Wormed - Krighsu CoverThe wait is finally over, slam nerds. If, like me, you have been long awaiting the next chapter in the story of Krighsu, the Terrax, and stellar depopulation in the year 8K, then fear not; the new Wormed album, Krighsu, is cresting over the pseudo-horizon, so it’s time to leave that geodesic dome and begin vortex mitosis.

If you don’t already know about the galaxy’s most absurd death metal band, let’s get you up to speed. Wormed formed in the late ’90s and soon released Planisphærium, an album that quickly canonized the group in the realm of technical/brutal death metal. Their compositions were haphazard and their riffing eclectic, but the sheer weight and energy of the album was undeniable. The band proceeded to wait ten years—until 2013—to release the follow-up Exodromos, and it took death metal by storm; soupy grooves, snare-heavy drumming and a ridiculous sci-fi storyline all swirled and sizzled into an slab that beat out Colored Sands as my favorite death metal album of that year. So for Kronos, this release is a big deal.

Wormed rip through riffs and time signatures like they’re going out of style, although I bet by 8K they’re pretty much all passe. Much like Exodromos, the first ten minutes of this disc are almost impossible to parse, and only repeated listens will key you in to where phrases and bars start and stop; essential knowledge for efficient headbanging. But Wormed know how to keep your attention across such difficult passages, and throw in moments of groove and experimentation when needed. “Necromorph Mankind” and “Agliptian Codex Cyborgization” feature very strange scraped and dead notes that rupture the darkflow of the quadrivium and increase the eklipsis vorticity of spacetime tenfold.

Krighsu becomes gracefully less dense as it continues, culminating in an almost song—like finale, “Molecular Winds.” It closes the album much more energetically than “Xenoverse Discharger” did Exodromos, despite its reliance on the same fade-out. This song, along with “The Singulatarianism” and “Eukaryotic Hex Swarm” introduce some foreboding orchestration, with horns carrying an almost siren-like melody over what has to be the simplest guitar passage Wormed could bear to put to tape. There’s also a much greater use of sound manipulation in Krighsu than in previous albums, with entire tracks devoted to experimenting with abstract atmosphere.

Sonically, this is a Wormed album through and through, wet and dominated by massive distortion and Phlegeton’s saturated, soupy roars. Drummer G-Calero remains exemplary, and his snare work more complex than ever, twisting off rolls and blast beats back to back as the band ricochet from riff to riff. The bass, tuned down to the resonant frequency of a covered bridge, manifests itself only through a string of cardiac events as it ransacks the human chest cavity; I could tab this whole album with a deaf guy and an EKG.

Wormed 2014

My fanboyism of Wormed notwithstanding, there are a few issues with this album as a whole. Although it feels very cohesive, even more so than Exodromos, the riffs in general fall just short of where I’d like them to be. One of the strengths of the last album was that each riff struck a balance between technicality and kineticism, and these riffs often fall too far towards the technical. Yet after a few weeks of enjoying this album, I’ve come to like the more technical songs just as much as those from Exodromos. As scattershot as these tracks are, a few listens will unravel them enough to really stick in your memory, and the true value of Wormed become obvious. This is a band that refuses to lift off the accelerator, constantly swerving at whiplash-inducing speed through four and a half spatial dimensions.

With KrighsuWormed has proven not only that they can consistently write and perform some of the most complicated and inconcievably heavy death metal that ever was, but more importantly that it’s still possible for a death metal band to sound like nobody else on the planet. Whether you like it or not, the band’s writing and production are unmistakable. It’s telling that my biggest complaint about Krighsu isn’t really about the album itself, but the lack of a lyric sheet in the promo materials from Season of Mist. Fans will know that nothing quite compares to Wormed‘s lyrics, which combine the pseudo intellectual syllable hoarding of slam with (with all due respect) some of the most ridiculous high concept sci-fi rigamarole ever to grace the galaxy, all composed by a man whose understanding of the English language seems informed entirely by /r/VXjunkies. I’ll have to wait until somebody posts the lyrics online to spend a week on a futile attempt to parse the album’s story, but it’s a torment that I am sure I can endure.

Rating: 4.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Media Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Season of Mist
Websites: wormed.net | facebook.com/wormed |wormed.bandcamp.com
Releases WorldwideMarch 18th, 2016

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    These guys must be exceptionally absurd to out-weird Psudoku. Definitely checking this one out!

