CD review: “Death Becomes My Voice” by Ringworm

Ringworm’s eighth release, Death Becomes My Voice, continues the band’s vicious hardcore metal assault over the past three decades. The title track is a pugnacious combination of hardcore drumming and thrashing guitar riffs that grip your jugular for five minutes. HF’s harsh, maniacal vocals stand out on this track. “Carnivores” is another fast number with some brief blast beats thrown in for good measure. The song speeds up towards the final minute before guitarists Matt Sorg and Mark Witherspoon pull out a grooving riff while the track fades. The dissonant riffs and brutal drumming sounds like The Haunted meshed with Napalm Death. “Acquiesce” is an uncomfortable slower track thanks to the apocalyptic main riff and HF’s guttural vocals. The scooping riff on “Do Not Resuscitate” is reminiscent of a hook slicing in to human flesh. Drummer Ryan Steigerwald delivers the punishment on this track as it is pure Slayer worship from beginning to end. “The God Of New Flesh” is the shortest track on Voice, a chaotic assemblage of thrash, punk and grindcore. The band never falters through the constant tempo changes, keeping the listener on their toes until the song concludes. Album closer “Final Division” is a pummeling requiem that ends with a doom riff and sorrowful guitar solo.

Bands playing across extreme musical genres has occurred for roughly 35 years. Metalcore and deathcore have enjoyed varying degrees of popularity in the U.S. for roughly 15 years. Quality is the key issue, and while many bands attempt to meld genres, few succeed. Ringworm are one of those few bands and Death Becomes My Voice solidifies its status in the metal underground. The tracks on this album hit like a bat to the spine and a rusty blade to the lung. The brevity of the tracks and slight diversity makes Voice an interesting listen. There is little monotony due to stellar drumming and above average guitar work.

Fans of Ringworm should purchase Death Becomes My Voice. It is a fun, thrashing record that induces headbanging from the first track. Fans of crossover and thrash will enjoy the band’s speed and demonic guitar harmonies. Thrash ’til death.

Check out the band’s official Facebook page here:

www.facebook.com/Ringworm13/

CD Review: Dying Fetus- “The Wrong One To F*ck With”

Five years have passed since death/grindcore veterans Dying Fetus released Reign Supreme in 2012. Well, the lapse in time certainly has not dulled the group’s aggression or musical precision. Dying Fetus’s newest release, The Wrong One To F*ck With, is a solid fusion of technical death metal, grindcore and groove. Shredding guitars and chaotic drumming open the record before settling in to a signature hardcore groove on “Fixated On Devastation.” It is classic Dying Fetus as the band seamlessly changes rhythm while vocalist John Gallagher’s guttural vocals could wake the dead. “Panic Amongst The Heard” is a frantic track with its-stop start rhythms and explosive midsection of blast beats. Dying Fetus are masters of containing chaos and playing on the fringes without falling off. John’s guitar work takes center stage as he shoots riff after riff over Trey Williams’ tight percussion. “Die With Integrity” is a thrash inspired monster that does not relent. The sinister midsection is hypnotic as the guitar and drums circle the listener in before being destroyed by devastating blast beats. “Seething With Disdain” is a merciless heavy hitter with stellar lead work and ferocious drumming. The trio proving yet again how to properly combine virtuosity and brutality.

 

Wrong One is a record that requires repeated listening to hear everything going on in each track. There are so many riffs and drum beats that one will miss during the initial listen. One will be so preoccupied with the brutality of a track that they will miss an interesting guitar phrase. The production is fine with heavy emphasis on the rhythm and lead guitars. Still, one can hear the complex song structures just fine.

Dying Fetus bring the bloody goods on Wrong One To F*ck With. Fans of the band’s previous releases can expect the technical yet grooving death metal the group is known for. Whoever or whatever did “f” with the guys in Fetus certainly lit creative fire in their heads. This is a band that will stop at nothing in order to conquer the extreme metal world.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/DyingFetus/

CD Review: ‘Arc’ by Agoraphobic Nosebleed

JoshSisk_b2

For over 20 years, Agoraphobic Nosebleed has remained one of the principal names in grindcore despite being silent for the last seven. The members moved on with other bands during the time off, and no one complained too much since that hiatus resulted in Pig Destroyer releasing one of its best albums. Now that ANb has finally resurfaced, the band is marking its return in a different fashion than fans may have expected.

