With both SOULFLY and SEPULTURA both slowly moving away from their Groove-oriented roots (with the latter moving at a slightly slower pace), there needs to be a band that gives us that straight to the face, semi-Thrash, Hardcore inspired sound. Turns out this band just happens to be EKTOMORF.
As a fan of the band for some time now, since “Destroy” at least, there is a simplicity to these Hungarians that’s rather…well, refreshing. No tricks. No aces up the sleeves. Very rarely does this band deviate from their established riff and shout heavy sound and that ‘stick to the guns’ attitude makes for a fun and comfortable feeling.
EKTOMORF continues on this path with their ninth album, “Redemption.” Filling in for the slightly Nu Metal-tinged shoes of SOULFLY, this band combines elements of Hardcore, Thrash, and Groove Metal into a rather by-the-numbers approach that you have heard before. Luckily, the band does stick to it and rarely shifts from what works. The riffs are heavy and mostly mid-tempo (although they do dabble in more Thrash oriented speeds on tracks like “God Will Cut You Down” thanks mostly to some rare double-bass drum work on it) and focus down on the Groove. The bass-heavy sound and drums follow this ideology and Zoltán Farkas (vocals) really utilizes that Max Cavalera inspired guttural shouting style to a ‘T’.
This sound was something that EKTOMORF has established and ran with for their last few albums. So when the band started throwing in more of a spoken word element on this record, it was rather surprising. “Stay Away” and “Never Should” both use this extensively and it gives these songs a rather Nu Metal inspired sound. The band has always dabbled with traces of Nu Metal (like the rapper collaboration on their previous album), but it was rather surprising to hear it appear in such a heavily used way.
Despite their very well established and no sucker punches allowed style that they have used for years now, “Redemption” isn’t quite up to par with some previous efforts. When it does experiment, with Nu Metal style spoken word elements and the acoustic style of “Sea Of Misery,” it seems rather lack luster. EKTOMORF still hit many strides with this album and when it’s on, it’s definitely on. Mostly for fans of the sound or previous records though.
Songs to check out: “Last Fight,” “God Will Cut You Down,” “Stigmatized.”
(Online March 19, 2011)