Album Review – Ektomorf / Aggressor (2015)

When you listen to this awesome album by one of the best Hungarian metal acts of all time, you’ll definitely become an aggressor.

Rating4

ektomorf_aggressorLast year, when I reviewed the excellent album Retribution, by Hungarian metallers Ektomorf, I said they were a promising band who were undoubtedly going to grow a lot in the following years due to the passion and energy they always invest into their furious mix of Groove and Thrash Metal. Well, it actually took a lot less than expect for them to reach a whole new level of savagery and become a pleasant reality in the world of heavy music, because the 46 minutes of groove and brutality found in their brand new album, entitled Aggressor, kick fuckin’ ass beyond dispute.

In addition, if you listen to Retribution and Aggressor in a row (a highly recommended activity if you’re at the gym, by the way), you’ll easily notice their evolution as musicians, in special frontman Zoltán “Zoli” Farkas who improved his hostile vocals considerably, therefore providing additional layers of fury to his band’s musicality. Not only that, their lyrics continue to be as violent as hell, totally no holds barred, which together with a more complex songwriting offer the listener one of the best Groove Metal albums of the year in my opinion.

The ominous and primeval Intro sets the tone for the massacre straightforwardly entitled I, where you can clearly see how they stepped up their aggressiveness, cohesiveness and technique if compared to most of their old songs. This is one of those tunes that will make your blood boil in a good way, pumping you up for whatever task you’re about to take on. And the title-track Aggressor is even better, making it hard not to break your fuckin’ neck to those insanely heavy riffs. Can you imagine the level of craziness this tune will cause during their live performances? Besides, the groovy bass lines by Szabolcs “Szabi” Murvai are what give the song its balance and punch, enhancing the overall quality of this great composition. In the dark Holocaust, composed “in the memory of the 6 million victims”, Ektomorf raise the flag of “never forgive, never forget” in Auschwitz, inspired by the music by Sepultura and the horrors his people suffered. If you don’t know, Zoli has European Roma/Gypsy roots, who were also massacred by the Nazi, perfectly depicted by this brutal Groove Metal tune with puncturing guitar lines and solos.

Move On gets closer to what they did in Retribution, delivering American Alternative Metal with extra doses of violence. It’s one of those songs drummer Róbert Jaksa might love playing, pounding his drums violently while the rest of the band extracts the fiercest sounds from their instruments, especially guitarist Tamás “Tomi” Schrottner; while Evil By Nature, featuring the iconic George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher, is a flawless mix of the Groove/Thrash Metal by Ektomorf with the unparalleled Death Metal by Cannibal Corpse. Everyone knows I love the growls by Corpsegrinder, and I have to say they matched perfectly with Ektomorf’s musicality. In other words, this is an amazing vocal duo, like two beasts screaming against the rest of the world, with the lyrics being spot-on showing what the human being truly is (“Hate runs through your veins / Insanity in the unspoken words / Deaf from the screams of the devil / Hungry for blood / Hungry for death”). Furthermore, take a read at Zoli’s comments on how the vocals by Corpsegrinder were recorded, giving the song an even more visceral vibe: “We are friends with the Cannibal Corpse guys since a long time. Last year in November I spoke to George (Fisher) about doing a song together. The recent Budapest show of Cannibal Corpse then was the perfect opportunity to meet and record his parts. So I took small home recording studio gear with me and recorded vocals with George in the dressing room before their show. It was fun and turned out killer! The song’s title is “Evil By Nature” and you can be sure that it will smash your face!”

ektomorf 2015Getting back to a more traditional approach, in You Can’t Get More they keep thriving with their unique Eastern European metallic groove. At this point of the album it’s undeniable how Zoli has grown as a singer and a musician, showing you don’t need to stop screaming to evolve in your career, don’t you agree? And I’m not sure if you’ve noticed this already but all songs in Aggressor are connected, enhancing the album’s flow and effectiveness, which is the case in Emotionless World, where they add elements of Melodic Death Metal to the music in a sinister ambience crafted by its sick guitar riffs, and despite its chorus not being purely screamed it ends up working pretty well. Eastside showcases an acoustic intro before it gets as belligerent as possible, with its chorus being fueled by hints of Slipknot. It’s yet another awesome composition inspired by the most obscure periods of the Hungarian history, with Zoli and Tomi doing an amazing job firing sheer darkness through their guitars.

Scars is perhaps the most generic of all songs, lacking more creativity to get to the same level of awesomeness as the other songs, whereas Damned Nation is a beautiful display of how modern Groove Metal should be. Moreover, Zoli bursts his lungs out vociferating the song’s name during the chorus of this boisterous chant made for banging our heads nonstop. The next tune, You Lost, sounds extracted from their previous album Retribution, containing lots of similar elements such as groovy bass lines, rhythmic beats and a solid shift from guttural to clean vocals and vice-versa, followed by the simple but effective You’re Not For Me, which focuses on the screams by Zoli and of course the band’s traditional heaviness. Fans of the band will love this nice blend of a fast sounding and a more rhythmic and aggressive chorus that goes on until the song darkly fades away, being replaced by the purely acoustic track Memento, a melancholic tribute to their roots and to their culture, and maybe a smoother version of the “never forgive, never forget” message as you can see by the name of the song.

In summary, what are you waiting for to connect to Ektomorf on Facebook and to purchase Aggressor at the official AFM Recods webstore (I would personally go for the superb Limited Fanbox edition) or on iTunes? If there’s one lesson Ektomorf can teach all of us, it’s for sure the fact that whenever we listen to their primitive and robust metal music, we become true aggressors.

Best moments of the album: I, Aggressor, Evil By Nature and Eastside.

Worst moments of the album: Scars.

Released in 2015 AFM Records

Track listing
1. Intro 0:45
2. I 3:49
3. Aggressor 2:35
4. Holocaust 3:56
5. Move On 3:04
6. Evil By Nature (feat. George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher) 4:23
7. You Can’t Get More 3:22
8. Emotionless World 3:26
9. Eastside 4:17
10. Scars 3:42
11. Damned Nation 2:39
12. You Lost 2:56
13. You’re Not For Me 4:50
14. Memento 3:03

Band members
Zoltán “Zoli” Farkas – vocals, guitar
Tamás “Tomi” Schrottner – guitar
Szabolcs “Szabi” Murvai – bass
Róbert Jaksa – drums

Guest musician
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – additional vocals on “Evil By Nature”

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