Release Date: Mar 18, 2014
Record label: Relapse Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Heavy Metal, Punk/New Wave, Hardcore Punk
People tend to ignore Cleveland's Ringworm as an integral part to the thrash metal/hardcore scene, with vocalist Human Furnace perhaps being its acid-spitting monarch. Even 23 years couldn't cool the fire he spits, nor its fuel: the ominous crossover, metallic hardcore backing. Throughout their stint with Victory Records, Ringworm undoubtedly maintained their position as the label's most extreme act, especially as the label fell off harder than Metallica.Now partnered with Relapse Records, one of extreme music's finest, the band do a damn good job at vying for that position.
Twenty-plus years into their careers, Cleveland metallic-hardcore heavyweights Ringworm have delivered what should stand as their finest entry in their catalogue. Frontman Human Furnace and cohorts sound darker and more evil than ever--for proof, crank tracks like "Psychic Vampire" and "Bleed," which reek of piss and vinegar. But with that said, some things are better in smaller packages, and sadly, the album's incredibly well-crafted songs tend to get lost in the vicious blur of the record's excessive 41-minute span.
In 1993, Cleveland's Ringworm released their debut record, The Promise, whose influence would really be felt once the 2000s came about. When metalcore became the sound on the mid-00s thanks to Uranium and the rebirth of Headbangers Ball, bands that didn't rip off At the Gates took a lot from Ringworm and their NYHC-meets-thrash sound. They've influenced so many bands on the Baltimore metal/hardcore label A389 that the label may as well be called The House Ringworm Built.
Cleveland’s own Ringworm are easily in the running for Angriest Band On Earth. Their blend of hardcore primitivism (that bass intro to “Leave Your Skin At The Door”!), thrash riffing and the astonishing vocals of James “Human Furnace” Bulloch makes Hatebreed and Terror sound like Tegan And Sara. Hammer Of The Witch is their Relapse debut, but it doesn’t represent much of a change from the pattern established on their four albums for Victory—and that’s a good thing.
Ringworm Hammer of the Witch (Relapse) Imagine a band as unrelentingly brutal as Ringworm sticking around for a quarter of a century. Hammer of the Witch stains the earth more than 20 years after the Cleveland quartet's debut LP The Promise, and the band's metallic hardcore has only become fiercer since then. Longtime leader Human Furnace roars like a death head whose beer just ran out, while shredding amp fryer Matt Sorg and pedal-abusing kit destroyer Danny Zink ram bottle rockets up his nether regions.