Review Summary: It's the outstanding lack of diversity that makes Hammer of the Witch, while immediately entertaining, ultimately unremarkable.
If there’s one thing that’s plagued hardcore music ever since its inception in the late ‘70s, it’s monotony. The most successful acts in the genre have found ways to avoid falling into that perilous pit by doing something different; something interesting; something risky
; to their sound, while remaining firmly gripped to their hardcore roots. For example, Coalesce and their overt accentuation of dissonance, or The Dillinger Escape Plan’s complete disregard of genre stereotypes, creating an atonal, highly syncopated, exceptionally bizarre, unique style of their own. The same cannot be said, however, about Cleveland’s own Ringworm, who, after two decades, still hasn’t found their special niche in the hardcore scene. Unfortunately because of this, their newest LP, Hammer of the Witch
, will be deemed ultimately unremarkable, and thus will fail to leave a lasting impression on the modern hardcore scene, if any.
It’s not that Hammer of the Witch
is a bad record – it certainly isn’t, and by modern metalcore standards it can be considered a hidden gem amongst the banal wave of brocore bands flooding the scene these days. There are good riffs strewn across the album, great riffs even, and the band has a synchronicity between the members, allowing the brutal ferocity of the tracks to flow together effortlessly. The problem is that Hammer of the Witch
is shrouded in monotony. Each song follows the exact same formula as the last, making it near impossible to differentiate one from another. The vocals play a large part in this as well, seeing as how James "Human Furnace" Bulloch uses the exact same yell throughout the album’s 42 minutes; not to mention he’s screaming practically the entire time, so his voice becomes especially grating after the first few songs. It’s a good thing that the riffs are so solid, despite the little variety between them. They stray within the realm of metallic hardcore-thrash metal, with the occasional blast beat to spice things up, i.e. “Exit Life,” one of the album’s highlights. The raw production is spot on as well, making even the most tedious of moments sway you into a little head banging.
Again, the problem isn’t with the music itself – it’s the sheer amount of familiarity and outstanding lack of diversity that make Hammer of Witch
, while immediately entertaining, substantially unremarkable in the long run.
Dawn of Decay
Height of Revelation