In terms of sheer heaviness and aggression, nothing really stands at quite the same level as the recent crop of hybrid bands who’ve thrown in just about everything considered too extreme by the masses. Be it the most grotesquely venomous streams of tonal dissonance supplied by the NYDM scene ala SUFFOCATION and company (and also their Canadian brethren CRYPTOPSY), the bludgeoning brutality of the more extreme elements of the Groove/Industrial bands of the late 90s, and the exaggerated musical Dadaism of several recent Grindcore acts, there is definitely a present drive towards brutality that almost forsakes any other convention of Metal as a whole. The extent to which this approach works well, in practice varies a bit, but largely it all tends to sound the same, with a few notable exceptions, and the Spanish purveyors of all things odd yet brutal WORMED is among them.
Ruthlessly unrelenting, blasting with the constancy of a perpetual supernova, and pounding out a varied set of primitive Death Metal riffs, “Planisphaerium” offers up an unusual dichotomy that most similar sounding bands tend to not suffer from. The overall sound rages with all the extremity of the most obnoxiously vulgar brutal acts around, yet the musical presentation has a slightly progressive tinge to it in spite of its formal simplicity, and the lyrics are quite a mind trip for anyone expecting the usual foray of gore and toilet humor. In spite of the band’s name, which would suggest a multitude of possible disgusting references to purging a human/animal’s digestive tract of some parasite, this is a highly intellectual endeavor that focuses heavily on biochemistry and astronomy.
Barring perhaps a somewhat lackluster drum production that somewhat resembles the dry, slightly popping character of CANNIBAL CORPSE’S “Butchered At Birth”; the entirety of this album is an astounding exercise in otherworldliness. The riff work is heavily focused on low slamming power chords, but also throws in these odd space-like elements at regular intervals which hit the senses like a cloud of primordial swamp gas. Add to it a rather unique vocal presentation that bridges the thin line between Lord Worm and a host of recent belchers and bellowing barkers of this style and is utterly unintelligible, and the word surreal falls just short of what is going on here. But perhaps the most telling part of this album is the unity of all parts involved; there aren’t any standout players to speak of here, save perhaps Phlegeton’s vocals, which act mostly to complement the sound of the album and require the album booklet in order for any lyrical content to be communicated, the entire listen is a uniform testament to strangeness.
Normally I don’t have a real attachment to this genre, but this album is something that I enjoy, though in small and occasional doses. Consumers of most current extreme Death Metal off shoots where loudness and heaviness rule will definitely find a fine addition to their collection here, and an esoteric one to boot. Whether your lyrical fetishes include elaborate and rhythmically well versed studies in the formation and destruction of planets and ecosystems or not, WORMED has brought an intellectual character to an otherwise simpleminded sub-genre and come out with a clear winner here.
(Online October 6, 2010)