Sound Advice: Ringworm with Exalt, Grim State, The Jig and Abraxas (Oct. 25)

Thrash Metal overlords Ringworm play Northside Yacht Club.

click to enlarge Ringworm - PHOTO: RELAPSE RECORDS
Photo: Relapse Records
Ringworm
There are varying timelines and accounts of when and how Ringworm erupted from Cleveland’s underground Metal scene, but the fact everyone can agree on is that the quintet has been finding the commonality between Hardcore, Thrash Metal and melodic Hard Rock for the better part of the past quarter century.

Although Ringworm has been through more than a dozen and a half personnel shifts in that time and even taken a lengthy hiatus, the band has still managed to record several splits, demos and EPs, as well as eight studio albums, including their recently released and brutally powerful Snake Church.

The one constant in Ringworm’s rotating cast has been lead vocalist and gifted tattoo artist James Bulloch, better known as Human Furnace. It’s an apt nickname for the frontman; his brimstone bellow has a scorch radius similar to a military grade flamethrower. The band (which got its name from Vincent Price’s horror classic The Conqueror Worm) self- or indie-released much of its early work, including its 1993 full-length debut, The Promise, which perfectly set the stage for Ringworm’s triumphant assault on Thrash Metal madness. The album was reissued in 2003.

After a 10-year, four-album run with Victory Records, Ringworm released its first live album, the frenetic Stigmatas in the Flesh, in 2012. The following year, the band signed with Relapse; that labels’ devotion to the genre and distribution reach are perfect fits for the relentlessly touring outfit. Over the years, Ringworm has hit the national club circuit with boundless energy while opening for the likes of Eyehategod, Napalm Death, Goatwhore, Voivod and Converge, among many others. 

The band’s full-length Relapse debut, 2014’s Hammer of the Witch, was a breakthrough release, earning rave reviews from a variety of Metal-centric and mainstream outlets. The brief but potent Snake Church, released last July, has been greeted with an equally ecstatic response, making the last three years among the most successful in the band’s long, dark history. Now is the best time to catch a virulent dose of Ringworm.

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