Hardcore music is the true crossover between metal and punk. It is fast and furious, and offers no mercy or forgiveness. One of the genre’s institutions, Ringworm was formed in Cleveland in 1991, and they have been blasting ferocious hardcore since the early days. James “Human Furnace” Bulloch‘s vocals sound like he drinks a pint of battery acid before each and every tune. He’s held this standard from the beginning, and it really is one of Ringworm‘s trademarks. They exhibit a thrash feel throughout this album, and when mixed with their hardcore roots, this is one deadly combination. Guitarists John Comprix and Matt Sorg lay down a groovy-yet-angry riffs song after song that fit perfectly with Human Furnace’s snarling vocals. It’s as if Hatebreed and Exodus had a very ugly child.
Hammer of the Witch opens with “Dawn of Decay,” and Ringworm don’t let the brutality stop until after “Height of Revelation.” Every song kicks ass. The title track and “Die Like a Pig” have a solid thrash type feel to them, with choruses you can sing along to. “Bleed,” “Exit Life” and “Leave Your Skin at the Door” are jugular-ripping, plain and simple. “Psychic Vampire” is my favorite here. It is groove-based and thrashy.
While Ringworm have been around the scene for a long time, they have remained underground and haven’t garnered the attention they deserve. Hammer of the Witch will change this for them.
Hammer of the Witch is out on Relapse Records.