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4.25 out of 5 skulls
October 6, 2014 | ,

Ringworm Hammer of the Witch

Ohio’s Ringworm has never been a band to let off the accelerator. If past material has taught us anything, this band is all about stomping on the gas pedal with your skull firmly under boot. Their latest full-length, Hammer of the Witch keeps the needle pegged as they force feed you scathing vitriol at full blast.

Right from opening track “Dawn of Decay” there is a ferocity to the music that will have heads snapping and fists pumping from start to finish. That said this isn’t just one speed fits all sort of metal. The band does well to keep a fierce groove pummeling through each and every song. James “The Human Furnace” Bulloch is on top of his game as he screams, barks, spits and all around tears his throat to shreds in every effort to match the driving riffage and manic rhythm work from the rest of the guys. His delivery is instantly recognizable and instantly addictive.

“Bleed” sees (hears?) Furnace deliver one of of his most vehement performances to date — you can literally feel is anger bombard you through the speakers. If I were to have one complaint about Ringworm in general, it’s that when they find a comfort zone, much of their material comes across similar to previous releases. But then they do something like “Exit Life” or “Psychic Vampire” and you’re left trying to reset your dislocated jaw and pick up teeth from the grimy curb you just kissed.

Hammer of the Witch is a full-throttled blast of mayhem, but it’s also packed with gnarly mosh, memorable shout-along choruses and crushing rhythms. Check out “King of Blood” or the burly title track or the galloping “We’ll Always Have the End” or the awesome “One of Us is Going to Have to Die” as examples of the band hammering away with everything they’ve got.

Ringworm sound as though they’ve hit their stride with Hammer of the Witch. They’ve always produced some nasty music in their 23 year span, but there’s something about this latest effort that feels more complete, more fulfilled. It’s definitely got their sound and just as much pissed off energy as ever, but it’s also just got a more matured, dynamic sound. I can’t stop spinning this one.

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