RINGWORM — Snake Church (review)

RINGWORM — Snake Church album cover Album · 2016 · Crossover Thrash Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"Snake Church" is the 7th full-length studio album by US, Ohio based thrash/hardcore act Ringworm. The album was released through Relapse Records in July 2016. It´s the successor to "Hammer of the Witch" from 2014. There have been two lineup changes since the predecessor as drummer Danny Zink has been replaced by Ryan Steigerwald and guitarist John Comprix has been replaced by Mark Witherspoon.

Stylistically the material on "Snake Church" pretty much continues down the same thrash/hardcore road as the material on "Hammer of the Witch (2014)", although several of the tracks lean a bit more towards hardcore than the case was on the predecessor. "Snake Church" is in fact an album which is hard to label correctly, because sometimes it´s almost pure hardcore with D-beat drumming and fast hardcore punk riffing, and other times we´re treated to Slayer type thrash metal riffing and thrash metal oriented rhythm work. The vocals are in the screaming hardcore camp though, and although they are well performed and James "Human Furnace" Bulloch has a raw and passionate delivery, the vocals do feel a bit one-dimensional after a few tracks.

The material is generally well written and actually a bit more varied than what initial listens might suggest. While the music is one-dimensionally aggressive all the way through the album´s playing time, Ringworm do change pace a couple of times (from predominantly fast-paced to heavy), and there are even a few melodic guitar moments featured on the album too (very few). It is in the variation department the band could improve though and some of the tracks could have been a bit more hook laden and thereby a bit more memorable too.

When that is said "Snake Church" is still a high quality release by Ringworm. The album features a top notch sound production, strong musiciansip, and the band obviously understand how to write a powerful thrash/hardcore tune. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.
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