    • Tom Hardy

      If you haven’t heard of Wormed period, I recommend going through their discography in the order of their various releases. Debut, EP, follow up and finally – this. Although, Voxel Mitosis is heavy as hell, that’s a hard one to find.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        Making my way through in said order! Thanks for the recommendation. And hot damn Planetarisk Sudoku is good. God bless Norway

        • Tom Hardy

          I recall a time when I went years pushing away a band that went by the name Meshuggah. I’d heard of em, never having the urgency to listen to them. It didn’t help that everyone was jumping on them at the time, especially the kind of people I loathed. Ergo I robbed meself of years of listening to quality music and today I consider them to be among the top 5/10 favorite bands of all time. So, while there’s air in your lungs, there’s never a bad time to start listening to or checking out a band. Go for it when you feel the time’s right.

          Thought I’d mention that Exo and the EP and (possibly the new album) are a lot more accessible for new fans. So take your time mate and have fun with em.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            I’ll be honest, I hopped on the Meshuggah train exceptionally late. I remember someone showing me ‘Bleed’ when I was still but a youngin’ and I was bored to tears. Years passed and i’m now in the same boat as you in regards to my opinion on the band. Though, I think my biggest stumble was pushing Death aside because I thought they’d sound old and boring.

            And Wormed sound right up my alley. Been jamming Exo and the EP all day. Looking forward to giving Planisphaerium a spin!

          • Westpaceagle

            Also never jumped on the Meshuggah train. Heard a bit back in the day and it didn’t resonate. For some reason the prog element just doesn’t hit home for me. I can’t explain it- Death, or Opeth prog elements work for me, but other bands not so much. Not sure if this is related but I cannot stand Rush, and somehow I heard something in Meshuggah that reminded me of that vibe. But I respect their following and will give them another listen. Any recommendations as far as best albums?

          • Kronos

            There aren’t any really accessible meshuggah albums. Our sins for that matter. I’d check out Koloss, as it’s their least experimental album, and also Nothing, which is really the beginning of their modern sound.

          • AlphaBetaFoxface

            Meshuggah aren’t exactly the easiest band to digest. I hated Catch ThirtyThree the first time I listened to it. I agree with Kronos that Koloss is a good starting point, then basically work your way backwards. Koloss, ObZen, Catch ThirtyThree, I EP, Nothing, Chaosphere, skip to Contradictions Collapse, then to Destroy Erase Improve. I swapped the last two albums because Contradictions Collapse isn’t very good, and it will make your appreciation of DEI increase twofold. The band has two really awesome live albums too that are definitely worth a look. Their best albums are in my opinion, Chaosphere, Destroy Erase Improve, Catch ThirtyThree, and ObZen in that order, but the band as a very consistent track record so your mileage may vary.

          • Westpaceagle

            Killer, thanks ABF! I found its worth giving truly talented groups a second go, this seems like one of them. I mean, even shit bands have a following, but Meshuggah gets serious critical acclaim. To be honest it took me a while to hear Death but when it clicked it really clicked. Thanks again!

  • Tom Hardy

    Have high hopes, big fan here. I’ve read the glowing review and I’m going to wait for my pre-order LP to arrive before I listen to it and make a call.

    Hope I’m understanding you right, outside of the lack of a lyric sheet given with the promo, the only downside was you expected more from the songs (as stated in the second to last para). How do you compare Krighsu with Planisphærium?

    • Kronos

      I’m not a huge fan of Planaespherium, actually, but exodromos was great and this is approximately as good.

      • Tom Hardy

        Understood. I consider Plana to be their best musically and it sounds a lot more alien~esque than Exo plus the drumming was insane. It’s one of those, and I hate to bring Vin Diesel into this but it’s like racing his Dodge Charger against that 94 Toyota Supra Walker had for the lack of a better analogy for Plana and Exo.

        • Kronos

          I would agree that it’s much stranger, but I don’t think it really has great songs like exodromos.

  • Schmitzel

    ” I could tab this whole album with a deaf guy and an EKG.” Pure fucking gold, and right on point. Not a big fan of the style but this is ridiculously impressive.

    Thanks for the excellent review, Kronos!

  • Luke_22

    Great review. Maybe it’s just me but Planisphærium didn’t really move me (the terrible snare sound didn’t help) , but Exodromos is an absolute masterwork. I’m on my early spins of this so far and no doubt it will take longer to absorb but it’s also pretty impressive from the get-go.

  • Thatguy

    Thanks Kronos. Cool review and I’ve been looking forward to this too.

  • Name’s Dalton

    The shit you wrote in this review was wackadoodle.

    And I dig that about you, man!

    This album rips.

