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Wednesday, 1 June 2011

REVIEW: Wormrot - Bastardphobic EP [2008]

By now, it seems that nearly the whole world knows what to expect from Wormrot, who, in their past two albums, ‘Abuse’ and ‘Dirge’, have given the world some of the best crusty, deathy grindcore from recent times. It is interesting then, to look at their origins – this is their second EP, released before ‘Abuse’, yet it bears the same hallmark sound, in essence, as that fantastic record.

Naturally, being self-released, the production on this is not quite as pristine as it is on their two full-length albums, yet all instruments are well mixed in, so that no one element dominates the production. At times, however, it does have a little bit too much of a ‘wall of sound’ effect that makes it difficult to discern between individual riffs. This detracts slightly, but not too much – after all, if one were to spend too long complaining about the production values on grindcore classics like ‘Scum’ or ‘Horrified’, one would be quickly assisted by many in rapidly exiting the hall.

Speaking of the riffs, they have the simplicity, yet catchiness, that would come to the fore on ‘Abuse’, and which make Wormrot’s recorded output so popular (compared to their peers, anyhow). The guitars are possibly tuned a little lower than we have come to expect from Wormrot, but that is not a criticism, simply an effect which makes this release individual among their back catalogue. At times, the tone is reminiscent of O.L.D.’s debut full length (‘Old Lady Drivers’), which ought to have grind fans practically frothing at the mouth.

The drums set the frantic pace which means that the whole EP is over in 5 minutes, and alternate between the two standard grindcore beats – the blastbeat, which here has slightly more of the cymbals than normal, and the d-beat, which is used in the slightly slower sections (the key word being ‘slightly’) to add a little more diversity to the music (although at 5 minutes long, I wouldn’t have turned my nose up at a blastathon either), which are accompanied by some nice fills to keep the patterns interesting.

Bass is not easily discernible on its own, but it is quite obvious that it is there (where it is absent on later releases), and fits in very well. From the short bass-only passage in ‘1, 2, 1, 2, 3, Gore!’, we can tell that this job is done capably, and there are no obvious flaws (like unexpected dissonance) in the rest of the work either.

With grindcore, it is not usually appropriate to look for individual songs, and this is the case here – the whole EP simply stands on its own as a cohesive piece of grind art. There are, however, several memorable, and hummable parts which can stay in the mind for days. It is apt, I think, that the release is barely available aside from as a free download from the band’s Myspace, and there is no artwork available online. A truly overlooked piece in the back catalogue (however small it may be) of the Singaporean grind freaks.

Download here.

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