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Wormrot - Hiss review

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Band: Wormrot
Album: Hiss
Release date: July 2022

01. The Darkest Burden
02. Broken Maze
03. Behind Closed Doors
04. When Talking Fails, It's Time For Violence
05. Your Dystopian Hell
06. Unrecognizable
07. Hatred Transcending
08. Doomsayer
09. Pale Moonlight
10. Seizures
11. Voiceless Choir
12. Grieve
13. Sea Of Disease
14. Noxious Cloud
15. Shattered Faith
16. Desolate Landscapes
17. Spiral Eyes
18. Vicious Circle
19. Weeping Willow
20. All Will Wither
21. Glass Shards

Hard to think of a more eagerly anticipated grindcore album than this. Singapore's most famous metal export, one of grindcore's leading bands in the past decade, and a meme-worthy cover art all converge.

It does say something that a lot of the comments on the album page are images memeing the cover art, and it's not just because the faces on Wormrot albums have been getting gradually less putrefied and distorted until this logical conclusion, but also because it strikes a very specific scenario that transcends genre. If you saw that cover art without any context, would you guess it was a grindcore album? Even so, seeing it as a grind cover doesn't feel dissonant. But enough about the cover art, even if a lot of the comments are about it, it is also a follow-up to one of the most well-received grindcore albums of the 2010s, and the six years since Voices have cemented Singapore's Wormrot as belonging to the higher echelons of grind.

It is a bit of a let down that this is vocalist Arif's last album with the band, something that's made even more depressing considering how great his performance here is, and I can only imagine how well this would've translated to the live setting. The fact that this album packs a lot of energy is quite an understatement, and the 30 minutes runtime might actually feel extensive by grind standards, especially for a band that doesn't really go into slower more long-form territories. And yet, the energy it's packed with shows enough variety to not be needlessly bludgeoning nor rehashing. Grind has played around with tons of genre injections and outside sounds, so what happens on Hiss is not that wild or avant-garde, but there's more here than just "play fast and loud".

I'd say that this is the type of grind that is closer to punk than metal, which is pretty evident in some of the songs where that punky energy ironically reminds me more of crossover thrash than anything else, whether through its riffing or gang vocals. Punk influences come in many shapes, like screamo or powerviolence, but those feel a bit more expected compared to the thrashy mosh-worthy moments. Hiss has most of its songs sit between one and two minutes of runtime, with some songs falling under a minute or over two, and while the former are about as explosive as you can imagine, it's the latter that feel most rewarding with how creative they are.

Alongside the punkier moments, two of the most surprising elements found in Hiss are the black metal melodies that permeate some of the tracks, and the eerie violins that somehow don't feel out of place. And it's not just the elements in by themselves that make Hiss such an interesting album, but Wormrot have such a great skill at making engaging grindcore that twist things around subtly in its rhythms and structures without losing the genre's vital energy that they could've done a pure grind one and it would still be fun. Even with the more polished and dangerously-close-to-sterile production. Even without having a bass player.

What the future holds for Wormrot is a mystery for now. But at this point they created a pretty flawless catalog, and I'm so glad I was along for the ride. "Glass Shards" is such a massive high point to end on.

Written on 14.07.2022 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 129 users
15.07.2022 - 23:53
X-Ray Rod
Absolute quality album and easily the best grindcore so far this year. Will be hard to top this one. The drumming is absolutely stellar, the riff-department is top notch (and the black metal and crossover influences took me by surprise). And well, the vocals are perfect and so varied. Arif really poured every last drop of his soul on this record and I'm so thankful for that. What a high point to end on, like you wrote. The violin is a nice touch. I'm not going to oversell the violin but they surely used it well without feeling like a cheap gimmick.
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
16.07.2022 - 23:31
A Real Monkey

If Wormrot went out on this, I'd be perfectly fine with that cause it'd be ending on the highest of high notes.
"Change the world. My final message. Goodbye."

~Last words of Harambe, seconds before he was shot, according to child he shielded from gunfire
18.07.2022 - 15:50

I usually have a very short attention span for grindcore. Albums blend together and aren't that memorable for me but damn this is soooo good. Such varied songwriting, those spooky black metal sections and the almost Obscura by Gorguts sounding strings are really cool.

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