ALBUM REVIEW: Hiss – Wormrot

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As far has heavy bands go you will not find many with a similar story to that of WORMROT. The band formed in Singapore following their two years of mandatory national services and quickly set about doing whatever the hell they wanted musically. Along with a number of splits and demos the band have previously released three full-length albums, with each pushing their musical boundaries further and further outwards. However, following the release of 2016’s Voices they would experience some considerable hardships with the extensive vocal damage and subsequent repair of frontman Arif’s vocal cords, COVID-19, and changing life responsibilities all aiding to the band’s six-year studio hiatus. To add to this, it is worth noting that Arif has announced prior to the release of the album that this is his last creative output for WORMROT and that he has since left the band to focus on his family life – a decision that has been met with well wishes and understanding by his long-term bandmates.

If you were expecting Hiss to be a melodic, melancholic swansong of an affair you couldn’t be any further off the mark. From the very first lines of The Darkest Burden, Arif takes his freshly repaired vocals chords to their very limit, showcasing his range from banshee-like shrieks to guttural lows and everything in between. The instrumental sounds as frantic and utterly unhinged as ever whilst still coming across as cohesive and well thought out. Broken Maze carries on in very much the same vein, with pulverising drums, buzzsaw guitars and schizophrenic vocal lines. WORMROT have never been a band that are happy to let the listener get any sort of comfort or familiarity with what’s kicking violently through their speakers and the constant shifts in dynamics found across the first three minutes of this album are a total testament to that fact.

The fact that WORMROT are so synonymous with the growth and development of the grindcore genre, whilst simultaneously pushing their way into other genres is one of the great paradoxes in modern music. A perfect example of their chameleon-esque song-writing is on full display on the track Voiceless Choir. The band manage to find a way to jump from ferocious grindcore, through post-hardcore (accompanied by whispered vocals and melodic lead guitars) and then into a straight up hardcore groove (including TERROR-like gang vocals) all within the space of two and a half minutes worth of music. And what is more amazing about this is that it is completely seamless and feels one hundred percent natural.

The band shift gears entirely for the song Sea Of Disease, slowing things down to a crawl and allowing the audience a brief moment of respite. The dissonant guitar chords and thumping beat show that the band have plenty more tricks hidden in up their sleeve and are happy to take things in a different direction. However, they quickly retreat back to more familiar territory with the downright feral Noxious Cloud – a song that owes as much to industrial music with its use of heavily distorted vocals and repetitive overlapping riffs as it does to their usual grindcore stylings.

When penning this album WORMROT appear to have never concerned themselves with what people were going to think about them. At this point in their career their name is synonymous with forward thinking, creatively expansive grindcore music. They have never been known to stay in one lane and nor should they when they are capable of wearing so many different stylistic hats even within the space of a song that barely scratches the two-minute mark.

With this being the last album to feature creative input from their long-serving frontman, Hiss is certainly a bittersweet record. The band have once again raised their game and have released arguably their finest work to date, yet there is the overwhelming sadness and anxiety that this may be the end of something great. Hopefully, they prove us wrong and come back as strong, if not stronger than they are now with a new frontman in tow.

Rating: 9/10

Hiss - Wormrot

Hiss is set for release on July 8th via Earache Records.

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The post ALBUM REVIEW: Hiss – Wormrot appeared first on Distorted Sound Magazine.

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