of swollen appendages on that tour, and we’d win that crowd over in some way, shape, or form almost every night. Telling that crowd that, whether they knew it or not, for the next 30 minutes, they’re at a metal show, and having them circle pitting to a 200 bpm shredding guitar solo by set’s end… That’s fucking magic.
Did From Autumn To Ashes dropping off the tour affect the endeavor at all?
It did in a few ways. [They’re] good buddies of mine since the early 2000s, so personally, I was bummed. Some draws were affected and some venues were changed, but overall, it was still great and made space for locals, which I always love to have. Each scene needs to have a local or two on the national shows. It keeps bands encouraged and the local scene thriving, which makes it possible for national tours to even have a place to play. Our tourmates were all great. It’s always your hope to get along with the bands and make friends, but it doesn’t always click, especially when you’re all from way different schools of sound and thought, but we were all buddies by tour’s end. They’re dudes I’d be psyched to see again, band or otherwise.
Will you be back out after the record is released?
Our goal is to be out playing shows and raising Cain as much as humanly possible, and making sure we can get our music, message, and special brand of metal out to everyone on this earth and beyond.
Also, check out Rick Jimenez’s Spotify playlist by clicking the image below!