Birth is Pain

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Saving up eight years' worth of venom and frustrations, Ringworm pulls no punches with one of the most metallic attacks any hardcore band can claim, and that includes the band's frequent touring partners Hatebreed. Propelling the band's sound to such heights are guitarists Frank "3-Gun" Novinec and Matt Sorg's attacking style that sounds like ancient Agnostic Front, if they managed Kreator's guitar tone circa Extreme Aggression and actually threw some creative solos into the mix. You can tell the band loves the ambiguity that comes from straddling both fences, because they play it up at every turn. As powerful as the music is, however, the vocals of HF (stands for Human Furnace) stand out for the opposite reasons. He's got a monotone shriek that never wavers from full-on screech, without a single variance of pitch or volume: At best, it's an acquired taste; at worst, it's redundant after a while. This major weakness prevents Ringworm from being considered one of the top acts, but the long-overdue deal with a label that can help the previously self-reliant act is neither unwarranted nor undeserved. Any band that can attain such a meaty guitar sound and use it in such a catchy manner is certainly not a dime a dozen, and worthy of a measure of respect.

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