Cleveland bred hardcore thrashers Ringworm have been in the music game for some time now. Since 1991 in fact, with the release of their self titled demo. But how does their new album Snake Church hold up against a career that spans over six albums and countless EPs.
First things first. The pacing of Snake Church is absolutely fantastic. The transition between fast, thrash inspired riffs and slower paced, two step rhythms may not feel smooth, with one song throwing you straight into the next, but it is certainly aggressive. This feeling of being thrown left and right fits in with the anger riddled music just right.
Guitarist Matt Sorg and Mark Witherspoon utilise a range of styles to develop a raw sound. Songs like Destroy or Create and Innocent Blood unleash this strong Slayer or Municipal Waste vibe that keeps the pace racing and the body moshing. The listener is kept from seeing full red by the pure neck snapping, head banging nature of more slower songs. Shades Of Blue punches in with a weighty riff that is definitely a step down tempo wise but is no less calming than anything else on the album. Don’t worry I haven’t forgot about the solos. For good measure Ringworm have thrown in solos throughout the album, instead of inserting the more hardcore alternative of breakdowns to put their own little twist on the song structure formula.
So you have some hefty thrash and hardcore guitar work so what of the bass. Is it kept to the back? Or is it aloud to run free and join the guitars in making as much noise as possible? The later of course. In true hardcore/crossover fashion, bassist Ed Stephens chugs his bass around with a pure crunching, driven sound that adds even more power to the album. In The Black Light Of A Living Ghost he even runs riot on his own to groove up the song in traditional bass face fashion. You can’t talk about bass without mentioning the drums.
Keeping the pace on form is Ryan Steigerwald on drums. Nothing fancy here. Just pounding beats, smashing fills and good old fashion blast beats the way it should be. Vocalist Human Furnace lives up to his name spitting lyrics out just as quick as the instruments with total aggression. You get hints of the legendary grindcore and Napalm Death front man, Barney Greenway, with Furnace’s pacing and gravelly vocals on the title track.
Snake Church is the definitely the product of a band that’s has mastered their sound to a tee. Raw vocals, strong riffs and heavy drums. Ringworm have created a solid album earning a 8/10. Check the album out if you and don’t mind sitting through till the very end.