In a totally unexpected and extremely gracious move, Digby Pearson recently contacted me (even after I vented my spleen) and offered me one of the first copies of the reissue of Wormrot’s Abuse to thank me for the minor role I played in bringing the band to Earache’s attention.
So how does the two disc reissue of an album that was bruited and hailed by pretty much every one of us as one the single most essential albums of 2009 (Flesh Monolith, tenth? Seriously? What the fuck, man?) fare in the hands of a historic metal powerhouse that has, let's say, gotten a more mixed reaction from fans of late?
Not much has changed at first blush. While the packaging is largely intact – the colors and contrast have been punched up a tad – there is a hilariously bad Photoshop job in the thank you list where “Aziz from Scrotum Jus” has been swapped out for “Digby and Earache Records” in a glaringly different font.
Packaging chicanery aside, Earache wisely didn’t tinker with the album itself. Abuse still sounds like proctology with a block of Semtex. Name your favorite grind album of the last five years and Abuse shits down its throat and make its like it.
The real selling point for this version will be the chance to see just how stupid these Singaporeans were born because Earache has collected the bulk of the band’s demo, splits and EPs and, fittingly, an Insect Warfare Cover (“Evolved into Obliteration”) on the second disc. Now I know most of you have probably already downloaded every single one of these, but the disc also collects a handful of previously unreleased tracks, which just didn’t make the Abuse cut. “Rapid Abortions of Ridiculous proportions” filters the band’s now-established sound through Converge’s “The Saddest Day” and Alice in Chains’ Dirt, offering another datum that the band’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover was not some cheap toss away bit of hipster irony.
Wormrot – “Rapid Abortions of Ridiculous Proportions” [Due to a sequencing error, the song will be mislabeled when you d/l]
Having all this material in one convenient package makes for a fascinating historical document. The songs are not as explosive in their larval stages, but they also show Wormot were on to something profound from their first demo in 2007. “Condemnation,” in particular, is a scorcher and paragon of compact songwriting.
Even when the older tracks don’t reach the Abuse pinnacle, that same flailing and uncontrollable sense of abandon energizes every single note. Abuse was no accident. Wormrot are the real shit.
Go buy this shit. Again.
[Full disclosure: I'm special and Earache likes me more than you. Neener, neener.]