So…grindcore. Not my area of expertise, to be frank. And yet, even I know that in the past year or so, some really quality grindcore has come to surface, from bands like Phobia, Magrudergrind, Kill The Client. Wormrot play pissed off, politically-charged grindcore that smashes your face in, all in the space of 23 songs or 22 minutes. For a grind album, that’s pretty much a concept album already. Oh, and in case you hadn’t heard, Wormrot are from the tiny Southeast Asian island of Singapore.
Singaporeans don’t have much to complain about. Their streets are painfully clean, their public transport is infallibly precise, they have one of the highest GDPs in the region. Their corporations compete in worldwide arenas, their international airport is gorgeous. They are multi-cultural, their people are children of the world.
Of course, scratch the surface and you find worms in every apple. Sure, Singapore is flashy and ultra-modern, but their ruling government is effectively a one-party dictatorship. Political dissidents in the past have been jailed and habeas corpus habitually ignored. Their streets are practically sterile because the penalty for littering is one step below hanging. You can’t even bring chewing gum into the damn country, for crying out loud! A goodly proportion of their high-rise flats are slums on stilts. And the Malay race (which the three dudes in Wormrot are members of), unlike in neighbouring Malaysia, are the ethnic minority, and by all accounts, they have a pretty shit time of it in political and economic terms.
In the restrictive claustrophobia that is Singapore comes this raging trio full of spit and venom. As mentioned before, they race through ABUSE in just under 22 minutes high on a cocktail of youthful righteousness and vitriol. You don’t have to know what they’re singing to appreciate the sentiment and power behind the screeches and growls, the jackhammer death/grind riffs and the flurry of kick drums and snares. And when your neck starts to beg forgiveness, they end abruptly in a crash of cymbals.
Speed, speed, speed. Rage, rage, rage. Grind, grind and more grind. End.
It’s simply a remarkable grind album with tinges of old school brutal death metal, flashes of melody where you least expect it. The album sounds fantastically organic, about as far away from triggered drum-machine-esque modern death metal as you can get. If you pay attention, you can pick up the slight variations in the strength of the drum hits, especially when drummer Fit is going at warp speed. The guitars are powerful, single riff monsters that owe so much to Napalm Death, Cephalic Carnage, and Skinless – the riffs groove and unwind and pummel, while the twin vocal attack is ferociously employed.
The album is not remarkable because it comes from a Singaporean band (after all, the country that produced the mighty As-Sahar and Abhorer, and was the birthplace of the legendary Impiety). There is a recognisable, tangible attitude that is belligerent in style but subtle in projection. Although they now have the label backing of Earache, they have gotten to where they are now through sheer hard work and major truckloads of balls. Support a band from a traditionally un-metal part of the world, treat your ears to some ABUSE.
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