Ringworm – Seeing Through Fire (Album Review)

Ringworm - Seeing Through Fire album review 2023

Ringworm – Seeing Through Fire 
Released: August 18, 2023

Line Up

James ‘Human Furnace’ Bullock // vocals
Matt Sorg // guitar
Mike Lare // guitar
Ed Stephens // bass 


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Modern metalcore is a broad subgenre referring to almost any band that combines melodic metal sensibilities with hardcore’s raw edge and breakdowns. The trendier bands have incorporated keyboards with industrial and/or symphonic elements plus a combination of clean vocals and gutturals. Cleveland, Ohio natives Ringworm have been around long enough to stand in blatant defiance of such trends. Make no mistake, the beating heart of metallic hardcore is a band like Ringworm

Their ninth album, Seeing Through Fire, pulls no punches and has plenty of moments to let the hardcore kids throw Kung Fu kicks. The raw production is to be commended as it really makes the songs sound alive without losing any of the hard-hitting riffs and melodic elements. Frontman James Bolloch, aka The Human Furnace, lives up to his nickname as a beacon for rage whose delivery transcends the mark between death metal growls and punk rock barks. Take a song like ‘No Solace, No Quarter, No Mercy’, a diatribe about facing life’s challenges head on. Musically it conveys oppression through aggression and doesn’t let up for three minutes. 

That’s not to say everything is as straightforward as that. ‘Seeing Through Fire’ is a rip-snorting track with duelling melodic leads that would make Mustaine and Friedman nod in approval. If that’s a bit too sexy for you, then it’s followed by ‘Carved in Stone’, a pure adrenaline rush of a tune. It again can’t help being melodic in the solo but it’s a tight composition that packs a lot into 2:49. See also the in-your-face ‘Death Hoax’ with Voivod’s Daniel Mongrain adding his own solo with his unique guitar tone. It’s a grinding, repetitive song that really gives The Human Furnace a platform to burn. 

‘Thought Crimes’ stands out because it keeps a sick lead going through the verses and has a blindingly violent speed from start to finish. In terms of sequencing, ‘Unavoidable Truth’ slows it down a little for neck-snapping breakdowns, targeting people who live in a social bubble to avoid uncomfortable situations. 

I have to be honest though, there’s only so far Ringworm can stretch the rubber band. They are unbelievably committed to their sound, even with a few points of difference thrown in, it’s largely the same song-by-song. ‘House of Flies’ is damn heavy but lacks a distinctive moment that’s worth repeating. ‘You Want it To’ is a real chest-beating anthem that reminded me of The Haunted’s output around the early 2000s. ‘Mental Decontrol’ is fairly similar. None of it’s bad but it’s hard to pick between songs at this point. It all bleeds together. 

If you’re on board with what Ringworm does, you’ll freakin’ love Seeing Through Fire. They dominate the rustic core elements throughout and are understated in their use of melody. It’s ultimately savage without any compromise and complete dedication to pure metalcore. But with so much new music out there, drawing from similar influences, I don’t know that this will cut through. I definitely recommend seeking it out and judging for yourself. 

Ringworm – Seeing Through Fire TrackListing:

  1. Seeing Through Fire
  2. Carved in Stone
  3. No Solace, No Quarter, No Mercy
  4. Death Hoax
  5. Thought Crimes
  6. Unavoidable Truth
  7. House of Flies
  8. You Want it To
  9. Mental Decontrol
  10. Power and Blood
  11. Playing God 

Rating: 7 / 10
Seeing Through Fire is out August 18, 2023 on Nuclear Blast Records. Pre order here.
Review by KJ Draven (Twitter X and Instagram).