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Spanish death metal quintet Wormed is a group that specializes in balancing technicality with sheer brutality. Established in 1998 from Madrid, they released a number of short albums, as well as a full-length record "Planisphaerium" in 2003. They later signed to Willowtip Records, which also took in bands such as Defeated Sanity and Neuraxis. What follows would be the release of the band's second full-length album called "Exodromos."
The musicianship demonstrated in this album is very good. Starting off, the guitar work is the best aspect of this instrumentation. Without noodling, they deliver technical riffs, brutal chugs, rapid-fire licks, and perhaps anything else to make for a diverse performance. These aspects are all tied together with the vehement and spacey sound they generally deliver. On top of that, the vocals, consisting of deep gutturals, add to the band's cosmic yet brutal sound. They could have used more variety, such as the high-pitches in the opening track "Nucleon," for more variety, but they are well performed nonetheless. The drums are also great, being incredibly fast-paced and complex, but solid enough to keep the formula tight and focused. All things considered, the musicianship definitely succeeds in this album.
Along with the instrumentation, the sound production is also quite stellar. The one behind it would be Carlos Santos, who had also recorded and mixed albums for other acts such as Human Mincer and Hybrid. The job is well done here, keeping the instruments clear and powerful while holding a surprisingly good amount of thick atmosphere. The mixing is yet another strong point for this album.
As stated earlier, Wormed has a formula of fusing brutal and technical death metal for an unrelenting listen. Overall, this plan is very well-crafted. It seems like it would have been so easy for the tracks to sound monotonous and repetitive, for its highly devastating fabric. However, this thankfully isn't the case, because the music is smartly written. The album as a whole has a few quieter moments to make the heavier parts sound even more explosive. To top it off, there is a good abundance of gripping parts that manage to tie together into solidly-built structures. Though not always an attention-grabbing death-ride, it cannot be denied that the band has really got around in terms of focusing on both deadliness and coherency. The music is beyond decent.
"Exodromos" is overall a very well put-together and potent death metal release. The musicianship is performed greatly, the production is also done nicely, and the songs themselves are powerfully constructed and executed. With how well the album turned out, it is recommended for fans of technical and brutal death metal. Along with that, Wormed proves to be a band that isn't to be taken very lightly.
Originally posted on: http://metaljerky.blogspot.com/
It took Spain's Wormed a whole decade to write another chapter in the band's novella of a discography, which, up to "Exodromos," only had included a handful of minor releases and one full-length album. "Planisphærium," the debut record authorized by these denizens of ultra-brutal technical death metal, became the cat's ass (perhaps the xenomorph's blade-tipped tail better fits the context) upon its release, receiving positive reviews, a sturdy following, and the word-of-mouth feedback that instilled quite the cult for Wormed. "Exodromos," Wormed's sophomore effort, used many moons (a whole decade‘s worth) coming out of the astral womb, but the thirty-three minutes of projected terror and psychosis retching from its intergalactic wormhole are still totally nuts and destructive; a seismic blast of technical death metal from its prince in the shadows.
So, I suppose in the field of space-themed technical death metal akin to Obscura or Spawn of Possession, Wormed stands as its most animalistic enterprise. "Exodromos" is, on the one hand, a staple example of what to expect from technical death metal. The Spaniards send multitudes of tempos and structures à la Cryptopsy or Defeated Sanity constantly crashing into waves of harsh riffs, brutal breakdowns, blasting madness, and other fierce rhetoric. In essence, it's a brutal technical death metal record; if you've any experience with the sub-genre's philosophies, you should have a general idea of what to expect. On the other hand, there's a general balance between algorithmic lunacy and throwing in mathematical parts for the sole purpose of appearing perplexing or complex.
In essence, many parts of "Exodromos" will be retained by the listener, and at times vibes of Immolation et al. vibrate from the cosmic ruins of Wormed's travels, more so than, say, Malignancy or a similar brother sharing algebraic blood. It's a rather nice quality to have, because "Exodromos" never relents its mincing violence yet there's a lot more going on than just overloading the auditory space with measureless nonsense. The vocals don't do much for me, however; the standard puking, indecipherable, mega-guttural bellows applied by many of this niche. The narrative passages throughout the haunting "Solar Neutrinos" and a handful of others spice things up a bit, fitting well into the group's folklore and comprehensive atmosphere.
