I don’t know, realistically, how much you can extrapolate about a new album from a single tune – especially one that falls just shy of the minute mark – but Wormrot’s “Manipulation” has had me grasping at straws for a week now, tossing out poorly founded conjecture as to what the upcoming Dirge may have to offer.
The song whips you around like Jason Voorhees hefting a sleeping bag, and I've dissecting it like a Cold War Kremlinologist poring over Politburo photos vainly trying to discern who’s in Khrushchev’s good graces this week ever since Earache honcho Digby Pearson sent the track straight from the band’s marathon two day, 30 song mixing and recording session.
“Dirge was recorded, mixed and completed in 2 days. This little fact tickles me no end,” Pearson said.
Guitarist Rasyid breaks it down by the numbers for you:
“For those of you who likes statistics, Fit and I recorded our parts on the same day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” he said. “Fit did his drums in 2 hours 30 minutes (no breaks), I recorded 2 layers of guitars in 6 hours (minus 3 hours because of a recording setback which led me to re-record 11 songs, plus a 3-cigarettes smoking break), and Arif did his vocals sparingly at home in a total span of 2 days if I’m not wrong.”
Since Pearson and I talked, Earache has posted the song for all to enjoy (which some of you with sharper eyes already noticed), but let me walk you through my first listen or 12:
- The first 15 seconds, well shit, this is kind of boring. Why did Wormrot slow down to skipping skate punk? I guess the sophomore jinx caught up with them. Oh shit, that’s just a prelude…
- From 0:16 to 0:20 blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast. Why is that steam shovel pounding pylons into my noggin? And why do I like it so much?
- From 0:21 to 0:25 sweet merciful Shiva can Rasyid write a ripping, galloping riff. It’s like the best parts of “Born Stupid” condensed.
- From 0:26 to 0:30 Wormrot make the case for forming a killer sludge band under another moniker if this whole grind shtick doesn’t work out.
- From 0:31 to the end, yet another sweet ass galloper of a riff over a giddy-up, hiyo-Silver bit of drum gymnastics. A lesser band would have made two or three songs from the bits Wormrot stitched together, which they toss out like a newly minuted rapper's benjamins at the strip club.
“Personally, I do not want to reveal anything about how the album would sound like cuz i want it to suckerpunch you like how Abuse did,” Rasyid said. “All I can say is that this is unlike Abuse. We’ll lose some listeners with this one, but I’m sure it’ll please many grindheads. But fuck yea 'Manipulation' is a fun song to write!”
The band you guys named the fourth best in the world (and they’re humorously annoyed at losing out to GridLink, btw) is not shy about admitting to feeling the pressure when the time came to ready their second album. Where Abuse exploded out of nowhere, Dirge will come burdened by everyone’s expectations as well as the imprimatur of Earache shoving them out into the public eye.
“Dude, we started feeling the pressure the first second Earache knocked on our door,” Rasyid said. “Abuse was a labour of almost a year of finding our own feet with the band and writing at our own pace. We can never recreate Abuse or the painful yet memorable journey it took us three. It was almost the case of the right release at the right time for the right people.”
As the hoary musical adage goes, bands have their entire lives to write their first album and about a year to write the second. Coming off their first taste of international touring, Rasyid said the band faced the prospect of hitting the studio without an album’s worth of songs in hand. Where the guitarist would previously hash out songs at his leisure, later working over the parts with drummer Fitri, Wormrot took a more collaborative approach to crafting Dirge.
“We tried this new approach whereby we come into the studio with nothing and the first question we’ll ask each other is ‘so how do you want this song to sound like’ and we’ll pick a reference song or two from any band, throw in as many ideas and try out as many possible riffs and drums patterns,” Rasyid said. “Maybe I’ll start with a riff and Fit joins in, or vice versa. It turned out to be more organic and personal: each of us talking and listening to each other, having fun creating a song from nothing, a better flow and transition in song. I realized that we had captured the true meaning of ‘jamming’ in the short period of time we had. I have to be honest that when we were writing, I was skeptical cuz I am not used to letting the steering wheel go and see where it brings us, but after hearing the final product, I’m so proud of what we had accomplished.”
Dirge is due this spring and the first run of CDs will also come packed with a DVD that includes footage from their North American and European tours as well as in-studio footage, including Rasyid’s impressive command of Malay profanity.
“Yes, I will teach you a Malay profanity,” Rasyid said. “It’s good.”