You don't need to be of any particular political persuasion to have noticed that civilization, if we can still call it that, is going through something of a sticky patch at present. As a result, you might expect to be bombarded with incredibly angry records by young bands protesting the state of things. And while there are undoubtedly many examples of the latter, it seems to have been left to a veteran metallic hardcore band, with nearly 30 years of active service under their blood-spattered belt, to remind everybody what seriously pissed off sounds like. Holy shit, "Death Becomes My Voice" isn't just angry, it's fucking livid.
Longtime RINGWORM fans will be familiar with the band's raison-d'être by now. Where most metallic hardcore bands subscribe to a pre-planned route, Cleveland's finest do everything with no brakes and no limits on the amount of hateful noise generated. The result is deeply nasty and thrillingly relentless: a sustained tirade against everyone and everything, from mankind's idiocy to the lure of death itself, delivered with commanding heft and an ever-present threat of total chaos breaking out.
The first two tracks rip past in what seems like seconds: the title track is simply the hardcore anthem of the year, an impossibly indignant tornado of pitch-black riffing made somehow even more terrifying by vocalist Human Furnace's spittle-spraying invective. In stark contrast to a lot of tough-guy beatdown hardcore, RINGWORM doesn't sound like they're looking for trouble—they are the trouble, and these 39 minutes of inexorable, hope-thwarting fury must be approached at your own risk. That said, there are plenty of simpler pleasures to be enjoyed here too. "Do Not Resuscitate" emits a strong whiff of crossover thrash, as blastbeats collide with punk rock clatter. "Acquiesce" is a slow burning act of infernal sermonizing; no posi-vibes here, folks, this is abandon-all-hope, end-of-the-world shit, and all the more satisfying as a consequence.
As you struggle to think of another band that sound as righteously incensed as RINGWORM (TERROR, perhaps? INTEGRITY? Nope. Probably not.), you may find yourself swept away by the warped thrash of "Dead to Me", a potential highlight on an album that is arguably too streamlined for highlights and one of the most avowedly metallic things RINGWORM have ever written. Elsewhere, "The God of New Flesh" is a two-minute, SLAYER-ized mugging with Human Furnace in full-on psycho mode; "I Want to Tear the World Apart" encapsulates RINGWORM's ethos at a pummeling pace, blackened and crusty around the edges and blessed with a defiantly old-school lead break. A final, concussive elbow to the bridge of the nose, closer "Final Division" rages with untamed hard rock abandon and a doomy, Doomsday climax; a bellicose period point at the end of a grueling but weirdly satisfying rollercoaster ride through the minds of heavy music's angriest men. Don't look for solutions or cozy closure here: this is an act of purest catharsis, electrified and unstoppable.