Some albums are just meant to be kept for personal use. I can always appreciate when a band wants to branch out and try something different. Sometimes, it’s a cool little gem for fans. As an example, I very much like Aerosmith’s HONKIN’ ON BOBO release where they stretched themselves by doing an album of Blues sub-standards. The obvious marker for a successful stretch outward would be Tesla’s FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM. The difference between those bands and a band like Ektomorf is pretty clear though. Those bands had an established audience. Maybe they do somewhere else, but Ektomorf doesn’t mean a whole lot to metal audiences here in the States. I like them a lot, personally, but I’m one person. In fact, the sad truth is that if you played a single song frrom Ektomorf’s back catalog for most fans, they would think it’s Soulfly.
No one will be mistaking THE ACOUSTIC for the new Soulfly, ENSLAVED. I have no doubts at all about that. While it is pretty unique for a band this heavy to unplug the guitars and rework their raging tales, that’s just what has happened here. The results are not very good, to be honest. Many of the songs, like “Be Free” have a similar disjointed feeling that you would expect if Max Cavalera joined Nickelback on stage for a rousing version of “How You Remind Me”. It’s very cringeworthy, to say the least. Hearing a rager like Zoltan Fargas trying to actually sing is a tough listen. Hearing him tackle Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man” is about the best moment on the disc, and even that isn’t anything past passable.
PITRIFF RATING – 42/100 - The idea was novel, but the execution proves that this just isn’t a good idea for bands of the extremely heavy ilk like Ektomorf. Farkas is already on record saying that this is an anomaly and not a new direction. That’s a very good thing. Acoustic albums should be done by bands that have exhausted their creative juices, not by bands that haven’t found their way to success yet. I’ll be waiting for their next “real” release.