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Ringworm - Snake Church

Snake Church
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 11 October 2016, 12:10 PM

Got a room that desperately needs all the paint stripped from the walls? RINGWORM can help. Their latest album is utterly relentless, a high octane fusion of pissed-off Hardcore and ultraviolent extreme Metal that could blast the skin from your bones if the volume were turned up to normal levels. Having been around since the late eighties, the Cleveland bruisers are so unbelievably angry, it’s a miracle they haven’t all succumbed to heart attacks by now and “Snake Church” is a monster.
From the opening title track to the final ear-splitting moments of “Temple Of The Wolves,” this album snarls, bites and roars like a rabid beast. It’s a record that’s been backed into a corner suffering from multiple wounds and driven mad by pain, but still packs enough strength to do serious damage to anyone foolish enough to get close. RINGWORM might be more of a part-time thing than they once were but good lord, James “Human Furnace” Bulloch and his cohorts still pack a vicious punch. It’s almost as if they’ve been on a constant quest to strip every last ounce of mainstream acceptance from their sound in order to create the most volatile mix of extreme music in history.

To some extents, they succeed. “Innocent Blood,” “The Apparition,” “Brotherhood Of The Midnight Sun” and “Destroy Or Create” are all fist swinging blasts of in-your-face antagonism. They’re the sort of songs that will forever be confined to underground clubs where people bring broken bottles into the pit and anyone that can’t bench press their own bodyweight ain’t getting in. They slow down briefly on “Shades Of Blue,” a song that sounds like a Grindcore band deciding to try their hand at Doom Metal but for the most part, the aim is squarely on getting to the finish line as fast as possible and leaving a desolate wasteland behind. This head down approach often hides some terrific musicianship but listen closely and you can still pick snippets out, like the all-too-brief guitar solo in “Believer,” or the generally exceptional drum work.

This does have the negative side effect of making “Snake Church” an exceptionally difficult album to get into if throat-ripping savagery isn’t your thing and it can feel somewhat one-dimensional. Human Furnace could teach a pack of frenzied Hyenas a thing or two about primal rage however and so long as you can handle it, “Snake Church” is a ride worth taking. The extended version is well worth tracking down too, the cover of MOTORHEAD’sIron Fist” is ace.

Production: 8
Memorability: 7
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 6

3 Star Rating

1. Snake Church
2. Brotherhood Of The Midnight Sun
3. Fear The Silence
4. The Black Light Of A Living Ghost
5. Destroy Or Create
6. Shades Of Blue
7. Innocent Blood
8. The Apparition
9. Believer
10. The Razor And The Knife
11. Angel Of War
12. Temple Of The Wolves
Ed Stephens – Bass
Matt Sorg – Guitar
James “Human Furnace” Bulloch – Vocals
Ryan Steigerwald – Drums
Mark Witherspoon – Guitar
Record Label: Relapse Records


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