Ektomorf – Retribution (AFM Records)Tuesday, 11th March 2014
The term “New Ektomorf album” is a skewed one, for really, when was the last time the band truly put out a “new album?” It’s been a while, as the Hungarians are too enamored (to a fault) with anything Cavalera-related, practically rendering them as a footnote in the jungle metal discussion. Retribution doesn’t see to change that much of the band’s creative plight, although the occasional creative wrinkle (read: acoustic songs, melody injections) do at least distract from Ektomorf’s unprecedented run of Soulfly cover albums.
Moving past utterly predictable and Max-ravaged songs like “Fear Your Fear” and the really porous “Watch Me,” which coins every regrettable phrase the aforementioned Soulfly used on their nu-metal du-jour Primitive album, Retribution finds some semblance of identity via outside sources. “Numb and Sick” contains guest vocals from Ill Nino’s Christian Machado, thereby granting the album a reprieve from the rampant bark-to-a-syllable grunts of Zoltan Farkas. The Machine Head-spliced “Save Me” has some mojo in the clean channel, ominous guitar department (a total MH staple), while the acoustic “Collapsed Bridge” may be rife with ballad clichés, yet displays a softness and angularity to the Hungarians that frankly, few probably know exist.
It’s obvious Ektomorf are well past the stage in their career where a breakthrough is imminent – they weren’t able to go up to the next level on Nuclear Blast, so it’s not going to happen here, even on a strong label like AFM. So this is where the conundrum with a reliable, steady, but creatively-bereft band like Ektomorf lies: They keep doing the same thing over and over, hoping for different results, when really, someone should have showed them Einstein’s definition of insanity a long time ago. Like, 2003.