"some music was meant to stay underground..."

70000 Tons of Metal - The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise

Ektomorf - "Redemption" (CD)

Ektomorf - "Redemption" CD cover image

"Redemption" track listing:

1. Last Fight (4:17)
2. Redemption (2:51)
3. I'm In Hate (3:25)
4. God Will Cut You Down (3:04)
5. Stay Away (2:26)
6. Never Should (4:21)
7. Sea Of My Misery (2:13)
8. The One (feat. Danko Jones) (3:40)
9. Revolution (3:49)
10. Cigany (3:09)
11. Stigmatized (4:38)
12. Anger (3:28)

Reviewed by on February 21, 2011

"Ektomorf now knows Sepultura, hardcore, and sludge are a pretty killer combination..."

Ektomorf has been around for a long time – since 1993 – and the band has released eight full-length albums previous to 2011’s “Redemption.” When I reviewed Ektomorf’s most recent release, “What Doesn’t Kill Me,” back in 2009, I was more troubled by the lack of any variation than I was by the Max Cavalera worship. And since every band I review eagerly reads my treatises and immediately implements all my suggestions (they do that…. Right? Right!?!? ), I am hoping that Ektomorf followed my instructions and found a few new muses.

Early in the band’s career Ektomorf was a potentially fruitful combination of Hungarian Gypsy music and heavy metal due to band leader’s Zoltan Farkas’ background, but the group quickly became a Sepultura/Soufly tribute band. The first two cuts on “Redemtion” don’t offer any hope for change as the members chug in a downtuned and tribal fashion while Farkas yells the short burst song title over and over. But then “I’m In Hate” trundles by, and it’s like a breath of slow, sludgy air.

It is almost a doom cut - slow, sludgy and gummy – and with Farkas’ forlorn wail struggling to save itself from the quicksand, “I’m In Hate” owes more to Eyehategod and Buzzov*en than Cavalera’s crews. At only three-and-one-half minutes it is focused, brief, and different, with only a touch of the tribal groove sneaking in the ending jam. “God Will Cut You Down” and “Stay Away” both take Ektomorf into hardcore territory – think Sepultura covering Bad Brains – and are totally unexpected twists.

They listened to me! Alright! And the best part is that Ektomorf really took my advice to heart, as the Sepultura and Soulfly influences take a clear kick-in-the-mud-draggers in favor of sludge and hardcore. “Never Should” nicely counterpoints a head-boppin’ drum hook and spoken lyrics with some of the Sepultura guitars, and satisfyingly explodes into a hardcore rant toward the end. “Sea of Misery” is a quiet Nirvana-esque acoustic murmur. The real neat part of “Redemption” is that the shorter length (twelve songs in 41 minutes) cuts off most songs before a logical conclusion, and that psychological non-completion adds an extra element of suspense and unfulfilled surprise. It sounds like a bad thing, but it really works.

Not everything is touched by Midas, of course. Farkas’ vocals aren’t always great (“Cigany,” “Stigmatized”), “The One” featuring Danko Jones doesn’t gel, and outside of brief moments of brilliance, like on “Never Should,”drummer Gergely Tarin doesn’t have much to add, although to his credit he doesn’t detract either. But nobody is perfect and Ektomorf has finally found a creative groove by pulling back on the Cavalera exaltation and letting the band’s own musical ability surface. Ektomorf now knows Sepultura, hardcore, and sludge are a pretty killer combination, and because of this when album closer “Anger” fires up the chugging tribal fury it sounds fresh, and we are all happily moshing around the jungle fire once again.

Highs: The hardcore and Sepultura combinations are awesome, like on “Never Should.”

Lows: The drumming isn’t great on the non-tribal parts.

Bottom line: Previous Sepultura/Soufly comparisons fall by the wayside on this varied and well done full-length.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)