With a new label and their first record of original material in three years, Ringworm have returned. While the group issued a four-song EP on Relapse last September, Hammer Of The Witch marks the five-piece’s first full-length album with the company, which they signed to last year after releasing the majority of their past music through Victory.

Though the band has been on and off since their formation in the early ’90s (taking time off to pursue other projects, in and out of the industry), Hammer Of The Witch establishes why the hardcore veterans are still relevant. The album opens with “Dawn Of Decay,” which draws the listener in with soft crackling that is straight out of a vintage horror film, and proves suiting as the record has an overall creepy theme to it. This continues until the main riff sets in with full force, exhibiting right off the bat what to expect throughout the rest of the LP: heart-pounding, hard-hitting thrash, with each song being more aggressive than the last.

The skills of guitarists Matt Sorg and John Comprix are showcased in “One Of Us Is Going To Have To Die…,” as the track features an intricate, harmonious solo that is a little bit more melodic than some of the other guitar parts throughout disc. “Psychic Vampire” is another standout, powered by blastbeats and James “Human Furnace” Bulloch’s intense, soaring vocals.

For longtime Ringworm fans, and fans of hardcore in general, Hammer Of The Witch will not disappoint, and serves as another vicious release in the group’s ever-growing discography.

In A Word: Slaying

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