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Ektomorf: Reborn

I've been aware of Ektomorf for a good while now. All of my encounters with their music were usually met with complete indifference or a roll of the eyes. For those not aware, Ektomorf played a style of groove metal not unlike Soulfly or Machine Head (during their weird jumpsuit phase). Back in high school my cohorts and I would call this kind of stuff "jump da f*ck up" metal, because without fail, at every live gig for a band like this the frontman would inevitably yell that phrase at the crowd. As a genre it's dated, stale, and mind numbing. At least to me. However, as previously stated, Ektomorf played in this style. Now (according to them), they mercifully play thrash metal in the style of the original big four. That's a relief to hear, but is it true?

Firstly, it's absolutely an improvement from their earlier material. Sonically, it's more of a groovy mix of early Metallica and Chaos AD era Sepultura than anything else. Singer/guitarist and band leader Zoltan Farkas' voice is very reminiscent of Max Cavalera's atonal bark, but with even less variation from song to song. The riffs are thrashier to be sure, but since the band plays with 8 string guitars and aren't entirely divorced from their previous groove oriented sound a lot of the songs bleed together to some degree. The major improvement is seen in the dual leads/harmonies and slower interludes that pop up in the majority of the tracks.

These interludes and lead bits highlight one of the major faults of this album, though. While they serve to break up the monotony, they are incredibly derivative of early Metallica. When the big four were brought up as a comparison to what they do here, they certainly weren't far off. They wear these influences on their sleeves the entire way through the album.

In addition to the guitar soloing being awash with Kirk Hammet-esqe solos, there are a ton of direct comparisons that can be made to the songs on this album to songs Metallica penned 30-plus years ago:

"Reborn"'s slower section in the middle is very reminiscent of "Master of Puppets". "Where the Hate Conceives" has an intro that is so "Battery" it needs to be heard to be believed. "And the Dead Will Walk" is very similar to "The Thing that Should not Be". "The Worst is Yet to Come" (Which sounds like a threat at this point) has literal bells tolling in the intro and is loaded with Kirk's signature wah drenched leads. "Forsaken" is their take on "Orion", with a bonus drum intro provided by "When the Levee Breaks". On one hand I get it. If you are going for a shift in style and have a specific inspiration to draw from, it makes sense to pull from that. But on the other, why would I want to listen to this groovier, worse version of the same thing I've been listening to for years and years?

I think it's admirable of them to shift away from their bread and butter style to something more interesting. The opening and closing tracks aren't bad for what they are, which are bouncy blends of Sepultura, Slayer, and Metallica. However, the album as a whole is derivative, and frankly the songwriting chops aren't there to advocate listening to this over any of the aforementioned bands. Add in the still remaining bits of groove/nu-metal and it's not a terribly fun listen.

Track Listing:
01. Ebullition
02. Reborn
03. And The Dead Will Walk
04. Fear Me
05. Where The Hate Conceives
06. The Worst Is Yet To Come
07. Forsaken
08. Smashing The Past

Added: January 26th 2021
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 684
Language: english

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