Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 09 February, 2016
Ahhh Ektomorf, I know what you’re all about. If you’re not familiar with this Hungarian quartet, they are not just influenced by Roots-era Sepultura and early Soulfly, they live and breathe it. There’s more than a few times across their entire, hefty discography that one could easily mistake any of their tunes as something that came out of Max Cavalera’s jumpdafuckup (aka JDFU) catalogue. In fact, it’s not just the musical aspect of it either. Vocalist/guitarist Zoltán "Zoli/Zotya" Farkas vocal style is also very, very heavily Max-fly influenced.
Taking all that in, and considering the vastness of today’s metal scene, I think it’s fair to say there’s no one else out there doing this these days. Even Soulfly have retreated away from their nu-metal origins and shifted towards a heavier, less bouncier vibe over the course of their last few releases. In a musical sphere that was once overcrowded to bursting point, there’s plenty of room for Ektomorf to dominate in the genre that is without doubt no longer flavour of the month these days. Clearly though, Aggressor, which is studio album number 11 for Ektomorf, they have no intentions of changing either. Each of the fourteen tracks here are stock, JDFU nu-metal tunes by the book that will sit well with their fan base. There are no surprises here, just Ektomorf doing as they have always done. At times, the lyrics are as cheesy as you’d expect from this style of metal, too.
The opening verse of “I” sums up Ektomorf’s unwavering musical direction as Farkas screams, “No, I will not change. Why would I change? This is my life the way I want to live.” These are powerful words with an unambiguous meaning when you consider them in the context of the band’s discography. It summarises each and every album the band have ever released. They are doing things their way. Aggressor is classic Ektomorf. Everything that you expect from the band can be found within the 47 minutes that make up their latest effort.
Long time fans of Ektomorf will be once again pleased with the band’s output. They know what to expect and what they want from the band at this point in their career, and it’s clear that Ektomorf are giving them exactly that. Of course, Aggressor won’t be for everyone but for a band with this many albums already under their belt, it’s pretty clear that they are doing this for themselves anyways and that it’s a bonus if people like it. Far from calling myself a fan of the band, I did find this album to be more palatable than the group’s previous efforts. Funny thing is though, that I cannot put my finger exactly on what it is that makes Aggressor more appealing or more likeable than say Redemption or Outcast. In essence, they are all of the same mould but Aggressor feels more .. natural? Likeable? Accessible? Tolerable? I’m really not sure. The bottom line is that it works better than many of their previous efforts.
Is this Ektomorf’s best album to date? I’m not sure. It’s not amazing but it’s also not one that is completely shit either. They’ve had their share of turds over the years. Maybe now in a genre that has way fewer players, Ektomorf’s stock might rise a little. If that is to be the case then Aggressor is definitely a statement of intent if nothing else. As far as albums of this style go, this is decent. Not great, but a long way from craptastic, as well. It’s in the dreaded mid range score band that seems to be so densely populated by many bands these days.