Album Review – Fifth Ring / Masochist (2022)

This ruthless trio based in Taiwan and the United States will break your bones with their debut full-length monstrosity, a maelstrom where Blackened Deathcore, Progressive Death Metal and sheer bloody brutality collide and explode.

With the soul focus on creating the heaviest riffs, the sickest slams and the filthiest breakdowns, the members of Tainan, Taiwan/Atlanta, Georgia, United States-based Blackened Deathcore horde Fifth Ring have been creatively active with other musical projects for over ten years now and have come together once again to create a whole new monstrosity, entitled Masochist. Following on directly from their 2022 three-track EP Dawn, Masochist is a huge leap forward for Fifth Ring in every department, a maelstrom where Blackened Deathcore, Progressive Death Metal and sheer bloody brutality collide and explode, therefore showcasing all the talent and fury by Zachary Kepley on vocals, bass and drum programming, Christopher Williamson on the guitar and Q. Keith Brown Jr. on drums, and being highly recommended for fans of Cattle Decapitation, Bog Wraith, Sun Speaker and Katabasis, among others.

The opening tune Ten Horns is noisy, vile and brutal from the very first second, with the infernal vociferations by Zachary walking hand in hand with his own demonic bass punches in an awesome fusion of Brutal Death Metal and Deathcore where the riffs by Zachary and Christopher will pierce your skull mercilessly. The Snake is just as demonic as its predecessor, with Q. Keith crushing his drums in the name of Blackened Deathcore, exhaling groove and rage for our total delight; whereas in Crimson Mask we face sick words barked by Zachary (“Stretch out the spine / Broken neck / Barbed wire / Guillotine / Now the wound has opened up”) amidst a hurricane of metallic sounds perfect for slamming into the circle pit. Then bringing forward elements from classic Thrash and Death Metal we have Head on a Pike, where Q. Keith once again does a great job behind his drums; and switching gears to a more melodic, pensive sonority, get ready for six intense minutes in Dust to Dust, which loses its grip after a while, consequently sounding a bit tiresome in the end.

Back to a more Hardcore sound, the trio drinks form the same fountain as renowned acts the likes of Lorna Shore and Whitechapel in Maggot King, showcasing a violent riff attack by Zachary and Christopher, whereas in Waste we’re treated to another round of their acid lyrics (“Dead in the waste / By the time I was saved / I never / Prayed to a god / Who forsakes / Everyone who’s praises / Dead on cross / With no head / Upside down and rancid”) while the music brings to our ears endless savagery and heaviness. The Pit is a brutal, neck-breaking creation by the trio that will please all fans of the darkest side of Deathcore, with Zachary sounding inhumane on vocals while Q. Keith continues to kick ass on drums, resulting in the heaviest of all songs hands down. Lastly, ending the album on a demonic mode, more of the trio’s trademark aggressiveness is offered to us all in Lurking in the Open Wound, while also presenting some cryptic, somber passages until its melancholic finale.

You can enjoy Masochist and all of its heaviness and gore on YouTube and on Spotify, but of course in order to show your support to the underground extreme scene you should buy the album from their own BandCamp page, from Apple Music, or by clicking HERE, proving you’re indeed a circle pit connoisseur. In addition, go check what the trio is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their demented music. Listen to Masochist and feel your mind forcibly expanded while your bones are remorselessly broken, and may Fifth Ring keep destroying everything and everyone that crosses their path with more first-class releases such as their new album in the coming years.

Best moments of the album: Ten Horns, Crimson Mask and The Pit.

Worst moments of the album: Dust to Dust.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Ten Horns 4:16
2. The Snake 4:05
3. Crimson Mask 3:20
4. Head on a Pike 4:59
5. Dust to Dust 6:02
6. Maggot King 3:39
7. Waste 3:47
8. The Pit 4:12
9. Lurking in the Open Wound 6:12

Band members
Zachary Kepley – vocals, bass, drum programming
Christopher Williamson – guitar
Q. Keith Brown Jr. – drums

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