Case of Ringworm
Ringworm has, for the better part of 20 years, given us some of the best metal-tinged hardcore. The band began in 1991, bringing their brand of metal and hardcore to the streets of their native Cleveland. Since then, they have gone through lineup changes that would rival Menudo’s and changed labels like the seasons. The current lineup, with singer James “Human Furnace” Bulloch has put out one hell of a barn-burner. Hammer of the Witch, released on Relapse, is obnoxiously good. This is not a surprise; for 20 years, they defined the genre that would grow to become a huge influence on so many bands today.
The first track on Hammer of the Witch, “Dawn of the Decay,” slays. Bulloch proves once again that he is a force within the hardcore community, screaming his guts out on every verse. The song is set at a slugfest-inducing pace. The second song, “Bleed,” is a pummeling hardcore song. By 30 seconds in we get a great riff followed by usual posse vocals that dominate the genre. It is very cliché to do that these days, but here it seems like the best call — something to give the kids something to scream during shows. “Leave Your Skin at the Door” shows off Ringworm’s talented guitar duo, bringing out the shred on this tune. A solo is thrown down that can rival most any metal record. These guys can play and it shows.
This whole record from front to back, is a beast. Loud, aggressive and heavy, it’s exactly what you would expect from these guys. Not to say they haven’t grown up a little; there is a sense of a “been there, done that” mentality to the songwriting that a lot of records in the genre lack. Hammer of the Witch might be one of the best releases so far this year from Relapse and it’s worth the listen. We all might as well catch a case of Ringworm.