Ringworm – Hammer Of The Witch

 

pic scott schumacher

pic scott schumacher

    I think it is safe to say that the ferocity and sonic viciousness of metallic hardcore protagonists Ringworm has not abated or diminished over their twenty plus years brawling with the senses. The indisputable evidence comes with new album Hammer Of The Witch, a towering and vindictive slab of destructive raging and antagonistic creativity. Packed to the brim with thirteen vitriol spewing tracks that just as venomously unleash a range of uncompromising riffs and addictive grooves, the album is a commanding onslaught of spite and animosity, simply unadulterated hardcore excellence.

     Formed in 1991, it is fair to say that Ringworm has left an indelible mark with their fusion of metal and hardcore, debut album The Promise in 1993 setting the Cleveland band as a sizeable proposition before a hiatus of sorts was ended by the unleashing of the critically acclaimed Birth Is Pain on Victory Records in 2001. Subsequent albums like Justice Replaced By Revenge four years later and the following The Venomous Grand Design of 2007 reinforced and strengthened their grip on passions and scene. Scars three years ago continued the stretching of the band’s creativity and power, the same pleasing accusation you can throw at Hammer Of The Witch, the band’s debut on Relapse Records. Recorded with Ben Schigel (Chimaira, Walls of Jericho) producing, the album is a merciless tempest chewing up and spitting out everything from ears to emotions.

     Opener Dawn of Decay emerges from a cinematic intimidation, a sense of epic danger spawning a weave of carnivorous 12 Jacket (3mm Spine) [GDOB-30H3-007}basslines, rapacious riffing, and combative rhythms, all honed into a prowling entity which sizes up its victim before exploding into  fire of musical causticity and vocal threat, the tones of frontman Human Furnace as always living up to his moniker. The song stalks the senses from start to finish, the guitars of Matt Sorg and John Comprix abrasively ravishing air and ears whilst drummer Danny Zink gives them a further mighty battering.

  The excellent start is potently backed up by the corrosive wrath of Bleed and the nastily venomous Leave Your Skin at the Door, both individual tirades of inventive riffery and precisely sculpted contagious grooves courted by the deliciously dark hearted tones spawned from the bass of Ed Stephens, his opening of the second of these songs a mouthwatering provocation. Each track is also marked by keen sonic endeavour from the guitars; theirs an acidic play within the riot which even in brief colours raises the potency of the anger.

    The toxic Exit Life rails against ears next, its narrative and approach singular in venom and hatred but fully magnetic, before Psychic Vampire belts and engages the senses with rhythmic violence and a deceptively seductive groove which winds around and recruits the passions. The track is a maelstrom of vehemence, lyrically and sonically, and rich infectiousness. It is an intrusive antagonist that is hard to have enough of, the same that can also be said of King of Blood, another unbridled onslaught which savages and ignites the emotions with dramatic grooves, temper driven riffs, and bitter rhythms. The track in many ways is similar to its predecessor, the one trait you could lay against the album with a regularly familiarity across some songs, though it does not reduce the pleasure and power of the release one iota.

    Through tracks like the torrentially consumptive I Recommend Amputation and the predatory We’ll Always Have the End as well as the raging causticity of One Of Us Is Going to Have to Die…, band and album abrases and sears with compelling efficiency and enterprise even if each lacks some of the spark of previous songs, though amongst them the title track takes its victims on a hellacious ride of physical and mental ferocity which simply ignites the passions, it’s almost demonic poisons irresistibly and dramatically enthralling.

     The final trio of tracks starting with the flesh and synapse scorching Vicious Circle of Life lift the album back to its opening plateau, the fearsome slice of tempestuous hostility scarred with great guitar acid soon thrown under the shadow of the brilliant Die Like a Pig. The bass of Stephens digs deep for its strongest guttural growl whilst HF soaks every syllable and rage spewing sound with bile spawned malevolence and passion to match the creative rabidity of its partners of dispute.

     The album closes with slab of prime hardcore/punk jaundice in the riveting shape of Height of Revelation. The uncivil and rigorously inciting melee of sonic and rhythmic rancor is a thunderous and thoroughly incendiary last triumph for passions and album. Hammer of the Witch is a breath stealing, bone splintering furnace of acrimony and virulent contagion. It is masterful and thrilling assault on the ear which if not the pinnacle of Ringworm’s career is certainly right up there. Hardcore has never sounded better in the hands of the ‘veterans’, and they show no signs of losing their devastating anger and invention either…Happy Days!

http://www.ringworm13.net/

9/10

RingMaster 19/03/2014

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Life and Death Experiences: an interview with Corey Skowronski of American Standards

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Things are starting to happen for US hardcore band American Standards in awareness and stature, though the Arizona quartet have been brewing up a fine reputation ever since forming a few years back. Their Still Life EP pulled strong attention towards the band with its exciting blend of punk and noise rock within the hardcore intensity whilst their live performances have made the four piece one of the most talked about and thrilling proposition emerging from the US rock underground. Recently signed to Victory Records we thought we should learn more about the band, their music, and their promising to be explosive future. Thankfully bassist Corey Skowronski was more than happy to help our exploration of American Standards and let us in on a secret or two.

