"Hammer of the Witch"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The secret to truly effective hardcore is the level of authentic rage. That's not a big revelation. Bands that sound angry enough to go out and murder someone are the most effective in this frankly limited genre. Well, you'd have to drive a country mile to find hardcore more brutal and real than Ringworm. This is apocalyptic.

A pissed off vocalist is essential in this line of work and Ringworm has a doomsday weapon by the name of Human Furnace to help in this regard. This guy has got a voice that can make concrete buckle. We are not talking about Geoff Tate or Ripper Owens here. This guy sounds like hitmen just wiped out his wife and children and he wants revenge. It's one note with as much nuance as a chainsaw. Perfect for this line of work. How he keeps it up over the entire length of this record is a mystery I'll never fathom, but there is a kind of purity in raging hardcore vocals that even death and black metal can't match.

Good old thrash provides a solid foundation for Mr. Furnace's anger. Listen to "Bleed" and tell me the ghost of old Jeff Hanneman is not hovering over it. Slayer meets old Agnotistic Front, that's where Ringworm is coming from and every song is in that violent mode. Today's "core" kids could learn a lot from listening to the curb-stomping riffs that end songs like "Vicious Circle of Life"  and the brilliantly titled "I Recommend Amputation", which is my personal pick here. The band has to work double time to keep up with the bile that Human Furnace spews...they accomplish that and the end result is an album that is meant for breaking bones in the pit. I could barely imagine what this stuff is like live.

Sure, it's kind of monotonous and not exactly bursting with fresh ideas, but there is one of those times when you just have to let yourself get eradicated by a tidal wave of sonic violence. Well, here it comes...