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

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

Ektomorf - "What Doesn't Kill Me" (CD)

Ektomorf - "What Doesn't Kill Me" CD cover image

"What Doesn't Kill Me" track listing:

1. Rat War
2. Nothing Left
3. What Doesn't Kill Me...
4. Revenge To All
5. Love And Live
6. I Can See You
7. I Got It All
8. New Life
9. Sick Of It All
10. It's Up To You
11. Envy
12. Scream
13. Breed The Fire

Reviewed by on May 1, 2009

"The rhythms and riffs they play seem to be influenced almost as much by the syncopated samba music of South America more than the thrash metal riffs the band likes."

Hungarian thrash-groove metal band Ektomorf has been compared to Soulfly and Sepultura many times. Their new album “What Doesn’t Kill Me” is not going to stop those comparisons at all, and while that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it isn’t the best situation for the album to be in.

The music focuses on the heavily distorted and down-tuned guitars that lay the basis for the sound. They drone on and on creating an incessantly percussive rhythm rather than any kind of melody. The first song “Rat War” has just one riff that the band plays at different tempos. The romp is broken up only by a quick guitar solo.

The guitars do have a nice tribal quality, as the rhythms and riffs they play seem to be influenced almost as much by the syncopated samba music of South America more than the thrash metal riffs the band likes. Each song is a brutal rhythmic blast, with the guitars driving the core of the groove, the vocals gruffly sung on top, and the bass and drums wailing away underneath. While the short format of each song doesn’t allow for much variation or experimentation, the heavy rhythms carry each song and groove throughout, but variation is exactly what is lacking from the album.

The short song structure combined with the large number of songs creates a dizzying effect, as each song sounds pretty similar, and it is difficult to tell any song apart from any other. It is admittedly hard to break from monotony when the band’s signature sound is so distinct, but monotony is what happens. The guitars, vocals, rhythm section, key, tempo - nothing varies. The one attempt at a break from the norm falls on its face. “Sick of It All” is a rap metal song that sounds like a Limp Bizkit outtake from 2005. Misplaced lyrical fury, guitars that don’t complement the rhythm of the vocals, an aggressively stark piano line – the components just don’t mesh.

At first listen the music sounds vital and fresh, a nice take on the Sepultura and Soulfly style tribal-groove metal. But after repeated spins the music gets tired quickly. Ektomorf does take a big influence from Sepultura and Soulfly, which isn’t bad in and of itself, but their musical chops aren’t inspired enough to go beyond and create something unique and consistently interesting. While the bands Ektomorf looks up to are good because they are never afraid to stray from the norm, it seems like it is the exact opposite for Ektomorf. They found their niche and they play the heck out of it, but that’s all they really have, and it isn’t enough to create something great.

Highs: The rhythms laid down by the guitars are potent and heavy.

Lows: The music is quite repetitive as the down-tuned distortion just pounds away.

Bottom line: Uninspired groove-thrash metal that gets old fast.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 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)