Monday, April 11, 2011
I like when weird bands break into the scene all of a sudden and make a big splash. It's fun to see when something comes out of the proverbial left field and starts ruling everything and everyone, even for just a little while. I always get a kick out of this in the sports world, also; though I don't follow any sports anymore (writing this blog and generally being a giant fucking nerd doesn't leave much spare room to follow anything other than metal and video games religiously), I still love to see a team that I have always associated with being really bad or new or something make it to the Big Show and take it. In fact, I was totally pumped on the Saints winning the Super Bowl whenever it was that happened, because when I was young and had nothing better to do, I followed the NFL and MLB quite closely, and I remember the Saints being one of those 1-15 teams every year. Then one year they stormed the fucking gates and made shit happen! It's exhilarating to see in sports, and it's even better in the metal sphere. Enter Singapore's chief export that aren't canings (how's that for an increasingly obscure reference?), the grind boy wunderkinds Wormrot.
I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Wormrot live at SXSW this year, even though it was only for a brief period. Through the looking glass of the shitty photos I took with my wife's increasingly archaic camera, I realize more and more what everyone's talking about with Wormrot. Truth be told, I listened to their first effort, Abuse, only a handful of times. The classic overhype effect was working with me, though; I had heard so much about how killer the album was that my expectations were unreasonably high, and I was disappointed. This effect is also the reason why I've never seen the movie Friday and why I was so crushingly disappointed with the movie There's Something About Mary. When it transfers over to music, though, I am the most disappointed. Out of everything that I know about (and I know from funny dick jokes), music is probably the thing that I know the most about. As such, I was expecting the most mind-blowing technical grind whirlwind of heaviness and naked ladies when I first heard Wormrot, and I have to admit that I was let down.
The hype was too much for what I imagine would have otherwise been a highly enjoyable album.
Now it's time to examine their second album, Dirge, which I think still isn't out on physical copy yet. Earache did the right thing, though, and quashed any and all leaks and album theft by simply offering the album as a free download. FREE! It's fun to steal, but sometimes it's even more fun not to steal! So now there's at least one album on my iPod that was actually offered to me for free, which naturally clears my entire conscience for all the other stuff that I stole.
Sweet, sweet vindication.
I couldn't miss out on this; after all, it's not every day that the LABEL offers an album for FREE DOWNLOAD, right? It happens about as often as getting your dick caught in a car door, which, if you're like me, has happened to you several times but not enough to call it a habit. Realistically, though, my frenzied Interbung dash to the download (which I assume everybody who wants it already has), my real interest was not in getting new Wormrot, but to discover, like some kind of conquistador who doesn't throw smallpox blankets all over the natives, what so many other people saw in Wormrot to begin with. I always assume with bands with this much fanfare and critical acclaim that if I don't immediately like them, it's because I'm doing something wrong. I know this sounds kind of insane, but it's happened before with Converge, and I missed out so sorely and for so long that I have made a solemn oath to myself to make damn sure that bands that get so heavily trumpeted get a thorough shake from me.
I'm really ashamed of what happened with Converge, too.
Dirge has gone a pretty fair length in convincing me that I was just missing something when I first took a stab at Abuse, though I don't think I'm fully convinced that Wormrot are the great Pacific Island Hope that we've all been praying for. Are they good? Yeah, they're pretty good. Are they as good as every metal reviewer anywhere ever is making them out to be? I don't think so. But they're still good. I was really worried when I first considered doing this review that I was going to be the first person that I had ever heard of or encountered that said "Wormrot sucks." If I thought that, I would say it, but I don't think that, and that thankfully allows me to dodge the inevitable landslide of text messages and Facebook posts about how gay I am for daring to dislike Wormrot. If I wasn't so committed to being a conduit of truth in the vast desert of the Blogmosphere, I would consider lying about it.
But I don't have to.
However, Wormrot's grind assault isn't everything that it's cracked up to be. I'm not praying to them at night the way that I pray to Gridlink (I've been praying for a pony). Through all the relatively solid grind music that Dirge is stuffed with, there are still dank, inglorious moments of amateurish riffing and halfhearted guttural vokills that detract from the experience for me. I hate to play the snob card again, but amateurish riffing drives me crazy, and there are spots throughout the album that mar an otherwise concise and enjoyable experience. And the vokills sometimes detract very heavily from the music, the guttural belches and gurgles sounding like a lazy, hungover garbage disposal, and not in a good way.
I'd like to give Dirge more than a lukewarm review, but I can't. I think it's pretty good, but I'm not a Wormrot convert quite yet. Though it is some fun to see the Singaporean metal version of the Detroit Tigers in the World Series. Who the hell would have imagined that would happen? Good for them!
Go get the download here if you haven't already, but realistically you have, because you're a nerd and are reading my stupid nerd blog.
And mad props to Earache for giving the fans something they would have just stolen anyway.