Worm - Evocation of the Black Marsh 01Iron Bonehead doesn’t do nice. With more goats in their stable than a petting zoo, their outfits strive for all things nasty, brutish, and Satanic. What’s a poser to do when confronted with such trveness? Worm couldn’t care less. In their mind, it’s still 1994: if your metal doesn’t sound like it was recorded on tape strung through Satan’s butt crack, no dinner and 666 lashes for you, buster brown. Even the cover looks as if it would fit better on a cassette than a digipak. The minds behind this unsurprisingly enigmatic outfit thrive in discomfort and proffer a grating, sickening brand of black metal not for the faint of heart. Welcome to their debut, Evocation of the Black Marsh.

Every aspect of Evocation oozes atmosphere. The insidious black riffs; the overt inclusion of dragging doom elements; the chaotic war metal feel; Worm ensure not a minute goes by without furthering the sense of dread and disgust their music inspires. Evocation draws lines back to Darkthrone in its aesthetic, if not its execution. The brain trust of Fantomslaughter and Equimanthorn forgo stock monotony for a thicker, slower route, opting for techniques that play up their atmospheric ethos over blistering tremolos and head-snapping blasts. The Floridians divert the sinister rumbling of intro “Altar of Black Sludge” — an apt name if I’ve ever heard one — into “Winged Beast of the Phantom Crypt,” a pulsing expression of malice. The track exemplifies Worm‘s ability to carve individual elements out of what otherwise might be a wall of pure noise. Classic vibes of Black Sabbath spice up its back half before “Gravemouth” takes the baton and drags it through the mud. The song opens with a gargantuan plod, exploring an alternate universe where Sleep shared a practice space with the boys from Birmingham.

These bone-crunching elements play their part well on “Gravemouth,” “The Slime Weeps,” and in general across the record. Atmosphere is their goal, and atmosphere they do provide. Worm further their effort by including elements that ensure that Evocation sounds far from one note. “Rotting Semblence” utilizes backing chords that extend a grand Bathoryean effect to the ambiance, adding a layer that could pass as symphonic (through a squint and a head turn). On the whole, these additions might have impacted the record positively, if the duo could elevate their riffs to match. Instead, Evocation comes up short in that crucial department. It crunches like sludge doom, crackles like Fenriz’s garage, and carries a swampy malignancy that at least registers with enough character to escape total worthlessness. But what’s the get? I can note only one or two instances where Worm shook me out of the general malaise their offering inspires. Their occasional bursts of activity, like on the varied “Evil in the Mire” and “Rotting Semblance,” barely make an impact when filtered through the album’s nightmare production.

Worm - Evocation of the Black Marsh 02

Speaking of which, at no point does Evocation come close to modern production standards. I’m aware this is completely intentional, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Even the rare moments when the record finds a bit of clarity, such as the ritualistic tones at the heart of the title track, fall on the low end of acceptability. The guitars glom onto everything around them, the “drums” produce more static than percussion, and the whole thing is bricked so totally that foobar spits out DR 0’s for most songs.1 Transitions often occur “naturally,” which is to say without polish. “Gravemouth” pads out the ending with 25 seconds of dead air, while three other tracks run through several seconds of dead air before starting.  I somewhat understand the underlying motive of this,2 but on an objective scale, this record is still the aural equivalent of fresh-skimmed Florida trash juice.

I had hoped for more from an act crowned with such a kingly name. In many ways, Worm delivered the record that I expected, checking off both positives and negatives while disregarding as many production conventions as they can. I suspect there’s a real record in here somewhere, under all the bullshit. If your tastes align with those of the dastardly duo, Evocation of the Black Marsh may sate your swampy Satanic desires. Those looking for a more cut-and-dry slab of black metal will have to keep looking.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 0-6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Websites: deepdarkearth.com
Releases Worldwide: September 29th, 2017

Show 2 footnotes

  1. This could be a glitch, but I suspect Worm would take it as a compliment.
  2. As much as I understand people who paint their cars puke green and put paisley wallpaper in their bathrooms.
Share →
  • Westpaceagle

    Checking this out immediately

  • GardensTale

    This sounds like it was carved on a slab of rock and played back with a knitting needle into a tin can attached by an unbent coathanger to a tuning fork near a Nokia 3310 on record. Fuck this.

    • When I read the review, I knew I would never want to hear this. However, your description is fascinating, I need to know what that would sound like. God help me.

      • Dr. Wvrm

        I meant to add in a line about it sounding like it was streamed from Fenriz’s garage, circa 1994, via soup cans and time traveling string but I forgot. Somehow, I don’t think my review shit on the production hard enough.

        • I dunno, this is pretty well written: “sound like it was recorded on tape strung through Satan’s butt crack”. I also agree 100% with your description of the album cover.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      I thought that was the point of the genre lol

    • sir_c

      Or they took a goat skull and used a corkscrew as recording needle?

  • Choodi

    Yeah, that was shit. Who the fuck listens to this trash? If you want lo-fi black metal, then there are a million better options out there.

  • Manoj

    Gothdamn I love it when there’s a black metal release one after it other. Fuck damn I hate when they end up with the quality of 1/5 one after the other.

  • Kronos

    I think it’s not the master here that’s super bricked but the recording was done really, really poorly. Pretty much every note is chipping and it sounds like they were just maxing out the mics constantly during recording.

    • sir_c

      I don’t understand, they took an expensive KitchenAid blender to do the mixing.

