If someone told me R.A.M.B.O. would do the reunion and release a brand new album, I couldn’t believe it. After all, the band released Bring It in 2006, and somehow, I lost track of their activities after that album. They played shows until 2007 and then went on an indefinite hiatus after leaving two excellent full-length records behind. If you somehow missed these guys, you must check out their previous recordings because they’re one of the best bands the hardcore community could offer at the time. R.A.M.B.O. blended the sheer aggression with cleverly assembled melodies, but unlike most of the bands on the scene back then, they infused the dirtiness of crust punk music into it as well. I remember their sound solely bought my attention when I heard their debut, but Bring It was the top-tier hardcore that I loved even more. Therefore, I awaited this new record with anticipation because I knew it would sound good.
After thoroughly listening Defy Extinction for about a week, I have to conclude R.A.M.B.O. still got it. There’s no way you’ll find a weak spot while listening to some of these compositions. Also, after checking out the tracklist and realizing there are seventeen tracks, I thought the album would sound like their previous recordings. Soundwise, the ideas are still there, but the tracks are much slower than before. Of course, that doesn’t mean these songs sound lame. Quite the contrary, the change in tempo means more clarity, so you’ll hear all the ideas invested into this material. You will notice that each composition comes with a full arsenal of thoughtfully assembled riffs, written, arranged, and performed to perfection. Some tracks also come with a thick layer of melodies, harmonies, and themes composed to fit those riffs.
R.A.M.B.O. were always pros in assembling songs like these, so you’ll have so much fun noticing all the details invested into this album. Of course, the rhythm section sounds powerful from scratch to finish. You’ll also notice vividly hearable basslines and flawlessly performed rhythmic sequences, empowered by continuous splashing over the cymbals, breakdowns, drum fills, and other percussive acrobatics. The powerful shoutouts, back vocals, and singalongs have been trademarks of this band since day one, so if you love anthemic hardcore punk songs, this material will be right up your alley. Lyricwise, R.A.M.B.O. is still an anarchist, vegan, straight-edge, eco-friendly band, so expect words of wisdom and criticism along the way. Defy Extinction is a must if you’re into heavy, fast, crusty, but melodic hardcore punk music. The album is available on vinyl, and CD, but you can also listen to it on all streaming platforms. Head to Relapse Records for more information about ordering a physical release.