Monday, May 23, 2011

G&P Review: Wormrot


AbuseWormrot’s out of nowhere, totally unexpected slab of staggering awesomeness (from Singafuckingpore of all places, ferchrissakes) – was a magical, transcendental moment in 2009 and touchstone for grindcore's future. It was like seeing Haley’s Comet, stumbling on Brigadoon or Brian Burke showing restraint and not blowing up the Maple Leafs’ lineup at the trading deadline: It just wasn’t the kind of thing you expected to see in your lifetime. And without any scene buzz in advance, nothing could prepare you for it.
While it may be unfair to them, everything Wormrot does must be measured against that early pinnacle – at least until they can top it. Dirge, unfortunately, isn't that album. It is an extremely good album, but Abuse was a great album.
Dirge is a bristling, slavering old school 18 minutes of unsubtle aggression and abrasive annihilation, but it just doesn’t quite straddle the divide between adrenaline junkie and catchy riff earjaculation (thanks, Bill, told you I was stealing that term) as effortlessly as Abuse. Dirge sacrifices memorability on the altar of unrelenting speed and migraine-inducing noise. In fact, it feels overly self conscious and more than a tad safe, as though the sudden explosion of attention had gotten to them. There are fewer songs here that will mug you in a dark alley the way “Fuck…I’m Drunk,” “Murder” or “Born Stupid” roughed you up. That’s compounded by a compression to the mix - possibly an artifact of the band's ridiculously short/punk as fuck recording session - that smashes the guitars into the cymbals, making it hard to latch on to the riffs (especially in a squashed mp3 format; physical formats fare better). But all the other familiar Wormrot elements are prominently pimped out for your enjoyment: the sarcastic humor ("You Suffer But Why is it My Problem" now joins the pantheon of "Seth Putnam is Wrong About a Lot of Things But Seth Putnum is Right About You" as one of my favorite song titles ever) and symbiotic interplay between Rasyid and Fitri (guitar and drums) is on a telepathic level at this point, which frees up frontman Arif to yap and slaver like a poorly socialized pitbull guarding his yard.
Dirge rocks really hard, and I don’t want this to sound overly negative – I’ve spent three months trying to sort out my feelings about this album, assessing whether my unreasonable expectations were at fault. Dirge will certainly blow your hair back and holds its own against the rest of the field in a really crowded year. There’s just that unquantifiable quintessence that’s missing.
If you need any more convincing, Earache is giving the album away as a free download.

[Full disclosure: I bought my copy as soon as it came out, but after I wrote this post and had it queued up Earache sent me both the LP and CD/DVD versions.]


Shanetera said...

Wanna sell me your LP? ;p
I fucking love this album. I fucking love Abuse. Is this better?

Does it matter?

Anonymous said...

You are spot on here Andrew. Dirge is good, but even after 20-30 listens it is enjoyable but not quite up to the catchy/memorable greatness of Abuse. Like you, it has taken me months and many, many listens to make up my mind on this one!

Daniel said...

Pretty much same feelings, good review! but its brilliance is beginning to gnaw at my ears. initially it lacks traction, like abuse had in the way of flowing riffs/grooves. but i think punk agility is its strength. Towards the end Dirge bloody takes off! dead issue/ the final insult is one hell of a kiss off

Anonymous said...

the link isn't working for the earache..there is linkhttp: check it out..

Amalgamated said...

it's a good album. too many chugga riffs for my liking and a little stale in parts - all of which would be easy to overlook if not for better albums circulating right now.

i'm really into maruta (for the past month), noisear was pretty solid and the flesh parade album took my by surprise. dirge is quickly falling by the way side.

Anonymous said...

I have the CD/DVD version and downloaded the MP3s when they became available. When a song was first released a while back I felt a little disappointed compared with Abuse, but after getting the full download and a few spins I decided it was excellent, even if not as totally memorable as Abuse. Certainly not a real disappointment. The Mumakil 'Behold the Failure' album was a huge disappointment compared to their previous one; nothing like that with Wormrot.

I haven't heard the new Flesh Parade - stoked to discover that they've reformed - but the others mentioned above (Noisear and Maruta) do nothing for me, especially Noisear.

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

I actually think this album is part of a subtle steady climb for them.

The production put me off at first, but the telepathic connection you mention in the review seems to be growing ever stronger.

Also, I retroactively give you my blessing to use earjaculation (assuming I'm the Bill you referred to).

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

Also, got the chance to catch them live in Atlanta a while back. Totally killer show.

This is either a circle pit or some kind of grindcore conga line, can't remember (also note totally constipated dude with red eyes on the left):