Ah, Cleveland. Land of the Cleves, of the burning Cuyahoga, Drew Carey, and a pretty thriving music scene that’s always slithered along under mainstream media’s radar. No Athens, no Seattle, no East Coast/West Coast rivalries. Just a buncha bands out there, hitting the bricks every weekend in your local clubs, biker bars and basements.
Near chief among them is RINGWORM. By now, anyone who’s heard them knows what they’re about, and those who don’t won’t ever. While they’re not the sort of band that’s going to veer too far from the black-and-blueprint of The Promise (1993) and 2001’s Birth Is Pain, they’re reliable as all Hell for what they are, and wipe the floor with a good many of the “tastemaker” bands they end up opening for.
Four years after Death Becomes My Voice, Human Furnace & co. return on (surprisingly) Nuclear Blast with Seeing Through Fire. I’ll admit to being worried at the label, but when the title track barges in, all snot, sweat ‘n’ swagger, a ridiculous metal solo kicking things off, I knew the boys were back in town. Remember the metalcore of early SHADOWS FALL, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, ONLY LIVING WITNESS? That somehow seamless blend? This ain’t that. ‘Carved In Stone’ is a collision of BLOOD FOR BLOOD, MOTORHEAD and EARTH CRISIS, but with blown-out amps, drumheads screaming for breakage as a final release, and Human Furnace Human Furnace-ing all over the place.
‘Thought Crimes’ injects more overt punk furor, but there’s a thrash sensibility to the riffing, to the point that you’d imagine the fivesome holding its own with any Legends Of Thrash bill you’d wanna throw together. Oh, and side note – they have. In ‘House Of Flies’, the head-down forward charge takes on dimensions of ALL OUT WAR, but what you’re not gonna forget is that this is an album shot through with more solos than Yngwie, only these have more balls than the WNBA.
If you make it through the aural decimation of ‘Power And Blood’ into the (somewhat) respite of ‘Playing God’, you’ll end up thanking yourself, know that. For shredders who wish shredding didn’t have such a prissy misconception about it. For punks who love the first couple SEPULTURA albums and VOIVOD. For hardcore fellas sick to their back teeth of “pit fu” and breakdown after sad-ass breakdown, time to start Seeing Through Fire.
Review By: Lord Randall
Seeing Through Fire