Ektomorf have come in for a fair amount of stick over the years, particularly with regards to their lack of originality, or to put it more succinctly that they are an outright Soulfly clone. Admittedly the comparisons are far too obvious to ignore, but to base your opinion solely on that is to do them a disservice. You need to have a little more in your locker than simply being a clone band in order to endure in an often fickle marketplace, but Ektomorf have been around for over 20 years now, (which is quite staggering now I think about it). The fact is that their high energy and aggressively styled groove metal has a wide audience, and whilst they may not be the first name on everyone’s lips they do know how to appeal to their particular demographic. It’s that appeal that brings them to this, their 9th full length album, ‘Retribution’, and whilst it’s fair to say we have a reasonable idea of what’s in store, it’s always worth checking in, just in case Zoltan’s suddenly had a change of style and has decided to take us off on a meandering neo-folk kick.
As you correctly suspected, the long awaited folk experiment will have to wait for a future project as the tribal drums and chugging guitars of ‘You Can’t Control Me’ kick in. It’s a short and sweet blast with a shocking opening 20 seconds where I wondered briefly if Zolti Farkas was going to experiment with a slightly different, although no less violent vocal style. Normal service is soon resumed however and the song progresses in the now traditional economic pummelling style. Fans will be pleased to note that Farkas’s confrontational manner remains full bore, with him taking umbrage at everything and everyone. As well as the well noted vocal style comparison, Farkas also graduated with honours from the Max Cavalera school of prolific swearing on a limited vocabulary, the result being that this album contains more fucks per minute than an Olympic level prostitute. The profanity occasionally turns to hilarity, particularly on the opening of ‘Who The Fuck Are You?’ with the aggressive assertion that “You are a fuckface!”, which makes me chuckle every time I hear it. Along with the usual fayre, there is a standard but largely enjoyable cover of ‘I Hate You’ by Verbal Abuse, (although popularised by Slayer), a guest appearance from Ill Nino’s Christian Machado which sounds as if it is laden with saccharine autotune, and finally an exceptionally tepid ballad to close out the album, which is wholly and completely unsatisfying after 13 tracks of reasonably unrelenting bulldozer aggression. It’s like spending 40 minutes beating the crap out of someone with a crowbar then finishing them off with a nipple tweak.
Whilst it may sound as if I am disparaging about this album, the truth is that it is quite enjoyable in a throwaway manner. I find it quite difficult to take tantrum metal seriously and so long as I listen to this as a fun album rather than a raging rebellious call to arms, it is a perfectly enjoyable if uninspiring experience. If the point was to fuck all those fucking fuckers and all their fucking bullshit though, I’d say that its mission accomplished here. Fucking fuckers successfully fucked!
(7/10 Lee Kimber)