Ringworm’s debut on Relapse Records does all the right things. 40+ minutes of balls-out, unforgiving, in your face metallic hardcore without any semblance of pretension whatsoever.
The instruments come together really well – a brilliant mix by Ben Schigel (Spider Studios) that provides the definition the songwriting deserves. The album opens rather menacingly with ‘Dawn of Decay’, a song that starts off with an interesting, almost Helmet-esque, intro piece only to segue into some Promise-era thrashing, the kind this Cleveland group is lauded for. From there on it is absolute surrender – one song after another, the aural-assault takes over. Be it the ferocity of ‘Bleed’, ‘Exit Life’ or the ominous heaviness of ‘Leave Your Skin at the Door’, ‘One of Us Is Going to Die’, these songs perfectly exemplify James “Human Furnace” Bulloch’s take (‘too metal for hardcore, too hardcore for metal’) on the band’s sound.
There is a certain freshness to the music that keeps the album from being just another hardcore routine. Matt Sorg is just excellent on this one, belting out some really tasteful solos, John Comprix too and HF..boy is he pissed off. Early years or now, the man sings (re: screams) with absolute conviction. That aside, he is also responsible for the gorgeous artwork that adorns this LP.
Hardcore/ metal music in recent years seldom has had the recall value it once did but this album here has enough hooks to stand out as an exception.
RATING : 4/5 (This mighty tome will resurrect the dead, but it may not turn lead to gold)
Stream the entire album on bandcamp