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Willowtip (2013)
Rating: 8/10

And so the Spanish weirdsters return – Wormed being one of the most jarring experiences of my life, combining spectacular complex arrangements with downright bizarre vocal blurs and everything else in between.

How does one describe the aural rape of an album like Exodromos, particularly the vocals of Phlegeton whose throaty, er… cough is an instrument unto itself, existing as some guttural, nasal, chesty cacophony that spends its vile life weaving its way through the intricate guitars of Migueloud and J. Oliver.

So, who are Wormed? Well, they’ve been zapping brain cells since the late 90s, but their first full-length piece of soul perplexing metal came in 2003 with Planisphærium. The band have since left us in the dark for a decade before another experiment in cosmically-tinged death-grind-avant garde oddness.

Where do we begin? Well, let’s start at the beginning with the leviathan that is ‘Nucleaon’, a jarring, bewildering array of mid-tempo rhythms that without notice suddenly become an inhospitable Lovecraftian soundscape of sprawling tentacles and inhuman atrocity; such are the intense yet inconsistent terrors of the formidable drums and complicated chord shifts that truly numb the brain. Imagine Gorguts via Obscura (1998) joined to the hip with a smorgasbord of Cthulu-infused angst and grind-blastbeat extremity, and that’s not even mentioning those constantly guttural yet hypnotic vocals.

Wormed have always been considered a revolutionary band, changing people’s perceptions of the death metal genre, but what these guys churn out is far from death metal, being clearly influenced by all manner of genres from progressive rock to jazz, and yet somehow injecting their deathly grunts and grinding, slamming dynamics with these often epileptic segments.

How does one describe the seemingly simple blastbeat assault of ‘The Nonlocality Trilemma’ with its relentless trigger drums and choppy instrumentation? Or the technical brutality of ‘Tautochrone’ with its shape-shifting ability which see Riky’s drums act as some alien machine that patters, batters and jerks as if it’s been injected with 100,000 volts?

These guys are clearly a law unto themselves, such is their inaccessibility and hostile climate. Just imagine trying to bang your head to the sci-fi madness of ‘Stellar Depopulation’ or the spaced out extremity of ‘Techkinox Wormhole’. Fans of newer Cryptopsy and the like will certainly find this extraterrestrial landscape quite inviting, but apart from those who wish to have their spine extracted via their anus, I would certainly say that Wormed are an acquired taste.

Thankfully, more invigorating than a number of the grindcore gore bands, Exodromos is the sort of hi-tech and vastly intelligent thinking man’s metal that was probably created for those conceived aboard a UFO! The slumber is over, the beast has risen…

Neil Arnold

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