Hey there tech fiends, it's that time of the week again. Before we dive into today's focus, here's the usual weekly reminder that if you're looking for even more sick bands to hear, all prior editions of this series can be perused here.
Where does one start with Wormed? I’ve been pondering that a lot lately as they’re hardly a new group seeing as they’ve been active since 1998. But, things have certainly changed in multiple ways over time, and, when it comes to assessing Metaportal within the context of their history, those are still relevant points to touch on.
Like a lot of people, the group’s 2003 debut full-length, Planisphærium, was an impressive offshoot of Cryptopsy inspired technical brutal death metal that was amazing in its own right well before that group’s influence would take a stronger hold on the scene. Arguably, and, this is not a knock on Cryptopsy, Wormed has likely spread the gospel of Cryptopsy style riffing and unpredictable songwriting more among the modern scene, while adding much to that framework in order to make it their own thing. More importantly, even their prior demos from 1998 on whose songs made their way onto the 2003 debut, showed they had already crafted a developed blueprint for chaotic technical brutality tied to sophisticated songwriting and a science fiction aesthetic from every angle.
After many years of silence, the band came back with a strong statement of intent moving forwards with their two-song EP from 2010, Quasineutrality. Then, in 2013, they dropped Exodromos, a terrifyingly brilliant feat I still consider to be their finest hour. Not only was that evolution of their sound into ever more dissonant and stranger territory jaw-dropping, but, it also had a refined songwriting quality to it that proved many times over that Wormed is an elite act.
A quicker than expected third full-length follow up in 2016 called Krighsu further cemented that they were back in a big way. I have some minor quibbles when it comes to my take on whether it was a step forward or not compared to Exodromos, but, on its own merits, it is still an outstanding effort well above what 99% of technical brutal death metal bands as a whole can hope to conjure even once in their career.
After Krighsu, tragedy struck in a dual form with the untimely death of their drummer G-Calero at age 27, and, the following is said for analysis of the band only, not on being insensitive. Lesser-known around the same time, the group’s founding guitarist, J. Oliver, left the group. While the band’s second guitarist who joined in 2008, Migueloud, formerly of Hybrid (an amazing group whose 2008 album, The 8th Plague still blows me away) soldiered on as the sole guitarist with Wormed not finding or seeking out a second guitarist, whatever the case was.
With that context still relevant, we enter into Metaportal, the group’s new four-song EP out this Friday through Season of Mist. If there was any doubt in my mind the band may have opted to float into the auto-pilot mode many do later in their careers, my concerns were quickly put to rest after the first full spin of this release.
As Wormed has often done prior when it comes to starting off on a high note, Metaportal kicks off with a frighteningly intense opener in “Remote Void” that further threads in their newer dissonant and atmospheric side not just at the end of songs or as interludes, it continues to take a deeper role within the core madness of their music. A trend that continues to unlock new potential within Wormed throughout track two, “Cryptoubiquity”, track three “Bionic Relic”, and the badass finale, “E-Xystem://CE”. For several releases now, Wormed has saved the best for last and unleashed their most grandiose and unique music on the closing track for their efforts. As much as I love the other three songs, “E-Xystem://CE” is not only the most exciting track here, it’s also the one that best showcases their ability to continually expand their sound and unique songwriting style.
While anything new from Wormed would likely impress me a lot even if it didn’t push forward with the same hunger and ambition they’ve always shown, Metaportal being what it is as the byproduct of a band active for 21 years, is far from being a group phoning it in. Even in 2019, Wormed refuses to lay down and just drop something mediocre. Consisting of just four songs and an under twenty minute run time, that would often not be enough to dazzle me but Wormed packs enough into each song to account for dozens of their peer's full albums worth of ideas and then some. I know what I’ll be jamming non-stop the rest of 2019 and into the future, because, I’m still not tired of their prior works, hundreds of spins later for each on my end. Keep an eye out for this on Friday because I really do feel the two final tracks not public yet are the best on it. I’ve embedded the first two songs that are up for everyone, and, pre-orders are available through the Season Of Mist website and through the Wormed Bandcamp page. You can follow the group over on the Wormed Facebook Page.