By Craig Hayes. Vermin Womb’s moniker is the perfect match for the band’s virulent sound. The trio’s music is an incensed breeding ground for pestilence and animus, and the band’s debut full-length, Decline, is a whirlwind of hate-fuelled intensity.By Craig Hayes.
Vermin Womb’s moniker is the perfect match for the band’s virulent sound. The trio’s music is an incensed breeding ground for pestilence and animus, and the band’s debut full-length, Decline, is a whirlwind of hate-fuelled intensity. None of that is a huge surprise though. Because Vermin Womb were born from the demise of Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire: a band who described their music as, “total fucking dissonant anti-life funeral grind”.
That description fits Vermin Womb well too. The band’s frontman, Ethan McCarthy, was the vocalist and guitarist in CTTTOAFF, and these days he keeps his misanthropic credentials up to date by also fronting sludge sadists Primitive Man. Joining McCarthy in Vermin Womb are former CTTTOAFF bassist Zach Harlan and drummer J.P. Damron; completing a clearly murderous meeting of minds.
Vermin Womb’s first release, 2014’s Permanence EP, was a cornucopia of grotesque sounds and harsh musicality. But Decline ups the onslaught ante by being heavier, angrier, speedier and a lot more confrontational. There’s no mistaking Vermin Womb’s hateful methodology, or their nihilistic philosophy, because hyper-speed blackened deathgrind tracks like “Industrialist”, “Rank & File” and “Pitiless” are entirely devoid of any accommodating handholds or rest stops. No question, those songs, and every other track on Decline, make it explicitly clear that Vermin Womb don’t give a fuck about you, me, or anyone.
Honestly, it’s great to be so hated. Because it’s that combination of sonic extremity and outright misanthropy that’s the key attractor on Decline. McCarthy, Harlan and Damron create hostile music that’s also deeply antagonistic. Tracks like “Inner World” and “Disrepair” aren’t passive. They wrap themselves in barbwire, and then take a wild lunge at you. “Entomb” and “Cancer” aren’t simply dissonant rampages where bass-blitzed grindcore, black metal and death metal are all dunked in a acid bath either. They’re trenchant tracks, and willfully provocative.
Vermin Womb dare you to make it through Decline. For those already initiated into the extreme music cabal, it’s a visceral thrill ride meeting that challenge. For the uninitiated, well, it’s probably best to be prepared for the worst, and then some, and then some more. Essentially, Decline is so good because it’s so ghastly. If you want blistering velocity, Decline’s got plenty of that. And if you want blastbeaten barbarity, an overdose awaits. Scorn. Violence. Contempt. Animosity. Catharsis. They’re all there in abundance on Decline as well. But what makes the album extra-specially rewarding is the unrelenting intensity of Vermin Womb’s loathing.
Sure, we’ve all heard a million bile-filled underground bands before. But Vermin Womb soar past mere animosity into the realms of psychotic belligerence. The result is a sound that’s as much Full of Hell as it Napalm Death, as much Hierophant as it is Diocletian, or as much Revenge as it is Vasaeleth. Point being, Vermin Womb make sure to spread the bitterness and depravity around. They hit a lot of abominable points on extreme metal map. And the band’s hybridized sound situates ultra-negativity front and centre, ceaselessly.
Decline is less than 30-minutes long, but it’ll leave you utterly reeling. McCarthy, Harlan and Damron don’t waste a second on superfluous filler. Or even take a moment to pause for breath. The tar-thick riffage, vitriolic howls, and hammering percussion are a non-stop nightmare –– which is, obviously, a gigantic tick in the plus column here. Produced to let the hate bleed and anger seethe with every rapid-fire musical movement, Decline is both a bleak reflection and grim projection of a world that’s well beyond repair. It’s Vermin Womb’s gruesome tribute, to humanity’s last gasps.