Hi Corey and thanks for sparing time to let us find out more about yourselves and the band.

First of all simply introduce the band for us and tell us about the origins of American Standards.

American standards started a few years back in 2010 and in the course of two and a half years we’ve really come along way.

How did you all meet?

With the new line-up we’ve all met through mutual friends and playing shows together.

Was punk and hardcore the music which you grew up to or did you have a wider ‘soundtrack’ to your informative years which your music does suggest?

Growing up punk was a genre of music I was heavily into and other than that just old metal but for the most part I listened to a little bit of everything. If it sounded good to me I’d listen to it.

What was the spark to actually decide to start the band?

For me personally it was always something I wanted to do, to play in a band. I had quit the job I was working at the time in 2010 and was ready for something new that’s when I decided that I would commit to the idea and the dream and begin looking for people to start a band with, and here we are now

You come from Phoenix, Arizonia, apart from the obvious names coming from the city like Jimmy Eat World, The Bled, and Job For A Cowboy, is there a vibrant bed of punk and rock talent in the more underground scene?

Everyone that I know of in bands from here has talent that needs to be heard. There’s all the band that we help with and are close to like Your Young, Sleepwalker, The Last March Of The Ents. Then there’s the old Column III dudes and Lariats of course.

Many bands say their home town/city has influenced or made a big impact on their music, is it the same for American Standards?AS2

Honestly I don’t feel that at all. We write music that we like to play and as far as actually playing here, yeah there are people that are in the scene and care but for the most part it ain’t what it used to be…

Last year you released your excellent Still Life EP how did you find the recording process and what did you learn from it which will impact on future recordings?

Me personally I like to write the song, record it, listen to it, then add or take things out that don’t fit. That’s the time to kind of experiment, in my eyes, with all the ideas you have for that song that you have accumulated over the whole process.

I feel that we did do that for the Still Life EP and with J & M they were totally cool with that. The one thing I think we will try now with the new stuff is to get everyone involved in the experimenting with ideas stage so every song has something from everyone and it shows.

Talking of recordings you are working on your debut album I believe?

Sort of…Geoff and Brennen our drummer and guitarist are stepping down but we are having Mike Cook of Your Young drum and Craig Burch of The Last March of the Ents play bass. I’ll be swinging over from bass to guitar and am very stoked. The songs we have recorded right now are going to be released as an EP titled The Death of Rhythm and Blues and after that we’ll then start on the all new full length.

You are known as a DIY band so how did the link up with Victory Records who will release your next release come about?

We were at a point where we felt ready to take the plunge into looking at possibly teaming up with a label and at the time we had many offers and we decided that Victory and the sub label We Are Triumphant was the most promising.

946270_660704840625239_2035397775_nCan you give us some ideas as what the EP will hold and does Still Life give a good indication of what to expect, more diversity and sonic/noise exploration?

The way I look at it, The Death of Rhythm and Blues is the second half of Still Life.

Have you approached the new songs and EP differently to how Still Life was created?

A little…We definitely worked together more in writing the songs and took our time with it. We didn’t want to pump a song out and call it a day.

When can we expect the EP?

The 14th of September is the date.

Tell us more about the it and what you have developed further in the new songs from those on Still Life.

New songs are great we have worked on a few things in them to give them that cherry on top and their own character and like I mention I feel this is the second half to Still Life. It feels that way at least to me.

How does the writing process within the band work?

We all come together with either a riff, half of a song, or just a little idea and we give it some structure. We jam it out and more ideas come to mind and we try and incorporate those as well.

So it is a democratic process within the band for songs and stuff?

Definitely democratic, we want to give everyone in the band their voice. Every one of us has ideas for songs and good or bad we want to hear them cause who knows what can come from them.

You have a great reputation for your live show, any particularly memorable moments or shows to date?as3

The show we just played in Tucson, InFest, that was a great show. We had a lot of fun. For me a long time ago we played a show in Tucson again, at the old Skrappys. We were getting down and playing and somehow I smashed the head of my bass into my own head and I just started pouring blood. I kept playing, can’t stop the good ole’ boys in American Standards. That story has never been shared with the outside world until now. You are all free now to make fun of me for hitting myself in the face.

Is the live aspect of the band the most thrilling for you or more the creation of new songs and records?

Writing, recording, and hearing the new songs matter. With all the songs we’ve done, once we finish them I’m stoked on them, and when I can play a song that I get stoked on, the energy I pull from it just kicks in and that’s when we can go crazy and let it all out.

