Following their dalliance in the unplugged arena, with the highly imaginatively named ‘The Acoustic’ project earlier this year, Hungarian neo-thrashers Ektomorf have plugged their funny shaped geetars back into their Marshall stacks and turned the volume back up to 11 for this, their ninth studio album.
Having built a reputation for pushing the boundaries, and changing styles almost as often as some PM staff change their underwear, the quartet again veer off at a tangent with ‘Black Flag’ with an opus that could, quite frankly, have been ripped straight from Slipknot’s early catalogue. Ektomorf have also been heavily criticized over the years for imitating Sepultura/Soulfly – vocalist Zoltán Farkas certainly does have a very Max Cavalera feel to his sound – and this comparison is more than apt on the likes of ‘The Cross’, ‘Cut It Out’ and the title track in the early part of the album.
Things start well with the folkish intro to ‘War Is My Way’, which builds over its first quarter into a battering ram of blastbeats, courtesy of the highly under-rated Robert Jaksa, whose superb kit work is one of the true highlights of the album. However, the Slipknot references come to mind very early with ‘Unscarred’, before that trio Cavalera-esque offerings.
Apart from the confrontational ‘Fuck Your God’ and the challenging ‘Never Surrender’, the middle section of the album is fairly run of the mill stuff: the last third ploughs straight back into Corey Cavalera (see what we did there?) territory, with ‘Sick Love’, which is another of the album’s better tracks, while ‘Kill It’ is again very Slipknot-ish but highly effective in its delivery. And, then, they go off at a complete tangent with a disappointingly faithful cover of the Foo Fighters’ ‘The Pretender’: maybe if they had twisted it around a bit, it would have been a great way to finish off , but, as it is, it’s a disappointing ending to a disappointing album…
A bit more original thinking and this could be a great album, as all of the credentials are there – good songs, well written and constructed, and the delivery is first rate – but, a lack of imagination lets it down badly…
1. War Is My Way
3. The Cross
4. Cut It Out
5. Black Flag
6. Private Hell
7. 12 Angels
9. Fuck Your God
10. Never Surrender
11. Sick Love
12. Feel Like This
13. Kill It
14. The Pretender
‘Black Flag’ is out now on AFM and available by clicking the link below.