Review Summary: It's Wormrot, it's amazing, and it's free. Seriously, why aren't you downloading this already?
Even in extreme music circles, it’s tough to get people to appreciate grindcore; one of metal’s most intense and inaccessible subgenres. First time listeners, even those who normally enjoy extreme music, are often unable to get past the sheer violence of the style, and are quick to dismiss it as talentless noise making. It’s a shame that most of them will never get past that negative opinion, because grindcore can be incredibly entertaining and passionate music when it’s done right. Enter, Wormrot, a 3-piece from Singapore that balances breathtaking intensity with excellent songwriting and a catchy, hardcore-punk groove. Since their outstanding 2008 debut, 'Abuse', Wormrot have been making a name for themselves as one of the most exciting grind bands around, and their new EP 'Noise' manages to live up to those high standards, and then some.
Wormrot thrive on their simplicity, catchiness, and energy. They play an old school, no frills style of grindcore that forgoes the use of jazzy interludes, complex polyrhythms, and other experimental elements that are popular in grind nowadays. Wormrot are also heavily influenced by hardcore/crust punk, although this element was less prominent on their previous album ‘Dirge’. Despite having only 3 members; a drummer, a guitarist, and a vocalist, their sound is astonishingly full-bodied, not at all wanting of a bassist or an additional guitarist to fill a void of detail. Their music is so fast, violent and straightforward that 3 members alone are entirely sufficient to execute it – additional musicians would likely just get it the way.
Still, it takes immense talent on the part of guitarist Raysid to be the sole stringed musician in the band, yet still make their songs sound so complete. According to Decibel magazine's interview of Wormrot, Raysid doesn’t even know what tuning his guitar is in, because, being the only stringer, the only person he needs to be in tune with is himself! Whatever he’s doing is working though; his dark, crusty guitar tone is pitch-perfect and his riffs are powerful and entertaining. The drummer, Fitri, is also incredibly talented. Like all grindcore drummers, he makes use of blast-beats liberally, but he also knows how to vary things up a bit, alternating between bursts of sheer speed, to rocking d-beat grooves, to inspired and entertaining drum fills. The vocalist, Arif, delivers an absolutely terrifying performance! He has an astonishing vocal range that runs the gamut from raw screams, to low grunts, to vile, inhuman shrieks. Arif is easily one of the best vocalists in Grindcore today, next to other greats such as J.R. Hayes (Pig Destroyer), Jon Chang (Discordance Axis, Gridlink), and Travis Ryan (Cattle Decapitation). If you’re someone who thinks that screaming all sounds the same, listen to this album and prepare to be amazed.
With only 5 tracks, each clocking in at around a minute, ‘Noise’ is a brief ordeal, but a very satisfying experience none-the-less. It seems pointless to try and pick out highlights from such a short album, especially given the fact that every song is amazing, so I’ll just say this; if you are a grindcore fan, you will love this, if not, the album is only 5 minutes so just give it a shot! At any rate, you have nothing to lose because Wormrot have decided to release this EP for free through a sponsorship with Scion AV. Now I know that many people feel strongly opposed to corporate sponsorship in music, but that’s an argument for another article entirely. It is somewhat disconcerting to see the scion sticker on the album cover however; I certainly hope that corporate branding doesn’t become a trend on album covers in the future. Regardless, Wormrot are undoubtedly one of the best grindcore bands around today and ‘Noise’ is yet another outstanding release from them! It’s also FREE, so what do you have to lose?