Batten down the hatches everybody. The Category 5 cyclone of hardcore and metal that is Ringworm’s devastating Hammer of the Witch is about to make landfall.

Formed in 1991 in Cleveland, Ohio, Ringworm rose to prominence in a hardcore scene populated by fellow firebrands Terror and Earth Crisis, but they dropped out in 1993, only to rise from the ashes around the turn of the century and wreak sonic havoc on 2001′s Victory Records release Birth is Pain and its equally vicious successors.

Now comes Ringworm’s roaring, high-velocity debut for Relapse Records, Hammer of the Witch. It’s non-stop action from beginning to end, a swarming, all-consuming conflagration of scorched-earth thrash riffage that’s diabolically complex and heavy at times.

Surging forward with anger and violence, Hammer of the Witch is Hatebreed on amphetamines, shattering land-speed records on “I Recommend Amputation,” “Bleed,” the raging “Psychic Vampire” and a blistering “King of Blood.” The shouted, in-your-face vocals come courtesy of Human Furnace, while the whiplash breakdowns would draw the attention of a personal-injury lawyer. Hammer of the Witch is as chaotic as a prison break, with searing guitar solos and thickened, intense grooves for those who also appreciate full-throttle speed.

Label: Relapse Records