Ringworm has returned in 2023 with the release of their ninth album "Seeing Through Fire" on Nuclear Blast, their first on the label. The band returns after a four year gap from their last album "Death Becomes My Voice". The band's intensity on this record showcases the band's raging take on thrash metal is unmatched. With it's pummeling hostility all over this release, this could potentially be one of the band's best records. Strap in listeners, cause we are going on one hell of an intense record.
Opening the album is the title track. With a grimey, gritty sounding thrash riff with drums building into the verse section with a nice guitar solo, the song builds and builds. Then the vocals of James "Human Furnace" Bulloch start the song off fast and heavy. His vocals are insanely horrifying in a good way. Sounding like someone is literally on fire and dying while gut-wrenchingly screaming his pain out, it makes him one of the most unique voices in the genre. With thumping double bass and anguishing screams, the song takes a groove turn into the chorus and then ends with a short guitar solo. Kicking off the record with such ferocity and unrelenting aggression, it is a strong opening track.
The album's first single "No Solace, No Quarter, No Mercy" continues the unmatched intensity in the band's performance. Furnace's vocals are just peak visceral anger in his delivery. With drums punching hard in the mix, especially in the chorus section, and a great scream along chorus, the song is a HEAVY track with another great guitar solo at the three quarters mark. The band knows how to juggle between thrash and almost groove metal at certain points, with Furnace's vocals just adding a new level of pissed-off and unbridled anger in his vocal delivery. "Death Hoax" has another punch in the face opening riff. Continuing the thrash/crossover sound, in the vein of Iron Reagan & Power Trip, the band will not give you a chance to breath or rest your neck from how much headbanging you will do. Endless thrashy riffs, d-beat drumming with double bass, great bursts of guitar solos and horrifyingly intense vocals, this is just a band that is endlessly pissed at everything, and god forbid you get in their way.
"Thought Crimes" opens with thundering drums and heavy chugging thrash guitars. It just gets heavier and becomes an unstoppable wrecking ball with this song. Furnace's gut wrenching visceral screaming adds intensity and ferocity to the track. I love the part with the vocals almost screaming along with the guitar solo, adding a unique dynamic to the track. The song also features elements of hardcore and crossover. Ending with a spit from the vocalist, showcasing that he is just endlessly screaming from the bowels of himself to deliver such a dominant and recognizable vocal performance. "Unavoidable Truth" continues that thrash/crossover sound, giving off a hybrid of Power Trip and Biohazard in the riff. With Furnace's vocals, drenched in reverb and chorus, adding more fury and power behind his voice. The song just shows the band is just getting heavier, faster and more pissed off following each song on the record.
Songs like "House of Flies" continue the insanely fast and thrashy opening riffs with chugging, high intensity guitar playing, matching with thrash style drumming. "You Want It To" has a great tremolo playing thrash riff and guttural opening scream and blast beats. Probably my favorite track on the record with its driving drums, great guitar solo at the end, along with Furnace's vocals. After listening to it, I just get so pumped and wanna jump in the pit. "Mental Decontrol" and "Power and Blood" continue the unstoppable aggression in speed and fury that the band delivers on the record. The album's closer "Playing God" FINALLY gives the listener a chance to breath and recover. With an amazing 80's sounding thrash opening guitar section with both electric and acoustic, building to an epic crescendo by the band with pummeling double bass, drenched in reverb and a chugging thrash riff. The album closes, after thirty minutes of just indestructible intensity that Ringworm gives you on this record.
Overall, this record is an intense record. Definitely one of the band's best records to date. With unbridled savagery in the vocals, barbaric and unrelenting fury in the guitars with moments of classic thrash metal/crossover. Showcasing elements of groove metal in certain sections, this album is just thirty minutes of pissed-off aggression and rage that I haven't heard since Pantera's "Vulgar Display of Power". A standout record for the band and probably one of the angriest records of 2023. A MUST LISTEN!