Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Two words sum up this band: Hungarian Soulfly. On Ektomorf’s sixth release, INSTINCT, the band continues to blend exotic instrumentation, tribal drumming and downtuned riffs with hardcore breakdowns and a punishing bottom-end. Ektomorf also shares Soulfly’s tendency to pander to the nu-metal crowd and the wallet-chain and baggy-panted crowd will lap this up. It’s difficult to imagine that INSTINCT will appeal to even the most open-minded of metalhead, though the sheer ferocity of the music may win some over. With production helmed once again by none other than up-and-coming knob-twiddler Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Mnemic, Disbelief, Heaven Shall Burn), the sound is groovy and crushing with a fat bottom-end and a tight drum sound. You can actually FEEL the songs on INSTINCT more than just hear them and that makes for a memorable listening experience. Unfortunately, INSTINCT loses points for its use of clichéd “tough guy” lyrics and, well, the whole Soulfly copycat thing.
“Set Me Free” is so close in sound, rhythm and pacing to Soulfly’s “Eye For An Eye” that Max Cavalera himself ought to be dialing up his legal team. The downtuned guitars, barked delivery and chugga-chugga riffing echoes all that made Cavalera the enemy of dyed-in-the-wool metalheads. Being a fan of the first Soulfly album, my contempt lies in the unevenness of the band’s material but Ektomorf clearly is paying more than just homage here. “Show Your Fist” is an exotic hardcore-influenced track beefed up with tribal drumming that makes it one of the standout tracks but things go sour on the title track which owes more to the dreaded nu-metal inflections of Static-X and some of Soulfly’s worst moments. Beg your pardon for stating the obvious but “Fuck You All” and “I Break You” are the type of tracks that makes bands like this intolerable to metalheads. The attitude and absolute meat-headedness of the very titles of these songs annoyed me before I even heard them and further cemented my instinct afterwards. The instrumental “Land of Pain” is an interesting break in the action with Middle Eastern chants and haunting instrumentation but the rest of the tracks bleed together like one big repetitive nightmare. Okay guys…you’re pissed off at the world and have listened to ROOTS BLOODY ROOTS one too many times. WE GET IT!!
Unoriginal, monotonous and saddled with more clichés than a beer commercial, INSTINCT is the epitome of the kind of metal geared towards making fourteen year olds in camouflage and bandanas feel tough. Soulfly and THE BURNING RED-era Machine Head worshippers may dig this release and there are a few bright moments here and there but trust your instincts and avoid this one.
KILLER KUTS: “Set Me Free,” “Show Your Fist,” “Land of Pain”