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Monday, October 19, 2015

Review: Ektomorf - Agressor


Ektomorf – short, snappy and smashing like always

Ektomorf is a very old player in the groove metal scene that has been made popular by bands like Chimaira, Devildriver and Machine Head. Unlike those hordes bands from America, however, Ektomorf has never had the big success these bands enjoyed; they came from Hungary, far away from the great labels of this world. Signing to Nuclear Blast and working together with Danish producer Tue Madsen changed that and however still not the biggest name out there, the longevity of Ektomorf has gained them some fame in amongst the giants of the genre.

The new album by Ektomorf, Agressor, fits right in with the long standing tradition that has had its short peak around 2003 when everyone and his mother listened to the new fad in metal. Agressor, however, seems sort of stuck in this same register that has been explored and exhausted, one would say. As its name says, Agressor somehow manages to avoid the pitfalls and remain agressive, fresh and in your face with a very fat guitar sound that chugs along every riff. No polyrythms, no weird solos five minutes long with more technique than soul, just a very loud and nasty sound with agression dealt out in precisely timed doses, albeit always much, much agression.

The trick to this album then is maybe that there is still much variety to be found and recycled from earlier bands and albums in the genre, but if done well make for a good song and no rip-off. The first song after the intro “I” has a main riff straight from the likes of Spineshank, then a breakdown the magnitude of Chimaira and the growls by Zoltán Farkas the reminding one of Rob Flynn by Machine Head. It really sounds like a tapestry of tropes that has been haphazardly put together but the secret is that Ektomorf has been in this game for so long, they probably invented some of those tropes. They know how to use them, know exactly how to show through music how damned agressive they can be. It makes Agressor feel like that coat you forgot about in the summer, but come winter put on again and find a packet of cigarettes in. Your day is made.

Agressor is, in the respects of this genre that some may call the American New Wave of Heavy Metal, a very basic, bare bones and classic album. It ticks all the boxes of the genre without getting repetitive. Sometimes there are moments where one might feel some sort of boredom with the album because this has all been done before. But damn, they do it well after all this time.

Written by Frank van Drunen

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