By Professor D. Grover the XIIIth. Greetings and salutations, friends. Your esteemed Professor returns today to discuss the return of Singaporean grind bastards Wormrot, whose new release Voices is their first full-length work in five years, an eternity in a subgenre that tends to measure time in 30 second increments.By Professor D. Grover the XIIIth.
Greetings and salutations, friends. Your esteemed Professor returns today to discuss the return of Singaporean grind bastards Wormrot, whose new release Voices is their first full-length work in five years, an eternity in a subgenre that tends to measure time in 30 second increments. Wormrot’s rise to fame was, appropriately enough, blisteringly quick, thanks to the strength of their debut album Abuse, which packed a lot of classic grindcore fury and a little bit of groove into 22 minutes. Their followup, Dirge, cemented their status as an essential modern grind band, and so it was something of a surprise when the band announced that they were taking a multi-year hiatus, driven in no small part by Singapore’s compulsory national service. However, they continued to work on new material, replaced their drummer, and now the fruit of that long labor has come to light in the form of Voices.
At 20 songs spread across 26 minutes, Voices is the longest album in the Wormrot archive, both in total length and in average song length. Lest you worry that the band was becoming long-winded, however, rest assured that most of the song durations here still hover around the minute mark (there are only three tracks that clock in at longer than 1:23 and serve to skew the statistics a bit). More surprisingly, however, is that the band experiments with their tried-and-true sound on a number of tracks, courtesy of some melodic riffs that seem to draw influence from black metal, shoegaze, and the work of Gridlink. (The Gridlink comparison is especially apt when Arif’s higher-pitched screams are worked into the mix, bringing to mind Jon Chang’s distinctive vocals.) It’s a surprise, to be sure, but it also brings some added variety to the album and provides the listener with a break from the more traditional grind blasting.
|Wormrot 2011. Photo by Metal Chris|
With regard to the aforementioned blasting, Wormrot’s new drummer Vijesh acquits himself well, anchoring the album’s shifting tempos and laying down some devastating blastbeats. Guitarist Rasyid brings the band’s trademark riffs and grooves while incorporating a whole host of new textures into their sound, creating heaviness without the backing of a bass. And vocalist Arif mixes high shrieks and low grunts deftly, a key component in the band’s signature viciousness. The result is that Voices will immediately feel familiar to Wormrot fans while simultaneously throwing those same fans a few curveballs.
The marketing push behind Voices has made heavy use of the hashtag #MakeEaracheGrindAgain, a worthwhile sentiment if I’ve ever heard one, and something I can support, unlike the actual campaign that they’re parodying. In a year that’s seen some quality grindcore releases (from the likes of Magrudergrind, Gadget, Venomous Concept, Rotten Sound, and Collision), Voices is a standout and a fitting return for Wormrot. It simultaneously establishes that the trio have lost nothing in the last five years and expands upon their established sound without losing any of what makes them distinctive. Here’s hoping that it’s not four more years until the next album.