Every song stands on its own, but I prefer "Xenoverse Discharger" over the rest; it's a creepy, alien ritual of boiling guitar parts and sinister atmosphere, yet filled with blast beats and traditional qualities of Wormed all interwoven into its core. "Exodromos" is a proper continuation of the extraterrestrial violence found throughout "Planisphærium," although Wormed took their sweet time making the record. However, if they continue forging albums like "Exodromos," they can take as much time as they need. That said, technical death metal addicts will find their fix within the corridors of Wormed's intergalactic prophecies of doom. "Exodromos" deserves your attention, this coming from a dude often repelled by ultra-brutal death metal.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
In what may be the first recorded example in the history of music of a band having a gap of ten years between their debut and sophomore efforts and not coming out on the other side as a complete pile of shit, Wormed's second album Exodromos is actually surprisingly solid, and while it's been quite a while since the band first released Planisphærium in 2003 (granted, I don't exactly know when writing for this album officially started), this feels neither underdeveloped and thrown together nor overcooked and overly ambitious. It's just good ol'-fashioned song-based technical brutal death metal with Wormed's unique flavor of riffcraft left intact.
Now, obviously, brutal death metal has changed since 2003, but Wormed roll with the genre surprisingly well - Exodromos is still distinctly a Wormed album, but it's not a clone of Planisphærium. The production is a lot more modern, most notably for the guitar tone; the unusually dark and claustrophobic guitar tone on the band's debut has been replaced with a shiny, pristine, crystal-clear but thankfully well-balanced set of guitars (it's worth noting that this "modern" sound generally only works for Wormed because of their overall atmosphere and aesthetics and that I don't really encourage its general use in modern BDM). Altogether, when compared to its predecessor, Exodromos feels a lot less... dark. Whereas Planisphærium brought to mind an impossibly dark, murky, unexplored, uninhabited region of space, this album definitely depicts a developed sort of civilization - it may be chaotic and dangerous, but it is invariably constantly hustling and bustling with alien life as opposed to existing inside an abiotic vacuum.
The overall repertoire of riffs still bears some semblance to "Cryptopsy in space", which is what I like to call the debut, but in general this sounds a bit closer to the modern tech-death tropes of dissonant chords, super-fast gravity blasts and convoluted rhythms. That's not to say it's all noodling, though - while Wormed never really use any slams here, Exodromos is nevertheless an undeniably groovy album. The band use breakdowns instead of slams, which are usually pretty effective despite the complex rhythms used under them (granted, an exception of quality can be made for the song "Darkflow Quadrivium", which is just... really not good). Even the faster, practically deathgrind-like riffs are bursting with catchiness, partially on account of the relentless feeling created as the guitarists relent on their palm-muting and let the undiluted open notes whack you in the face for a while. Aside from the added groove, the band have started focusing a bit more on outright atmosphere - there are a fair share of major scale melodies and waves of fuzzy, clean, jingly guitars which would fit rather well in a Lykathea Aflame song, and Wormed are better than most tech-death outfits when it comes to writing and integrating these sorts of riffs. The vocals mesh with them surprisingly well, too, or at least better than you'd think they would on paper.
The vocal performance this time around is clearer, but their style is still that set of uniquely alien, almost shrieked inhales, which sometimes strip themselves down to practically Waking the Cadaver-worshiping croaks. I think I might actually even like this album's vocals more than the debut's; not because the techniques have changed in any way, but because the added sonic definition they have this time around is nice to hear. While they were certainly a point of interest on the debut, on that album they were less integral to the overall performance, whereas here they're at the front of the mix and the music doesn't suffer a bit from it.