Once released the energy from those songs just takes over and that’s what I love. When a song can take you from one point, one mind set and in the course of two and a half minutes it carries you to a completely different one.

Once more thank you to talking with us, anything else you would like to add?

September 14th get the new EP and let us know what you all think.

Lastly would you like to give us the five most influential records on you personally?

The Fall of Troy – Manipulator

Pantera – Reinventing the Steel

Phil Collins – No Jacket Required

Norma Jean – Oh God the Aftermath

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards

Read the Still Life review @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2013/06/27/american-standards-still-life/

Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 25/07/2017

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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American Standards – Still Life

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With a debut album planned for the latter part of the year we thought it was worth checking out the Still Life EP from US hardcore band American Standards. It may have been out a while but as possibly many, like us, missed its initial unveiling and it is so damn good there is no better time to catch up and fire up a hunger for the forthcoming full length release.

From Phoenix, Arizona, the quartet of vocalist Brandon Kellum, guitarist Brennen Westermeyer, bassist Corey Skowronski, and drummer Geoff Gittleson, has earned a strong reputation for their live performances and sound which though we called them a hardcore band takes in many more potent essences such as punk and noise rock. It is a riveting confrontation and at times borders unleashing disorientation with its passion bred intensity and creative maelstrom. The unpredictable and diverse imagination to its invention though is an easy capture of the imagination with band and sound having the depth and flavours to ignite the appetite of all fans from the likes of Cancer Bats and Every Time I Die through to those of Dead Kennedys and on to devourers of the kind of noise the likes of Coilguns, Retox, and Blood Brothers conjure. Since forming the band has toured extensively across the US especially through 2012, playing with bands such as Sick Of It All, Trial, Touché Amore, and Joyce Manor and making successful appearances at numerous festivals including Within These Walls, The Punk Rock Picnic, and inFEST. Since the release of Still Life, American Standards has signed with Victory Records for the new album and continued to explode stages with their devastating sound.

Released via indie label We Are Triumphant, the EP opens with the brief and irresistibly caustic Self (En)titled, the track coverinstantly attacking the ear with vocal venom and soon joined by an emerging rhythmic and sonic provocation. It is the perfect introduction to open up attention and set the wheels of intimidation and incitement in motion as it boils up into the following Raised By Wolves. Again the coarse vocals of Kellum seize the opening seconds, his delivery a harsh but excellent rub on the senses immediately wrapped in another fury of sonic and rhythmic challenge. There is an earthy groove soon in place to start a deeper contagion aided by group scowls and the enslaving beats of Gittleson but it is just the appetiser as the track explores veins of infectious alternative rock alongside rapacious riff greed to ignite greater flames of passion for its confrontation.

The close of the track also sees the bass of Skowronski develop a predatory throat to its growl which is scintillating and across subsequent tracks prowls and chews the senses and emotions with greater and more carnivorous glory starting with Bottom Feeder. A sonic tease comes with drum foot stomps to open up the fury, and is soon led into a jugular ripping primal assault, vocals and the guitar of Westermeyer scything through the air with acidic malevolence. The unexpected offering of clean vocals is another rewarding and pleasing element and tempers the sonic fire and bass/drum barbarity which threatens throughout.

Both Paradigm-Alt-Shift-Delete and Harvester continue drawing stronger impressed reactions to the release. The first is a tempest of metallic vengeance crafted by again excellent bass and drum vehemence further fuelled by the twisting guitar grooves and varied vocals which switch from seduction to antagonism note by note. With flames of noise rock and discord taunts, the song is a thrilling adventure of predacious design, senses and thoughts lured and exploited by the excellent enterprise and insidious invention of every element of song and band, especially that bass. Its successor is equally corrosive and eager to offload its sonic rabidity onto nerves and synapses, a ferocity driven by arcs of guitar sonically honed imagination, flesh searing vocals, and steel jawed basslines gnawing away from start to finish. Not for the first time American Standards take exciting detours from the assault, here vocal harmonies allowing breaths to be taken and passions to leap before the returning savagery brings a triumphant climax.

The release is completed by the fearsome punk goading of The Red Queen and the crawling intrusive primal chaos that is the title track, its opening lumbering gait evolving through oppressive washes of intensive rage vocally and musically and varying unpredictable pace changes. Again there is a constant flood of ideas and variations all successfully and seamlessly infused into the emotive furnace. The two tracks leave the richest impressions and satisfaction to confirm the release as something quite immense.

Rather than wait for, what on the evidence of the EP, will be an album to bring another striking and exciting provocation, we suggest the Still Life EP should be confronted right away and allowed to feast on thoughts and passions, and as a name your own price offer on their Bandcamp profile, American Standards have given an invitation impossible to refuse, especially when it one of the best hardcore releases to come along in the past year.

http://americanstndrds.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandards

9/10

RingMaster 27/06/2013

 

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

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