Hammer of the Witch is the seventh full-length record by Cleveland, OH hardcore veterans, RINGWORM. Since their beginning in 1991, RINGWORM have released a slew of split albums and demos that have led up to this release on Relapse Records which keeps the foundation of the hardcore and thrash roots throughout the entire album. Metal enthusiasts of bands such as EARTH CRISIS, INTEGRITY, and TERROR should immediately break out their scuffed up Chuck Taylor’s and find themselves in circle pits or two-stepping while RINGWORM brings the aggression live to a city near you.
There really isn’t too much to debate here musically. It is straightforward, in your face, and demands crowd movement. The guitar work fuses simplistic hardcore styles with the fast, thrash-metal transitions that are a mainstay throughout the whole thing. All the while Matt Sorg and John Comprix are shredding the night away on guitar, Danny Zink is upping the pace on drums with Ed Stephens on bass. Then, the trademark RINGWORM vocals claim their territory while James “Human Furnace” Bulloch brings the true feeling of hardcore to the plate. RINGWORM really begins 2014 off right with a true-to-self album that will bring absolute mayhem at preferably small venue shows.
Hammer Of The Witch features 13 tracks, all of which keep the blood pumping and the adrenaline running from beginning to end. The speed and intensity starts with “Dawn of Decay” and does not let up until the final track is through. RINGWORM presents the kind of sound that makes you want to run in a circle pit the entire set. In fact, with that previous statement, I present the RINGWORM diet; a diet that is made up of Hammer of the Witch being played live and you, the member of the audience, running in a circle pit until you leave the show looking like you were chiseled out of granite. Okay, maybe that is unrealistic, but at least get into the lyrics in my personal favorite song on this album entitled “Psychic Vampire.” This features a quick, but grooving two-step riff that mostly repeats itself in hardcore fashion along with quick drum fills brought to you by Danny Zink. No worries for readers who prefer your pits, this song is good for you too.
In “Psychic Vampire,” James Bulloch screams a couple of lyrics that have a profound meaning to me that I think are very easily overlooked by the casual listener:
“Do what they say, do what they do.”
To me, I heard these originally and I thought to myself, “wow, that is so punk rock,” and I still stand by that. In fact, RINGWORM is a band that has been nothing short of punk rock through their career as well (considering their roughly 23-year band existence, constant line-up changes, self-produced and released records, and multiple split albums with bands like Terror.) RINGWORM is proof of a band that used “DIY” (do it yourself) resources to get where they are now while changing their sound for absolutely no one, and still bringing the noise!
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Leave Your Skin At the Door”, “Psychic Vampire”, “Die Like A Pig”
WRITTEN BY MR. REESE