The only really big problem here is that the songs aren't really as instantly memorable here as they were on the debut. The composition of the songs themselves is actually really impressive for brutal death metal, in that the songs have a stunning sense of flow, tension release and conclusion; but in terms of riffs there's not that much that just immediately grabs you by the balls like the band once did with stuff like, say, the opening riff of "Tunnel of Ions". The deathgrind-influenced riffs are certainly fun, but none of them possess any melodic identity and sound like minor, practically nonexistent adaptations on the same base; same goes for the breakdowns. And this is arguably a minor issue, as the band don't do it very often, but when Wormed break out the stop-start riffs, shit starts getting really bad really quickly. Listen to that load of crap in the last 35 seconds of "Techkinox Wormhole" - who the fuck approved that!?
Overall I probably like this a little bit less than I liked Planisphærium, on account of the debut's more deadened atmosphere and more refined set of riffs, but Exodromos is a cool album that's still distinctly Wormed with a few new tricks added up their sleeves. Between the impressive songwriting, the improved production and the brand new "pretty" riffs integrated into their sound, one could very easily find this release to altogether be a step up in quality from Planisphærium, and I seriously doubt that any Wormed fan is going to be disappointed by it either way.
The meaning behind the word "Exodromos" is enigmatic, but may best be understood as a combination of the prefix "Exo" (meaning outside or external) and "Dromos", a word that pertains to the pathway to an ancient tomb, particularly that of Egypt (though a second definition dealing with an Ancient Greek racetrack is possible, though far less likely). In keeping with the propensity for extremely deep and complex lyrical content, Wormed has basically found themselves in something paralleling "Stargate", or otherwise dealing with an interstellar understanding of spiritual dualism to adorn an album that is largely concerned with astronomy, astrophysics and biology. It's a fitting introduction to an album that, in contrast to its rougher predecessor "Planisphaerium" (which denotes an olden text by Greco-Roman scientist and mathematician Ptolemy), is marked by a clearer and more ambitious nature.
While a 10 year gap between 2 LP releases is quite a large one, this album doesn't deviate too far from its predecessor stylistically. The same hodgepodge of note motives and incomprehensible vocalizations endures, though it has become a tad less otherworldly due to a crisper production that allows the riff work to take on a slightly more traditional death metal character. There are times when the transitional works of Suffocation and Cryptopsy circa 1993-1996 can be deciphered amid the chaotic sonic foray, providing a vivid musical picture akin to terrified inhabitants of some distant planet as their sun supernovas. Particularly of note is the percussive rhythmic unity of the riff work with the Flo Mounier inspired blast and machine gun beats.
An important thing to keep in mind with this band is that, in contrast to younger brutal acts with a fixation for space such as Rings Of Saturn, this is not really a technical band in the same mold as the post-Cryptopsy crowd. Songs such as "Tautochrone" have a fair amount of frenetic guitar work that can be qualified as virtuosic, but they tend to be confined to the lower echelon of the guitar's range, thus not really qualifying as the sort of Braindrill showboating that tends to get associated with many younger technical acts. The bass is much more audible and involved on this album in relation to the first LP, but is also not openly showy in either a slapping Cryptopsy approach, or a post-Sadus fretless noodling mold either. There are a few moments such as the higher pitched riffing on "Multivectorial Reionization" where things could be qualified as slightly progressive, and the deep ended yet intelligible spoken sections both on this song and "Solar Neutrinos" do come off as unorthodox, but there are times when this sounds closer to Dying Fetus than Beyond Creation.
In contrast to their previous album, this is something that even an occasional brutal death listener like myself can go back to on a regular basis without getting bored. Wormed may not be the most prolific act out there today, but when they deliver, it hits the ears like a massive meteoroid traveling near light speed. If getting one's bones crushed under the weight of the equivalent of a sonic cannon while simultaneously getting an informal science lesson is the order of the day, consider "Exodromos" the cosmic soup du jour.
Believe the hype. Wormed speak adequately to the zeitgeist... or at least the online simulation of the same. Problematics and possible arguments (not “controversies”) when first considering a review of the new Wormed album: the role of the writer and reviewer, the role of the listener. A reviewer is expected to somehow, even in a limited space, for a short time, try to convert music to words (depending on his/her skill, this is another problem) and then comment on those same conversions – or on the analogous conversions of others. I don't care about any of that. Do you?
