Wormrot – Hiss [Things You Might Have Missed 2022]

Did y’all listen to Kronos? When that boy gets excited, you gotta give it a try—I know I have many times over the years, and back in 2016 that left me with Wormrot, even though it’s not hard to bait this Dolphin with a grind-crusted shrimp popper. Voices captured the raw power the Singaporean trio had to offer, a distillation of their screeched, gurgled, howled rage; an explosion of steel-toed riffs, twangy twists, sneaky melodicism; all backed by a pummeling and stick-snapping kit calamity. No frills, no solos, just bodies slamming and chopping around three men bleeding their frustrations through rhythm, loudness, and distortion. Here we are, six years later—life happens—but, thankfully, Hiss happens too.

Time—Hiss took even more time than Voices. For 21 tracks that span 33 minutes, six years? Well, unlike Wormrotߵs last outing, Hiss, in the spirit of the full-color rendering that garnishes the cover, is lush, which is not a word we often associate with the furious and grinding arts. Shattering and static-laden noise penetrates the already manic and tense builds that Wormrot piles into their concoctions that, on a dime, dip between bright, melodic, post-hardcore tinged refrains and full-weighted, hardcore breakdowns (“Your Dystopian Hell,” “Noxious Cloud”). Vijesh’s skins pound with full resonance through tribal moments that recall powerful Sepultura grooves before whiplash snare rolls take us back into thrashing, twanged-out trem runs (“Behind Closed Doors,” “Seizures”). Book-ended in the delicate drip of lightly rippling stream, Hiss threatens most frighteningly to be gentle in the face of its abrasive front.

Yet abrasive Hiss remains, a whetstone to shave and hone six strings, two sticks, two feet, one voice from racket to riot. Similar to an act like Totem SkinWormrot continues to straddle post-genre collision of bright lead lines against grimy, crust-bottomed tussles (“Voiceless Choir,” “Desolate Landscapes”). Sub 20-second blasts “Unrecognizable” and “Shattered Faith” erupt like lightning during a storm to raze the air before the impactful moments that follow. Suspiciously punk-handed offerings rupture against climbing nasal clamors (“Behind Closed Doors,” “Hatred Transcending”). And as if that simple urgency wasn’t Gridlink enough, Wormrot invited a guest to provide both a squealing violin death (“Grieve”) a distraught rebirth (“Weeping Willow”), and a fluvial, foiled conclusion(“Glass Shards”) to guide the turmoil of Hiss’ dramatic and more experimental back half, rich with histrionic post-hardcore melodic crescendos. 

Wormrot will never make another album like this one. Vocalist Arif emptied his tank to match every angle of attack that his bandmates put forth with Hiss—a frustrated family that shreds, screams, and cries as one. Six years from Voices to Hiss, fifteen from Wormrotߵs first demo—Arif decided to hang up his spurs surrounding the release of this album, one family to the next. Voices ensured that Wormrot put Singapore on the grindcore map; Hiss ensures that Wormrot will never be forgotten. Is it better? Well, if you didn’t listen to Kronos last time—like a fool—at least listen to your buddy Dolph and spin Hiss one or a dozen times. Your neighbors might regret it, but you won’t.

Tracks to Check Out: 1 through 21. It’s fuckin’ grind, just blow through it!!


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