Friday 12 September 2014

Wormwood - S/T EP (Review)

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 14/10/2014
Label: Magic Bullet Records/Patac Records

‘Wormwood’ track listing:

1). Hollow Black Eyes (04:00)
2). Indoctrination (03:52)
3). I’d Rather Die (04:19)
4). White Plague (03:43)
5). Reprise (02:19)


Couple old friends getting together to make heavy depressing/empowering racket. Pupecki also plays guitar in doomriders and Bevilacqua was their original drummer

The Band:

Chris Bevilacqua | Drums, percussion, various rackets.
Chris Pupecki | Guitars, bass, vox, noise


When I first started paying attention to a random track playing in the background, I thought for sure I was listening to Celtic Frost, what with that medium-paced trudge and those lovely processed vocals. When I began paying attention though, I found way more sludge than black metal and discovered this Boston band made up of current and former members Doomriders, Disappearer and Phantom Glue are set to drop their first release on PATAC Records and Magic Bullet Records. Simplistic, yet thick and deep, these guys have put out a seriously heavy and haunting record.

Driven by a bestial, hard-hitting mid-tempo grind and a distinctly unpolished, ugly, and bottomless bass rumble, the wheelhouse of this band is clearly the rhythm section. Above the maelstrom, the guitar alternates a discordant ooze with effect-laden sludge atmospherics and consistently unsettles you with brutally effective tritonal dissonance before spacing out in smooth doomed slow jam riff territory (sometimes within a single phrase).

In the length of 18 minutes and 5 tracks they will keep your head bobbing even as the groove wobbles and weaves in gruff almost-disharmony. Ragged feedback and thick-as-hell crunch, set the abysmal mood for the submerged hypnosis of the main riff in ‘Hollow Black Eyes’, which barely moves on the fretboard yet somehow feels liquid and mobile. The strange and phenomenal lead near the end howls with a curious sort of offset wavering/watery feel that matched the yawning void of the verse in a perfectly subtle way.

"Lies, raised on lies, condition your mind"

‘Indoctrination’ begins with the savage delivery of this elegaic motif, as it slows down the trudge into a plodding stomp. Authoritative lines "don't question it - obey" set atop a bass tone that is thunderous and sulphurous; almost slimy. ‘The Liar's Theme’ continues into ‘I'd Rather Die’, the midpoint on the record, as vocalist Chris Pupecki of Doomriders fame growls "I'd rather die than live a lie." Solid sentiment if a bit simplistic -which is a bit of a catchall thought on the EP as a whole as well, though I don't think it suffers from it.  If anything, the lack of complexity makes it more accessible and keeps it uncluttered.

For the last legit song before the outro/reprise slogs through 2 minutes of grimy noise-groove ambience, ‘White Plague’ amps out the impious Frost-veneration, setting off a modern tube-worshipping take on that proto-black metal sound that is fiendish in its stuttering heaviness. It never allows you to fall too far into a groove, keeping you on the edge of resolution as it lyrically "pushes further - further away."

Sometimes crushing, sometimes creeping, this piece reimagines a modernist ‘Morbid Tales’ for the -very- angry, whils being a whole lot more than simply derivative. It will take you back while it situates itself in the right now.

Words by: James Harris

This EP will be available Magic Bullet Records and Patac Records  

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