Album Review: “Vivid Black” by Ektomorf

EKTOMORF Return With New Album, "Vivid Black"

Ektomorf are a consistent metal band, having released over a dozen albums since its formation in 1994. The band’s blend of nu-metal, thrash and hardcore is akin to its peers like Machine Head, Skinlab, Slipknot and Soulfly. However, major success has eluded Ektomorf, though the band has carved a name for itself in the metal pecking order. Vivid Black a straight forward record packed with aggression and chunky riffs. Album opener “I’m Your Last Hope (The Rope Around Your Neck)” features the conventional down-tuned nu-metal riffs that transport us to 2001. It gets the head moving, but we have heard it before.

“Die” speeds things up with a d-beat and double bass drums under a simple guitar riff. The track slows down at the mid-point as frontman Zoltan Farkas lays down some clean vocals before the tempo speeds up again. “I Don’t Belong To You” is a two-and-a-half minute mid-tempo track with tribal like drumming and midsection breakdown that will incite a mosh pit. The title track is a slow paced affair with lumbering guitar riffs reminiscent of Robb Flynn. Zoltan’s screams are similar (vividly similar?) to the Machine Head frontman.

“You Don’t Belong Here” starts with a hooky guitar riff that changes to a staccato riff when the drums kick in. The tempo shifts throughout the track with a thrashing midsection and a brief blastbeat before ending with a bouncing groove. The album closer “REM” is a restrained, brooding number that somewhat falls flat due to Zoltan’s vocals and meandering nature of the track, which luckily is under four minutes.

Vivid Black is replete with almost every nu-metal and metalcore trope of the early 2000s. The bouncy riffs, hip-hop inspired grooves and angst-ridden lyrics are all here. There are slight touches of thrash and hardcore, but the extremity and musical complexity stays at mid range. Vivid Black is not entirely dismissive as the album features 10 tracks and is only 34 minutes long. Thus, Ektomorf keep things terse and focused. The production is clear, with a strong bottom end with the bass and drumming.

This is a simple, no-frills nu-metal record. Ektomorf are not looking to reinvent the wheel on Vivid Black which is fine. However, the band is capable of writing heavier, more complex music than this. Machine Head did this, transitioning from nu-metal to thrash within a few albums. However, Ektomorf is not Machine Head. Fans of nu-metal will dig this record, but those looking for something with more depth may want to look elsewhere.

Check out the band’s site here:

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