Brutal death metal or slam is a sub-genre that is definitely difficult to do right. Wormed combines brutal death metal characteristics with highly technical playing and compositional skill, all lathered in a very alien, space obsessed theme, to carve out a niche for themselves.
Spanish metallers Wormed return this year with their second full length album “Exodromos.” This album follows up their debut album “Planisphaerium,” originally released only in Japan in 2003. Ten years is quite a long time between albums. But if there was any question if “Exodromos” would deliver, it’s been answered. Yes it certainly does.
Wormed’s sophomore album features a ton of memorable brutal death metal riffs. Just solid angular riffing everywhere. The riffs are pummeling headbangers and memorable as well. Wormed employ the stop-start riffing technique frequently and do it well. There’s the perfect amount of chugging riffs. Not too many are used: ensuring the value of these parts isn’t lost by their mundanity. Plenty of chaotic grind esque guitar parts add to the mood and power of “Exodromos.” Odd guitar techniques such as fast sliding and constant squealing make up entire riffs. Wormed also has a pension for slow, dissonant ambient riffs. All of these techniques make for one crazy rollercoaster ride and one uniquely odd vibe. Lead single, and music video recipient, ‘Tautochrone” features all of the described styles of riffing. Each style is found all over the album however, nothing is a one time deal. “Exodromos” is incredibly consistent in its style and quality.
On “Exodromos” it appears that Wormed made a conscious effort to be on the simpler side structurally. It feels like the band actively tried to avoid the riff soup phenomena many extreme death metal bands tragically serve up. Too many chaotic death metal riffs leads to an oversaturation of the listener. It begins to get too difficult to mentally grasp the structure of the individual songs. Each track blends together. This is only furthered by the ridiculous song titles, “Exodromos” is guilty of this as well to be honest. Wormed avoids this problem by focusing on quality over quantity. The riffs stay incredibly brutal yet can be described by no other word than catchy. Simplifying the song structure and limiting the amount of riffs in each track has allowed to “Exodromos” to be both incredibly brutal, technical and chaotic, yet also be very memorable, palatable and ultimately enjoyable.
Lyrically this album is a direct prequel to “Planisphaerium.” The story takes place during the year 8000. “Exodromos” details the journey of 100 cryogenically, mentally enhanced with all the knowledge of the human race. These superior human beings were tasked with carrying on the human race as Sun dies and the solar system collapses. The goal of these 100 are to find another suitable planetary environment for the continuance of the human race. But things do not go as planned. Krigshu, the only remaning human, must attempt to recreate the human race with the human seed. Without even reading the lyrics, the song titles do enough, you can tell there some very cerebral concepts on this album. Wormed explains the album on their website with more detail if anyone is interested.
Luckily if you aren’t into that story or space lyrics in general, you can’t understand a word vocalist Phlegeton is saying! In general brutal death metal or slam fashion, the vocals are completely indistinguishable. Rather than using the typical guttural style employed by bands like Pathology, Phlegeton has a very unique style. His vocals whistle and squeal, though they are clearly very low in the register. This actually not obnoxious form of pig squealing fits incredibly well with the space focused, alien feeling crafted by the rest of Wormed on “Exodromos.” Phlegeton’s phrasing and vocal placement is perfect and accents the music to masterful effect.
“Exodromos” was released March 26th via Willowtip Records. This album is a brutal death metal masterpiece. Wormed very obviously avoid the sophomore slump and deliver a fine cut of extreme metal. “Exodromos” may very well be a landmark for the sub-genre it falls into and will definitely end up on many end of the year lists come December. This one’s a must listen and even deserves the few listens it will take to fully grasp and understand the nuance of the album. “Exodromos” has definitely grown on me the more I listen to it. Check it out if you haven’t yet. Wormed’s “Exodromos” scores an impressive 9/10.