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Ringworm - Death Becomes My Voice

Death Becomes My Voice
by Chris Hawkins at 07 May 2019, 5:58 PM

Strangely enough, two decades ago, as the new millennium approached, my Metal brothers and sisters and I were inundated with Hardcore.  As Death Metal fizzled a bit due to over-saturation, Black Metal was still mostly a European thing (I did manage to catch CRADLE OF FILTH and EMPEROR both on their first American tours almost exactly twenty years ago), and the underground was being torn up by Hardcore.  The DIY ethic of Hardcore always appealed to me, and in the age of Nu Metal and all of its Hot Topic-endorsed revelry, it offered justified honest violence.  Perhaps it was that honesty and the theme of the everyman that swelled the coffers of Hardcore back then, but sadly the scene became overfilled with bands within the next few years.  On the way to a Metal show recently, I remarked to my best friend that I would really appreciate a good Hardcore show sometime soon, and with that everything has come full circle.  In fact, MADBALL released “For the Cause” a year ago, a genre-defining effort that put them back on the map, and not long after I saw the legendary CRO MAGS open for EYEHATEGOD.  The good news is that this upswing is still in effect.  The mighty RINGWORM is back with their follow-up to 2016’s “Snake Church,” “Death Becomes My Voice,” out now on Relapse Records.

It is hard to believe that RINGWORM is thirty years into such a storied career.  It has had its ups and downs, but the band have been climbing since returning from hiatus in 2001.  The title track to the album opens things up and beckons the listener’s attention – full attention.   This is heavy Metallic Hardcore with huge guitars playing dissonant chords, solos, a driving beat, and visceral vocals supplied by Human Furnace.  A brutal active bass line opens up the second track, “Carnivores”.  Furthering the fury is a deluge of blast beats.

The fifth track, “Dead to Me,” has the required carnage for success.  Like many other selections, when one thinks things cannot get angrier, the ante is upped.  “I Want to Tear the World Apart,” track seven, has a dissonant chorus that propagates the message perfectly.  It is all about execution, and these guys are on top of their game.  The tenth track, “Let it Burn,” has a Thrash riff, heavily syncopated and containing some tremolo picking.  It is refreshing hearing the cross pollination of genres as such.  Overall, there is not a weak track on this record.  This is the one to wake you up in the morning, to listen to before going on stage, or as a workout soundtrack.

The production on this record is what seals the deal.  One truly has that feeling of being in an overfilled sweat box, constantly being the brunt of bodies pushing and sometimes flying into contact and having one’s ears feel as if they are bleeding from standing too close to the PA.  Seriously, the guitar sound is unrelenting and the sheer mania of the riffs was expertly captured in the studio.  The drums and bass prove to be a mighty rhythm section locked in to keep the groove, and vocally, Human Furnace sounds as if his vocal cords are lacerating.  It is the glass-gargling delivery hoped for and successfully achieved.

At the end of the day, RINGWORM truly defy categorization.  Fans of INTEGRITY to INTERNAL BLEEDING to IRON REAGAN and more will all eat this right up.  Theirs is a bloatedly huge sound that rings true for Hardcore and Metal.  It seems over the years that some of the best music to have been released has been hybrids of Punk and Metal such as Thrash, Hardcore, and Crossover.  RINGWORM has that type of mass appeal.  This is an album meant to be cranked and the incisive delivery begs for the stage.  I am not alone in looking forward to seeing these guys out on the road.

Songwriting:  8
Originality:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  9


4 Star Rating

1. Death Becomes My Voice
2. Carnivores
3. Acquiesce
4. Do Not Resuscitate
5. Dead to Me
6. The God of New Flesh
7. I Want to Tear the World Apart
8. Dying by Design
9. Separate Realities
10. Let it Burn
11. Final Division
HF - Vocals
Matt Sorg - Guitar
Ed Stephens – Bass
Ryan Steigerwald – Drums
Mark Witherspoon – Guitar
Record Label: Relapase Records


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Edited 13 May 2021

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