Cleveland, Ohio’s Ringworm have had quite a career. With a huge number of lineup changes since the band’s inception in 1991, it’s clear that they’ve had multiple opportunities to shift their fist-to-face sound over time. After more than 20 years running riot on tour, Ringworm celebrate another move to the road with a special vinyl recording, Bleed. It’s short and doesn’t do anything remotely new for the band, but fans who grew to love Ringworm will find all of their favorite features brought to their record player once again.
Bleed is a brief three song vinyl record, with each track demonstrating the band’s penchant for blistering speed and metal-influenced intensity. With a clear love of the chaotic thrash metal genre and the adrenaline-drenched hardcore genre, Ringworm’s special promo LP does capture the band’s spirit well. Despite a punk aesthetic, hearing such powerful guitar lines from guitarists Matt Sorg and John Comprix is exceptional. The guys compliment the intensity well, with their solo techniques and sounds influenced straight from the thrash metal high-rises like Metallica, Anthrax and Slayer. In combination with a rapid-fire machine gun percussion from drummer Danny Zink, Ringworm pick the best parts from 80’s thrash, while keeping a hardcore energy alive at all time.
However, these three songs don’t speak volumes. As intense and furious as these three songs are, they are clear examples of a band sticking to their guns. Across the three tracks, there’s nary a moment where the band changes things up and shifts into a new gear. It’s fast and heavy, but no amount of speed and distorted weight can prevent these three tracks from blending together into a collection of extreme punk metal cacophony. It’s crazy, but insanity can’t carry Bleed out of its already established forte.
Ringworm’s trump card on Bleed is a cover of punk band Discharge’s “The Nightmare Continues.” While the guys in Ringworm do preserve that sense of anarchic, rambunctious fervor, their extreme hardcore sound doesn’t click in tune with Discharge’s original punk track. The energy is misplaced; the entire song blends in with the other two tracks on Bleed, making the cover a missed opportunity, both to recapture the spirit of Discharge’s original and to revamp the performance in Ringworm’s own light.
Ringworm do a good job of mixing thrash metal with its (debatable) roots of punk sounds, while adding some extreme musicianship as well. If you’re a fan of Ringworm’s extensive discography, Bleed will get your attention during the brief time it lasts. If you’re looking for a starting point for Ringworm, however, you won’t find a good one in Bleed. With such few surprises and a sound that never evolves or grows in appeal over time, it’s definitely not an essential disc, even for the most flexible metal maven.
Categories: Music review