Ektomorf – Retribution

AFM Records

Review by Carl “ThunderGod” Pickles

For anyone unfamiliar, Ektomorf hail from Mezőkovácsháza in Hungary, near the Romanian border.  If there’s one thing you can say about this band, it’s that these guys really don’t mess about.  The songs are short and to the point, most being shorter than three minutes. The anger and sheer venom in these grooves is evident from the opening battering of You Can’t Control Me.  It really doesn’t let up from there.  Zoltán “Zoli” Farkas’s snarling delivery and guitar playing, aided and abetted by fellow guitarist, Tamás Schrottner, bass player Szabolcs Murvai and sticksman Róbert Jaksa brutally assault your senses.  When you realise that, as a gypsy, Zoli had been the target of prejudice and racism in his home country, it’s really no surprise he’s this angry.

One of the highlights has to be Numb & Sick, which features a guest vocal from labelmates Ill Nino’s Christian Machado providing a melodic counterpoint to Zoltán’s fury.  It’s a real shame this one’s so short.  Then there’s Lost & Destroyed, showing a more sensitive side to the band.  A real study in controlled aggression, moving from sneering to furious and back without losing any intensity.

Talking of highlights, I Hate You really grabbed me.  A short, sharp burst of fury.  Venomous lyrics and equally venomous delivery from the band on the shortest song on the album.  Brutal.  Whisper, the penultimate, and longest, track is a real showstopper.  As far as I’m concerned, this is the standout on the album, somewhat reminiscent of the mighty Machine Head at their finest.  Unfortunately the last minute of the track is entirely forgettable and sounds a little tacked on, if I’m honest.

The pulverizing, Eastern-tinged opening riff to Souls Of Fire lulls you into a false sense of security, soon giving way to another chugging hatefest.  The riff resurfaces before the pedal goes to the metal.  This one will turn the moshpit into a bloodbath.

It’s not all balls-to-the-wall fury at breakneck speed for the rest of the album.  I wouldn’t be complaining if it was, mind, but I do appreciate a little light and shade. Save Me slows the pace and ups the intensity, the aforementioned Whisper has a groove you could drive a bus through and the sensitive semi-acoustic song about lost love which closes the album shows Ektomorf are way more than just the (very good!) one trick pony they appear to be for the early part of the album.

I will admit that there is the odd thing that doesn’t work for me, but they’re pretty minor quibbles if I’m honest.

These guys are good.  So is this album.


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