Released: 2016, Cimmerian Shade Recordings
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
WORMS, the sophomore release from Barcelona’s Barbarian Swords is a prime example of a good album that could’ve been great with the help of an editor.
Touting themselves as “True Nihilist Black Doom Metal” (say that three times fast), the fellas do an affable job of mashing up abrasively raw old school black metal with brutish, funeral leaning doom inclinations. Sounding like the unholy offspring of Messiah-era Mayhem and the creeping horror of Cough, it’s a fugly sonic collision for sure. But lurching out of the gates, tunes like “I’m Your Demise”, “Outcast Overlords”, and “Total Nihilism” are defiantly strong and seethe with a kind of primordial vengeance that you totally want to root for.
But many of the tunes either end up overstaying their welcome or seem unclear of what the band’s ultimate direction is. You’ve got around a solid half an hour’s worth of music dedicated to war, blasphemy, and nihilism, only to be met with a pair of questionable tracks with lyrics like “Feel my present in your behind” and “Eat my cock”. It’s hard to continue to take a band seriously when their lyrics read like they were written by an imaginative virgin during their junior high homeroom class. Misogyny aside, WORMS suffers from too many riffs being traded between tunes and a lack of awareness of when the party’s over and it’s time to say goodnight. The album closes with a set of lengthy epics that reset the entire tone of the album. Pair “Requiem” and “Ultrasado Bloodbath” with a couple of the lead-in tracks and Barbarian Swords would’ve STILL had a full length album’s worth of material and with much better continuity.
Shoulda, coulda, woulda – unfortunately, that’s not what you get with WORMS. Barbarian Swords offer plenty of hints at what their ultimate agenda is, and during the moments on WORMS when they can agree on what that is, it’s an enjoyable collection of unpolished heaviness. WORMS is an album that has its moments, but having to be proactive in finding those moments may be more than casual listeners are willing to commit.