Ringworm – Hammer of the Witch

Ringworm-Hammer-of-the-Witch-ArtRingworm

Hammer of the Witch

01. Dawn of Decay
02. Bleed
03. Leave Your Skin at the Door
04. Exit Life
05. Psychic Vampire
06. King of Blood
07. I Recommend Amputation
08. Hammer of the Witch
09. We’ll Always Have the End
10. One of Us Is Going to Have to Die…
11. Vicious Circle of Life
12. Die Like a Pig
13. Height of Revelation

[03/18/14]
[Relapse Records]

 
With a name like Ringworm, aptly taken from a Vincent Price film, should we expect anything less than brutality and horror? Hammer of the Witch is the band’s latest effort, and their debut release on Relapse Records. Their metallic hardcore style continues to be perfected on this album, and proves just how iconic they are when it comes to this sound. The only feeling akin to hearing their feverish swapping of relentless riffing and speeding solos, all while being pummeled by the vocals of the James “Human Furnace” Bulloch, is being punched in the face so many times that your visage is no longer recognizable, but has become a bruised mishmash of your various facial features that Picasso may have created you himself.

Yeah, it’s that heavy.

First thing’s first: The vocals on this record are absolutely punishing. Of course, what else would you expect when the vocalists nickname is the “Human Furnace?” Spitting fire with every sentence, each syllable has ten thousand years of pain behind it, and that anguish was some the most agonizing that the human body can endure. Usually with vocals so raw, the novelty would start to wear thin and grate on your ears. This is not the case here. They just add onto the sonic beat down that is Hammer of the Witch.

The instrumentals do a great job at keeping this thing nice and heavy—‘Psychic Vampire’ and the title track, ‘Hammer of the Witch,’ are great examples. The former has memorable riffs, diverse drum patterns, and a steady, gnarly bass line. The latter has galloping leads, Slayer-esque solos, and catchy vocal patterns. Another thing this record has going for it, is a strong bass sound. Besides the fact that it’s actually audible and not buried in the mix, it also provides a lot of the meat in these tracks, which all feature steady bass lines as their backbone.

This record has all of these things going for it, but also has one thing that sets it back—its length. The record clocks in at somewhere around 42 minutes, and for this type of material, that’s a little too long. With all the songs being around the same tempo, all tracks start to blend together as you reach the latter half of the album—it’s simply too heavy and dense. This record may be a pleasurable pummeling for the most part, but you can only be pounded for so long before you start to grow tired of being hit.

Hammer of the Witch is a great addition to both Ringworm’s discography and any fan of the metallic hardcore genre’s collection. With its relentless/punishing instrumentation combined with raw vocals that beat the listener to a pulp, this record could not be more appropriately titled.

Ringworm’s Hammer of the Witch gets…

4/5

-RC

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