Sunday, April 14, 2013

Wormed - Exodromos

Spanish death grind masters Wormed are finally back with the long-overdue sophomore follow-up to 2003’s Planisphaerium. Well, people that were paying attention last year probably remember Wormed releasing an EP containing two new tracks (to hold us over), a remix of Voxel Mitosis, and a live recording of Tunnel of Ions. Apparently, this EP was more than just a gift to hold us over, it was a teaser for future material. Earlier this year, Wormed officially announced the title and release date of their new album, titled Exodromos. I’m going to be honest, I fucking flipped out when they released this info along with one of the songs from the record (and I know I wasn’t the only one). I honestly don’t think that the band was expecting this extreme of a response (hell, almost all the metal webzines were talking about it), which brings it down to one question: does Wormed still have the power, skill, and uniqueness that they had in 2003?

Planisphaerium was a fucking masterpiece, earning my score of 19/20. A debut THAT strong sets the bar pretty fucking high for the next release to live up to. My worst nightmare would be for Wormed to join all of those other bands that fluked out by making a perfect debut and never again making an album quite as good. The one thing that Planisphaerium was missing that, if present, would’ve pushed that 19 up to a 20, was better sound production. The sound quality, although helpful towards the music’s “ambient” sound, seemed hollow. Exodromos is pretty much Planisphaerium with much better sound quality.

The band’s 2012 EP showed quite a bit of experimentation with digital effects and computerized sounds. Although this was somewhat toyed with in Planisphaerium, their 2012 EP (which has yet another foreign name that I don’t feel like typing out) really put a lot more focus on that. This is probably why the band decided to do a remix of Voxel Mitosis. So the Wormed superfans that actually jammed the EP when it was released got the message that there’s probably going to be a lot more computerized effects on Exodromos. And, well, just as many people (myself included) had predicted, Exodromos does introduce a lot more digital effects than previous releases. Most of the time, it’s just in the intros of songs or during the interludes; but there are a lot of sections that have the weird high-pitched crackling in the background behind the wall-of-sound death grind that Wormed creates with their music. To be honest, although musically, Exodromos is extremely similar to Planisphaerium, Wormed does pack a pleasant surprise with the digital effects used in Exodromos.

After a month or so of listening to Exodromos (I still can’t figure out how to fucking pronounce that), you start noticing some flaws in Planisphaerium; mainly because Exodromos is…well…better! Exodromos demonstrates more intelligence, organization, confidence, structure, and variety. Although the seemingly randomized structure that the songs on Planisphaerium has is one of the really cool and interesting things about it, you realize how much better Wormed sounds when they’re more organized! I guess if Wormed had kept releasing new records every two or so years, we would’ve seen a steady increase in organization and structure. But instead, we get to wait a whole goddamn decade and have the organization sharply increase in just one album! This, my friends, is one of the few cases where a band releases a near-perfect debut and then creates an album that COMPLETELY blows it out of the water.

Those of you that are reading this and thinking “who the fuck is Wormed?” could probably use a brief description of their sound. The vocals are all inhales, mainly mid-ranged pig squeals with the occasional guttural growls. The vocals seem to have more rhythm than on Planisphaerium, which obviously increases the interest factor. Because this is death grind, there will be blast beats. And let me tell you this: this guy knows how to fucking blast beat. That is not an exaggeration; this drummer is perfect at extreme music. His blast beats aren’t exactly the most unique, but they’re still flawless. The types of chords played by the guitarists are pretty undefinable; they’re really weird. Sometimes even sounding ambient or melodic.

Exodromos is the first album of 2013 to get a perfect score from me. This is definitely going to be setting the bar high for this year. Like I said before, although Exodromos sounds very similar to Planisphaerium, there are so many things about it that just fucking blow all previous releases out of the water. There is nothing about Exodromos that I have to complain about except for the fact that I still can’t figure out how to pronounce it. I can’t really see everyone loving this, but if you’re a hardcore fan of extreme music, this is something you NEED to give a listen, because it is something else! Once again, I would give this 20/20. Now, all we need is to have Wormed come to America.