  • Bart the Repairman

    Could you explain how exactly this sounds like ‘nobody else one the planet’? I’m not familar with this band and the embedded track sounds just like a regular brutal-death to me (yup, it’s funny as hell and seems like a perfect tool for fucking with my neighbors, but… nothing really revolutionary). Anyway, if their previous record really ‘beat out Colored Sands as [your] favorite death metal album of that year’, I feel obliged to check’em out.

    • Kronos

      If you aren’t very familiar with brutal death in general, Wormed might not sound that original, but the tone of pretty much every instrument in a Wormed song is a lot thicker and wetter than even most other slam bands. Their writing is also kind of odd in that they use more obvious chord progressions and their songs come off as more melodic than other brutal death bands. Their use of electronics is out of the ordinary, and Calero uses a lot of snare rolls and plays much more in the pocket than you’d expect.

      • Bart the Repairman

        And that’s what I like about this blog: you can get a specific, substantial response in no-time. Priceless. Thank you!

  • Brother Ben

    Freak, this sounds really interesting. Does anyone else feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the new stuff? Most of the time I just want to crank Testament and Death, but I feel this pressure to keep up. Especially knowing a guy as busy as Tom Hardy can keep up! Haha you guys at AMG are freaking incredible!

    • tomasjacobi

      I often get a bit stressed with finding time to listen to all the exciting new stuff and some albums fall through the cracks because I never get the time to let them grow on me.
      Having said that, I’m ridiculously excited to listen to this album. I just got a notice from the postal service and my LP/CD pre-order is set to be delivered today.

    • Kronos

      This year’s release schedule is absolutely nuts.

      • Brother Ben

        I remember you saying in the Yer Metal Is Olde segment on Symbolic that you have a “fear of back-catalogues.” Mine is the opposite; I tend to avoid new releases as I suffer from a severe case of golden age thinking, similar to *ahem* Steel Druhm *ahem*. However, since discovering this site I have learned that there is decent metal still being made, which means I must overcome my aversion to modern metal.

        • How dare you?! If this was the golden age of 1772 I’d challenge you to a duel!

          • Brother Ben

            Brandish your Flintlock, plebeian!

          • No dice. Tomahawks all day long!

        • Kronos

          It’s very true; for whatever reason I’m always hesitant to go back in time once I find a band that I like. luckily, Wormed doesn’t have much of a back catalog, so it’s a quick trip.

          • Brother Ben

            I always listen to the first two or three albums and assume the rest suck (it’s dumb, I know). I guess I give AMG’S Law of Diminishing Recordings too much value

        • Westpaceagle

          This site has totally revitalized my love/passion/obsession of metal to absurd and fiscally irresponsible levels. For years I was firmly ensconced in my comfy-but-getting-tired collection of big 4 thrash and SWBM. Now I find some new band or back catalogue to obsess over on a daily basis. One example is discovering Those Once Loyal from Bolt Thrower. For 2 days I have been alternately fist pumping to this record then feeling ashamed of my metal cred for having missed this for so long. And the examples are plenty. Keep it coming AMG!

          • Brother Ben

            SAME-I served a mission in Jamaica, so I was away from metal for two years. I found this site as I was trying to re-integrate myself into the metal world when I came back. There is a lot that I missed and then a bunch of metal I totally ignored from the late 2000’s-early 2010’s

  • AngryMetalBird

    I can’t wait for the 18th to come! also a great review, thanks!

  • Innit Bartender

    So they are like, the Magma of death metal?

    • Until the record comes out, then they’re Lava.

      • Innit Bartender

        Ugh. This is worse than being stabbed by a unicorn in your manly parts during a Jorn concert.

  • Jonny

    Excellent, can’t wait

  • Monsterth Goatom

    Like many here, I thought Exodromos was great. I love that deep, gurgly vocal style like in Lorna Shore and Disfiguring the Goddess.

    • Kronos

      Lorna shore’s vooclaist is extremely talented, and probably a big part of why I like the band so much. Come to think of it, they’re an abnormally talented bandin their genre; not that deathcore is bad, but everybody in that band has a very wide range, performance wise.

      • AlphaBetaFoxface

        When I saw Lorna Shore live with Archspire and Fallujah, they easily outperformed the competition. Hot damn can they play, and the vocalist’s stage presence is absolutely demented.

  • Lucas Lex DeJong

    SciFi slam has to be my favourite subset of metal, after listening to albums like “Preemptive Space Warfare” and “The Seventh Planet of the Infected Cygnus System”.