  • Grymm

    That production… oww.

  • The Akerstache

    Ooh I love that guitar tone! I see they used the always classic Line 6 Spider in the blender technique!

  • Jim Bob

    Pretty much what I’ve come to associate with Iron Bonehead at this point.

  • Nukenado

    Beaten to Death have a new record incoming.

    That’s about all I have to contribute.
    Going under DR4 is unreasonable unless you’re Perturbator.

    • RuySan

      Even Perturbator should hear the gospel of the benefits of high DR

      • Nukenado

        True, but electronica doesn’t really scream “GIVE ME BREATHING SPACE”.

    • HeavyMetalHamster

      FUCK YEAH PERTURBATOR

  • Alexandre Barata

    Just this “at no point does Evocation come close to modern production standards”. It’s even worse than that, it seems it has no production whatsoever, although it was twitched to sound louder, as in no Darkthrone demo you have the Dynamics so squashed. So they didn’t care to pay for someone to record it properly, but lost the time mastering the piece of (shity) art, to make it sound even worse. Great job guys

  • Real music fan

    Aaannnd yet again we have a bunch of moron fanboy loser elitists referencing dynamic range of mp3s. Omfg
    You people make me sick.youre so fking ignorant. Maybe try listening to the actual recordings on a real system. You have no fucking idea what the real dr is. Lmfao. Perturbater has a dr of 10 on my system. U poor little kids.

    • Ivan E. Rection

      Chill out. The album sounds like crap, simple as that. All your angst and name calling is giving my middle finger a stiffy.

    • Nukenado

      “Perturbater has a dr of 10 on my system.”
      Blew your cover there. There’s a level of stupidity that cannot be achieved without trolling, and that’s claiming Perturbator has high DR.

      Sorry buddy. Game’s over.

      • GardensTale

        Real Music Fan. Really No Spelling Fan.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Real Music Fan… lol
      Thanks for stopping by numbnuts.

    • Dr. Wvrm

      Maybe try listening to the actual recordings period. The DRs are indicative of a much larger problem with this record, that being that it sounds like poopoo. The fact that it spit out 0s is both unheard of and quite funny, so I highlighted that fact, but it could have a DR of 10 and still sound like the wreck that it is.

      • Nukenado

        “The fact that it spit out 0s is both unheard of and quite funny,”

        That statement means you haven’t tried (as in “pressed play”) the aural cocktail that is Typhonian Wormholes: Indecipherable Antistructural Formulae. You should remedy that posthaste.
        I’m really, really trustworthy

        • ToddRob64

          I sense no sarcasm here and am immediately going to check this out post haste…… although that lovely chap above called us all “poor little kids” so maybe I can’t fathom sarcasm either

          • Nukenado

            Your comment was five minutes ago, so maybe I’m too late…
            I’ll pay your medical bills. This is too much guilt even for me.

          • Nukenado

            Please don’t sue me though

          • ToddRob64

            WOW, just wow. I shouldn’t of tried being such a smartarse

          • Nukenado

            I’m so sorry. I hope you recovered.

        • GardensTale

          Thing is, Tetragrammacide (who have a new release incoming!) just sounds like white noise, while this is painfully piercing. I’d rather take a belt sander to my ear than ram an ice pick down the canal, if you know what I mean.

          • Nukenado

            I hear ya. Bad pig squeals are better than bad power metal vocals.

            But both are DR0, and I wanted to be a huge asshole…
            Now I feel a bit of guilt though now that ToddRob seems to have been unresponsive for 12 minutes…

            I need Steely as my defense lawyer. I don’t wanna get homicide charges.

    • sir_c

      My ears just can’t stand this much br00talness and trveness in fidelity. Also, the cat got shitscared and ripped my curtains when I started this video.

    • Yeah, that’s not the way to make your point, kid.

  • Wilhelm

    That was a generous score

  • SoLeftISeeRight
  • John Mosley

    It sounds like a used diaper filled with Indian food It sounds like a turd covered in burnt hair. It sounds like Bigfoot’s dick.

  • If you made it through the entire record, then you are a brave man, Dr. This crap literally hurts. 0.0 from me.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    When you say that you get that the terrible sound is intentional… I think you are being too generous.. I can’t hear any level of competency that would suggest they even have the faintest clue what they’re doing… Sorry boys its a big fat 0.0 for me.

  • PretentiousFuckwad

    I don’t know what ya’ll are talking about. This song is trve kvlt af. I haven’t heard shit this dank since dark throne.

    A unicorning would have been nice.

  • Deron Baker

    They finally uploaded the entire album to bandcamp. Bought it after my first full listen. Initial impression is 3 1/2 out of 5. Just my gut reaction to the album. I appreciate the more subtle and slower tempo to some of the songs, instead of all out pummeling (which wouldn’t work with this level of production quality). Still, a bit more quality to the recording could have helped while still retaining the atmosphere and artistic vision of their project. Raw and gritty is a continuum. It doesn’t have to be quite this raw.

  • Deron Baker

    They finally uploaded the whole album to bandcamp. Bought it after my first full listen. Initial impression is 3 out of 5. Just my gut reaction to the album. I appreciate the more subtle and slower tempo to some of the songs, instead of all out pummeling (which wouldn’t work with this level of production quality). Still, a bit more quality to the recording could have helped while still retaining the atmosphere and artistic vision of their project. Raw and gritty is a continuum. It doesn’t have to be quite this raw.