ANb is dusting off a gimmick famously first used by KISS (and less famously later used by the Melvins) by having each member release their own EP focused on their individual influences. It’s a gimmick that hasn’t had a great track record and is really a bizarre ploy for an extreme metal band to ape. But it’s important to note that the first EP, Kat Katz’ Arc, (and presumably the future EPs too) isn’t a solo effort. The whole band is instead coming together under the artistic direction of the individual band mate. Arc is every ounce an ANb album but it’s an ANb album filtered and distilled through just one of its components. It’s a single shade of the band’s pell-mell palate brought to the forefront.

Arc isn’t a 30-plus-track whirlwind of violence, chaos and graphic dick jokes; it isn’t even really grindcore. It’s a crushingly sludge-addled three-track personal journey into vocalist Kat Katz’s relationship with a schizophrenic mother. It’s chilling to hear Katz scream, “Stop hurting me, why are you doing this…you were meant to die months ago” on “Not a Daughter” and then on the next track growl “on your deathbed, forgive me.” This is one of the darkest, most misanthropic albums ANb has released and this is a band with songs about terrorism, grotesque domestic abuse and child prostitution.

This EP is serious, slow, and filled with Sabbath worship. There’s a strong streak of southern groove metal running through the album, with more than a few moments smacking of EYEHATEGOD. It’s a perfect representation of Katz as an artist and encapsulates her doom-leaning work with her former band, Salome. It’s about as far as you can get from typical ANb, yet the band’s fingerprints are still apparent. Even at half speed, the riffs undeniably belong to guitarist Scott Hull and his drum programming is seamless in Katz’s composition. Grindcore purists may find this experiment off-putting, but metal heads with a greater range of appreciation will find plenty of love. If Arc is an indication of what the completed tetralogy may look like, fans should have a lot to look forward to.

CD Review: ‘Apex Predator – Easy Meat’ by Napalm Death

The grind continues on Napalm Death’s 15th release, Apex Predator-Easy Meat. Always a band willing to step outside the box, the droning title track stomps in industrial glory. This unorthodox opener may throw some off, but the band kicks things back in thrashing fury on “Smash a Single Digit.” “Smash” is no-frills Napalm complete with blast beats and Barney Greenway’s trademark bark. The vicious “Metaphorically Screw You” is 2 minutes of brutal ecstasy. The twisting riffs and relentless speed reaffirm why Napalm are the kings of grindcore. The dissonant guitars on “Stubborn Stains” oddly complement the frantic drumming on this track, creating an interesting syncopation between the guitar and drums. Then there is “Dear Slum Landlord,” which drew considerable criticism when a video of the band performing the song was leaked. Perhaps some thought the band would do a Morbid Angel and release a soft or “non-metal” album. However, those doubters are wrong and the brief track is certainly not indicative of the album. The first proper single of Apex “Cesspits” certainly put many fans at ease. Its sound is somewhat accessible like “When All Is Said and Done” on 2006’s Smear Campaign. The hardcore punk grit of “Bloodless Coup” shows the versatility of the group. It puts to shame most of the stuff masquerading as “hardcore” these days.

The production on Apex Predator is top notch. The raw digital sound on the group’s four albums or so is present here. It is clear, concise and never overbearing. It is good to hear the bass, guitars and drums without one instrument bleeding into the other. Musically, the band is riding a creative wave. There is a great balance between convention and experiment. In addition, this is the shortest Napalm Death album since Enemy of the Music Business in 2000. At 40 minutes, the band handles business in ample time, thus never becoming stale.

When all is said and done, Napalm has crafted another great album. This is the band’s fifth record since 2005 and it is clear the band are not stopping anytime soon. Apex Predator will thrill fans of the band and anyone looking for some good extreme metal. The blast is strong with this one.

To view more, visit their website at www.napalmdeath.org