Without question, Ektomorf's last two albums, BLACK FLAG and THE ACOUSTIC, are the one-two punch of disappointment that makes me really hate when bands forget what made them good in the first place. To be clear, I'm well aware that this is a band that's never been big and never will be, but every decade I tend to latch onto a few bands that never make it big but just kick my ass each and every time out. Bands like Skinlab and Stuck Mojo have filled that void previously for me, and up until recently, Ektomorf was one of those acts. They were my favorite Soulfly sounding band that filled the rare void between Cavalera albums. THE ACOUSTIC was a disastrous mistake in my opinion, as Ektomorf is just one of those bands that you don't want to hear play acoustically. Back to being heavy with BLACK FLAG, it's apparent there weren't a lot of fresh ideas this time around.
BLACK FLAG just doesn't hit home on any level, and in fact almost sounds like an Ektomorf tribute band. So many of these songs, like "Unscarred", sound heavy like Soulfly or their own previous work, but just not as good. Vocalist Zoltan Farkas barks it out as he always does, and there's a lot of rhyming profanity and anger being thrown around as always, but this collection of songs just sounds hollow by comparison to past efforts like INSTINCT or DESTROY. Farkas and fellow guitarist Michael Rank have developed much more of a Meshuggah like droning tone which certainly adds heaviness to the sound, but takes away from the songs as most of the songs find a monotonous, dull vibe as a result. They may be a groove metal band, but most of the songs here lack that real groove. Only songs like "The Cross" have that full on power that previous albums had proven them capable of. It's disappointing really, as I'm a long time supporter and fan of their stuff.
To be fair though, most people still have not even discovered Ektomorf yet. If you like straight up, heavy stuff then you aren't likely to hate this. Songs like "Fuck Your God" or "Cut It Out" are certainly biting and heavy. In fact, "Fuck Your God" has an almost punk-like speed and rage that is missing throughout most of this album. That said though, the overwhelming majority of the music here just sounds re-treaded from the band's past work. It's disappointing.
PITRIFF RATING - 52/100 - I'm a huge fan of this band, and I won't be listening to this release often, if at all. The music, the presentation and the overall vibe of the thing is just boring and lacking when compared against their past work. There's a few songs I really do dig ("Fuck Your God", "Never Surrender"), the overall feeling from listening to this is that they lost their way a couple of albums ago and are just trying desperately to find their way back. As of yet, it has not happened.