Ektomorf – Vivid Black (AFM Records)Friday, 1st December 2023
Parading their heavy style in the European metal scene for over three decades, Ektomorf continues to execute a modern, groove metal platform on this latest platter Vivid Black. Consistenty fighting race-related, prejudicial ways as a Romani living in Hungary, vocalist / guitarist Zoltan Farkas uses his words and music as an agent for expressing himself to fight for social justice. The fervent passion behind his Robb Flynn meets Max Cavalera-oriented delivery matches the intertwining of nu-metal, groove metal, and thrash influences on display for these ten tracks.
The heads down rhythms plus jumpy tempo transitions contain a bit more Slipknot-ish punch, allowing “Never Be the Same” to be an early standout, especially when the half-time breakdown segment provides perfect pogo-oriented body action. Daniel Szabo has a solid backbone presence on the drums, traversing a mix of hardcore/metal chops that keep tracks like “I Don’t Belong To You” while his fleet snare / double kick activity pulsates in a logical, energetic fluidity of motion. There’s no doubt the quartet embraces solid staccato riffs with low-tuned bass supplementation, ensuring maximum groove passages while Zoltan reaches back into his bag of hardcore to metal vocal tricks as necessary. Cyber-like voice effects add an industrial sheen to “The Best of Me” as other songs like “You and Me” or “Die” obliterate in straight forward crushing heaviness. Closer “REM” takes on a bit more of a horror movie soundtrack atmosphere, the keyboard and bass aspects along with the slower-paced drumming and creepy, clean melodies very haunting to give Ektomorf a bit more left-field dynamic depth to this latest album.
Give credit where it’s due for the band’s status across European territories while touring with acts like Children of Bodom, Pro-Pain, and Fear Factory over the years, Ektomorf is one of those groove metal acts that gets the job done, yet doesn’t stand out compared to Soulfly, Machine Head, or even Slipknot in the grand scheme of things. More of the same exists with Vivid Black, the songs being good but not excellent enough to carve their own path in long-term appeal.