Monday, July 2, 2012

Wormed - Planisphaerium

There’s been at least one person wearing a Wormed shirt at EVERY death metal show that I’ve been to (yes, that includes melodic death). I don’t know what it is with this band, are they just really popular where I live? Or are they truly the death grind legends that people say they are? Well after two years of getting annoyed by seeing all the Wormed shirts, I finally decided to look up the only full-length album in their discography…that was released almost 10 years ago (the only other band I can think of like that is Wintersun). Here’s one thing I learned after looking at numerous internet forums and other album reviews while listening to the record: these guys really are death grind legends, but they’re legends of the UNDERGROUND brutality scene. If you go to a show with famous death grind bands like Dying Fetus, Misery Index, Cattle Decapitation, and Exhumed; don’t expect everyone to be SUPER familiar with Wormed. But if you go to the more underground brutal death/grind shows, Wormed seems to be the Dying Fetus of the underground scene.

Well, being part of the underground community, I love this album. This is possibly one of the best death grind albums I’ve ever heard. Don’t take that too far though; this album still hasn’t surpassed ANY Dying Fetus or Cattle Decapitation albums. But it sure is more of an enjoyment to listen to than anything by Lord Gore, Mortician, Brutal Truth, or General Surgery (although I have high respects for most of those bands). After instantly falling in love with this legendary death grind record, I realized that it shares some similarities with albums that I can’t stand listening to for even a second. But what makes Planisphaerium different from any of those other records?

I’m not saying that this is a good or bad trait, but one quality that sets Wormed apart from the majority of the death grind and brutal death bands out there is that they have the whole sci-fi theme (most commonly found in technical death and progressive death). To be honest, it’s actually kind of a relief to have a death grind band in my collection that’s NOT all about gore (even though there’s nothing wrong with gore). And as a side note to prevent any possible troll comments, I am fully aware that Dying Fetus and Misery Index aren’t all about gore.

I guess the thing that makes Wormed different from really shitty brutal bands is that the songs DON’T all sound the same. In fact, there are plenty of abstract and (somewhat) progressive elements in Planisphaerium. The first one that I noticed was the really weird chords that Wormed uses in several songs. The song that has more of these weird chords than any other is Tunnel of Ions. Along with that, the drumming that’s played along with these weird sounding guitar/bass harmonizations only increases the progressiveness of the sound. Being a musician, I can only describe it as REALLY fast double kicking along with the china being played as eighth-notes and the snare being played on the slow down-beats (I think I totally screwed that up, but whatever, just listen to it and you’ll know what I mean). Another thing about Wormed is that it’s not all really low-tuned blasting brutality like most other death grind bands. They throw in some melodic parts, TONS of atmospheric sections, and even a few breakdowns here and there.

Honestly, all of the musicians in this band are fantastic; the least talented probably being the guitarist and the vocalist (the reason for this album not getting a perfect score). The vocalist fits the band great, but his inhales are a little on the irritating side. I can easily tolerate him, but from a critic’s standpoint, he definitely could use some work. But then again, his vocals aren’t completely monotone. He goes from deep growls to mid-ranged pig squeals to the really annoying…I don’t know how to describe them..but they annoy me. There’s an example of what I’m trying to describe in the second half of Geodesic Dome when the whole band goes silent except for the vocalist right before a breakdown. The bassist is, hands down, the best member of the band. The only other death grind bassists that are as good (or better) than this guy are the bassists for Cattle Decapitation and Dying Fetus. The bassist picks up the lead line at some point in every song on the record, the way he harmonizes the guitars is like nothing I’ve ever heard in my life (which is saying a lot considering the amount of music I’ve heard in my life).

The drummer is weird, that’s the only word I can think of to describe him, weird. His playing is very solid and never falls out of time, but almost everything that he does is not at all what I would expect from this kind of drummer. When I would expect him to play a complex blast beat, he plays a simple double kick while hitting one of the cymbals. When I would expect him to kick-drum a certain pattern during a breakdown, he plays a blast beat. He almost never plays what I’m expecting him to play, which is a very rare quality for a drummer, and an amazing one.

ANYONE that has not heard this album NEEDS TO HEAR IT! Everyone that doesn’t have this album NEEDS TO GET IT. I’ve already gotten my Wormed shirt in the mail and I wear it proudly (being yet another “guy with the Wormed shirt” at any concert I wear it to). I would give this fantastic record 19/20. Wormed is by far the best “new” death grind band I’ve heard since I was introduced to Exhumed.