If you want to listen to Wormed you have the means to do so. Their new album leaked weeks ago, it's streaming on at least one website, descriptions are unnecessary. It's death metal, it is (as I said before in my review of the latest Devourment album) miscast, misaligned, shallowly-understood slam rising newly to breach the genre specifics of that hastily, dilettantishly circumscribed neo-genre. We now see “mainstream” death metal, meaning the “main current”, not death metal directed at “mainstream” listeners (what the fuck are those?) squatting, giving rise to daughter subgenres and then sucking up and incorporating the ideas of the same. Babies making babies. This is natural. Death metal, just like black metal, strains at the boundaries of its definitions, as it always has, spins out mutations and sucks them back in again. This is another way of saying: it's all death metal. It's all metal. It's all rock and roll. Deal with it.
Wormed enjoy playing with microgenre riff specifications. They'll throw out something that hints at what might be a bedroom black metal nth generation misunderstanding of an old Voivod riff if that makes you feel comfortable in the newly spun, created-while-listening microcosm of “interpretation” while you hunt for sonics that illustrate fantasies of abduction you didn't know you had. You'll say: yes, Voivod, yes, space, yes...something or other. Artificial harmonics, off-key chromatic dithering that makes people say “dissonance” without knowing what that word means in music theory. "Space" equals a limitless possibility that death metal can now move into, its signifier: the discordant that screams “The Future” (always capitalized), that Great Abstraction, that Great Nothing. Boundless optimism meaning nothingness (and this is Wormed's secret alignment with death metal's historic pessimism) because in pointing at all possibility it points at nothing at all.
Wormed's guitars careen, accelerate and stop mute, twist and turn, writhe and dive, scream and microchug, absorb all of thrash, the entire history of death, they rise to the melodic insincerity of a failed black metal (yet never downcast, Wormed seek the optimist... which means the inhuman) and then thumb their nose at the same. Melodicism from the entire history of The Machine. If it seems insincere and outside all of history it's because it seeks to be, in turn, outside all of humanity, forgetting that humans create the robotic. At heart it's that same replicant rhythm, or the semaphore, dead-inside shouting to the deaf: the future is beat and pulse, it's sub-Meshuggah math rhythm because this brings us, somehow, back to our humanity, although this is just a surface communication and so: meaningless. Rhythm was the beginning of music... will it be the future? Is that our essence? No, now, humanity's fate seems to be in embracing technology, in embracing The Inhuman, in absorbing and being fucked by “extremity” that is somehow shoved by Freudian prosthetic god technology into a projected nirvana that is, let's admit it... a totalitarian nightmare. Rhythm under will, rhythm is the law.
Wormed, on this album, play an incredibly technically precise and beautiful form of death metal that should inspire many (most to insincere, shallow replication) to follow in their footsteps, it's entertaining, moving (in the bodily sense, it doesn't touch the emotional), I have listened to this album at least twenty times already. They completely lack spirit, transcendence, humanity. That's the point. If that's truly (they're artists, you can turn away from what they're trying to sell you) the case this might be the most negative death metal album in a long while. Death as in “death of humanity?” It might seem natural to some, the grave-worshippers, the ash-swallowers. I prefer my death metal a little more humanistic. I want to feel runny flesh and grave fat in my death metal, I want to feel horror, shame, guilt, dread... I want to pretend I'm still alive. Wormed tells you: no, you're dead, you're abstracted consciousness, you're floating in the ether, let's convert your bones to stainless steel and still make music. In that sense? This album is a triumph. I love it in any case.
After forming around the turn of the millenium playing a futuristic twist on brutal death metal, Wormed have reemerged with their second long-play, Exodromos. The crisper production from their Quasineutrality EP has returned and Riky from Avulsed is behind the drum set on this release.
