Ringworm - Seeing Through Fire (Nuclear Blast)
When a career of shouting into a microphone spans over 30 years, there sometimes comes a day when the steam starts to thin - the punch starts to fade. On the other hand, you have the entity they call Human Furnace who, after three decades, is perhaps at his most ferocious point to date.
Legally known as James Bulloch, the thunderous voice of Cleveland thrash metal/metalcore titans Ringworm lives up to his name more than even with the band's ninth release, Seeing Through Fire. At just over half an hour in run time, each of the album's eleven songs waste no time in delivering ruthless aggression at its most amplified moments.
Starting off like a fist to the chin, the title track wields sinister thrash riffs and a Vader-esque guitar lead, before introducing Bulloch's unmistakable roar. In the same pantheon of Greg Puciato (formerly of The Dillinger Escape Plan) and Jacob Bannon (Converge), anyone who has heard the Human Furnace knows to bow in his aura.
Smearing elements of death metal and grindcore ala Pig Destroyer and Cattle Decapitation, "No Solace, No Quarter, No Mercy" and "Though Crimes" are sure to be inciters of immense moshpits. Venturing nearly into black metal territory through its icy guitar riffs and dissonant solo, "House of Flies" is easily a major standout among other heavy hitters.
Arguably the cornerstone of the album is the gnashing number called "Death Hoax". Already a perfect track to incite all out chaos in any venue, the mercury laced icing on the cake is a soul shredding guitar solo delivered by Daniel Mongrain of Canadian extreme metalists, Voivod.
While Bulloch claims that the album's production is more raw and abrasive than some of Ringworm's recent releases, it is also mixed and mastered enough to be appreciated to the fullest. Maintaining respect for the traditional grit of hardcore, thrash, and early death metal, fans of these genres are sure to appreciate the quality of the production that captures this sound while making every note as devastating as a train through a glass factory.
The Metal Mayan review:
It stings a little bit to admit that it's been 18 years since my introduction to Ringworm. Back then, Victory Records used to package a bonus disk with most of their releases which contained music videos from bands on the label with recent releases. Among the rising stars of the day was Ringworm and their title track from 2005's Justice Replaced By Revenge, a visceral hardcore/metal crossover track that still slams just as hard today.
Much to my delight, it seems that not only is James "Human Furnace" Bulloch still pissed after all these years, he sounds even more so. As contemporaries of 2000s Ringworm have gone on to experiment with other stylings, Bulloch and company have continued to refine what made them heavy in the first place.
Along with the incredible two-step and beatdown passages, Seeing Through Fire offers elements of other extreme forms of music while sticking close to the original formula. The guitar solos are an excellent compliment to the brutal riffs and keep things interesting and intense. Through songs like "Death Hoax", "No Solace, No Quarter, No Mercy", "House of Flies" and the title track, I expect venues to erupt as crowds turn dance floors into battle fields.
Test your might and step into the moshpit for Ringworm as they hit the road with Venom Inc. in September, and be sure to grab a copy of Seeing Through Fire, out 18 August on Nuclear Blast.
Advanced copy courtesy of Secret Service PR and Nuclear Blast Records