While that first paragraph seems strictly factual, there are two distinct elements of it that make this record less great than it could have been. First, the production. I rarely complain about metal albums’ production. My view is that a great song can shine through poor production, just like a great band can still put on an incredible show in a shitty bar or basement with terrible sound. But Wormed’s debut Planisphærium had such suffocating production that it gave it a unique atmosphere. In the same way the setting can be a character in a movie (like Mars in Total Recall, for instance), the production of Planisphærium made the listener feel like his space helmet had been removed and the pressure was turning his cranium inside-out. Even though the instruments are more clear and audible this time around, giving Wormed modern tech-death production is stripping away one of their strengths.
Second, their old drummer Andy C. is gone. I loved Andy C.’s playing on Planisphærium because he was able to combine technical skill with tastefully unusual fills that kept him from seeming like a show-off. His playing was unique and stylish in a way that’s incredibly rare for the genre. Riky is a strong drummer and he does inject some personality into his playing, but his performance on the record, while a technical marvel, is less stunning than the work Andy C. did on the first album.
Those two demerits aside, Exodromos is a strong but mildly disappointing follow-up record, considering I place their first among the best albums of the genre. The guitar riffs aren’t afraid to use the higher strings instead of simply rumbling around the downtuned depths, and they often feel like they just slashed through a wormhole. The song structures are still playfully unpredictable, like in “Stellar Depopulation,” where a jigsaw puzzle of trebley riffs builds to a slam that’s over as soon as it began. “Spacetime Ekleipsis Vorticity” keeps the same headbang tempo through a handful of varied riffs, with a quick break for atmospherics. The spacey atmosphere is still all over the album, but it feels a little more Prometheus than Alien this time. Phlegeton’s vocal performance is impressive but again, the clean production makes him sound a little less alien than he used to.
Wormed is still a very talented group who know how to craft a brutal technical death metal album with the best of ‘em. They just weren’t quite able to capture space-lightning in a space-bottle this time.
Wormed created a strong cult following in the underground brutal death metal scene when it released its debut album, Planisphaerium, back in 2003. The band's bizarre complexity and ultra-guttural vocals really caught some attention. After seven years passed, Wormed finally released the two song Quasineutrality EP which altered the band's sound slightly and offered a cleaner production job. However, seven years was a long wait for only two new songs, and fans were soon ready for more. Now, Wormed has finally unleashed its second full-length, Exodromos.
Wormed's most recent opus, Exodromos, basically picks up where the EP left off. Only now the songs are stronger, and the production is even clearer and more powerful. The music on Exodromos might be a little more catchy and feature more simple chugging than in the past, but there's still an overwhelming amount of complex riffs, odd lurching rhythms, and sickening dissonance to keep this new material "one hundred percent Wormed." Exodromos strikes a perfect balance between chunky grooves and complex riffage, brutal palm-muting and high ringing chords, and suffocating blasting and wide open space. Dissonant semi-clean arpeggiated chords add an eerie vibe and some much-needed breathing room when used in tandem with the furious pounding and battering. As in the past, there are not really any guitar solos to speak of, only occasional lead licks. The vocals remain low, indecipherable gurgles except for a few spoken parts. The complex arrangements and the top-notch musicianship ensure that there's plenty here to dissect after repeated listens, yet there's also enough standout parts to latch onto immediately. Essentially, Exodromos is a combination of Wormed's previous work with stronger production and songwriting.
Fans have waited a long time for another Wormed full-length and expectations are understandably running high. After listening to Exodromos, a fellow Psaltine said something like, "Ten years for this? Hundreds of brutal bands could write this in their sleep." Obviously I don't agree with that statement, but some of you might. Give this album some time, and see what you think. Exodromos is quickly becoming my favorite Wormed release. Fans of Gorguts, Ulcerate, and possibly Meshuggah could find something to like here. Old Wormed fans, especially those who enjoy the EP, should pick up Exodromos before the weight of this album tears apart both space and time and annihilates all of existence.
Originally written for http://www.metalpsalter.com
Since the release of their 2003 debut album, Planisphærium, Wormed have been one of the most respected brutal death metal bands of modern time. Rarely criticized and often praised, the Spain born group have been active since 1998 and previously released one full-length, one EP, two demos, a single and a split album. While Wormed released the EP Quasineutrality in 2012, fans world wide have been anxiously awaiting a full-length follow up for ten long years. Exodromos is that follow up, and it is easily one of the most highly anticipated albums of 2013. The band have stated that Exodromos is a prequel to Planisphærium, and that it "tells the story of futuristic science concepts and chaotic visions of the last human left in the cosmos." What new alien sci-fi adventures do Wormed have in store for audiences?
Exodromos is a brutally hellish descent at terminal velocity through space, time, and the end of humanity as we know it. The audience travels along side Krighsu, the last known human in the megacosm, which was absorbed by a quantum wormhole and spat back out as an inverted "Multivectorial Reionization" of the universe that we know now. The story telling in this material is above and beyond anything that Wormed have written before; it is visionary, primordial, and paints horrific space-scapes in the psyche that drag the listener through one mans descent into madness. What makes Wormed one of the most unique brutal death metal bands are their alienistic lyrics that encompass space, psychosis, human evolution and science in general; unlike most brutal death metal bands that stick with the standard blood, guts, gore and carnage. The overall material on Exodromos has an intelligent feel to it, in both lyrics and instrumental composure.
Everything presented in this content is significantly higher advanced in comparison to the band's first release. Long gone are the hollow grunts that had little to no power behind them, in place are a talented plethora of deep, sometimes elongated, pig squeals and bowl obliterating gutturals. Furthermore this time around, the lyrics are given proper annunciation and "Solar Neutrinos" even has fathomless spoken words. Wormed's technicality has skyrocketed in Exodromos in every instrument. Riky drums like a man not from this world, he incorporates a seemingly endless range of powerful beats and rhythms that are almost always coupled by double bass kicks; there are virtually zero standard drum patterns here and, refreshingly, no one-two blast beats either. There are an array of hi-hats and cymbal crashes that accent the background while the snare is being pummeled into oblivion, one begins to wonder if the drummer has a hidden set of extremities or a mechanical wrist implant. The guitars have everything one could possibly wish for in the perfect brutal death metal album; dissonant picking, one-string wonky bends, pick slides, all over the map heavy riffing, pinch harmonics, sweeps and even more. At some point in time, nearly every fret of the guitar and every technique brought to mind is used during the material. This, along with the use of innovative musical rests, truly creates a one-of-a-kind music experience that pleases every audible sensation that sound waves can touch. To top the content off, the album has been given an audio quality upgrade far surpassing that of Planisphærium, so everything is heard in crystal clear, high-definition endowment.
The most recognizable tracks on Exodromos consist of "Nucleon", "Tautochrone", "Stellar Depopulation", "Solar Neutrinos", "Techkinox Wormhole" and "Xenoverse Discharger". When breaking down some of the tracks listed, "Tautochrone" has the most impressive use of natural harmonics that are used in a descending fashion along the fret board and have never been heard of anywhere else prior to this recording. "Solar Neutrinos" is a simple track, without drums or technicality but instead spoken word lyrics and a stellar use of sci-fi ambiance that gives the album a much needed break from the overwhelming heaviness it carries to prevent the tracks from continually careening together. "Xenoverse Discharger" is the final track on the album and is much more atmospheric than the rest, the use of anomalous picking and light hammer ons/pull offs rather than hefty power chords leaves the track feeling lighter and more spacey. The track inevitably ends on the perfect set up to introduce "Tunnel of Ions", the first song from Planisphærium. The rest of the songs listed above have superior composure and make the most use out of the abrupt rests that are incorporated within this material, they always catch the listener by surprise even after multiple listens and are a great example of how rests can revitalize an album.
Exodromos is not only one of the greatest albums of the year, but one of the greatest brutal death metal albums of all time. The musical structures are some of the most innovative, creative, original pieces heard in a very long time; especially from its respective genre. The imagination behind the concept of the album is both intriguing and world shattering; you can imagine yourself floating through space and time utterly alone before you're sucked up into a quantum wormhole that will lead you through oblivion and into a cosmos unknown, full of death and despair. An absolute must hear, no exceptions. Get it from Willowtip in North America and Hammerheart Records in the UK on March 26th, 2013; the day your life will be forever changed.
Digital Download Provided by: Earsplit PR
- Villi Thorne