Wormed
Exodromos

Wormed, Spain’s brutal purveyors of tech-death, have been gestating for about a decade before finally dropping Exodromos; the much-anticipated follow-up to their widely acclaimed 2003 debut, Planisphaerium.   Maybe it was my mindset at the time but their debut didn’t really move me in the way it rumbled the underground.    Not that it’s a bad album by any means, just not the masterpiece some claim it to be.  The good news is that Exodromos builds on the potential and trumps its predecessor by a considerable margin.    Despite the lengthy gap between releases, Exodromos sounds very much like the Wormed of old, albeit in a sharper, rejuvenated form.  The blueprint finds Wormed striking a strong balance between brutal death metal, complete with slamming groove parts, and its knotty tech-death counterpart.

Keeping in tune with their sci-fi lyrical themes and stunning, futuristic artwork, Exodromos is essentially a concept album.  Borrowed from their official website, the story goes something like this:  “Exodromos is a prequel of ‘Planisphaerium‘; the story tells about futuristic science concepts and chaotic visions of the last human left in cosmos, Krighsu. These are particularly in relation to the awakening of the “Chrym” once the last humans of the year 8K, called the Terrax, disappeared, and the known universe was absorbed by a quantum wormhole in an inverted multi-vectorial reionization. Krighsu will travel through xenoverses to found a new world with the human seed. The paradox: Krighsu is not the habitual human you all know.”

I’m not going to analyze these forward thinking concepts but I do appreciate the thought processes and dedication the band has put into cultivating these ambitious ideas into their sound.   Whether or not you choose to buy into the lyrical themes, Wormed do a great job creating a futuristic edge to their music.   An otherworldly, almost inhuman vibe is built through dissonant, mind-bending compositions, atmospheric touches and a sharp, highly technical approach.   The cold, clinical tones don’t sacrifice the warmer, human element at play and the production combines slicing sharpness with a beefier overall crunch. That endlessly irritating snare tone from the debut has been rectified and some of the overtly bullfrog-isms of the vocals have been slightly refined whilst remaining on the guttural (and one-dimensional) side of the equation.

Although the stellar production and stunning musicianship immediately stands-out, it’s the song-writing that lifts this album to another level of excellence.    Obviously playing incredibly fast, brutal and intricate death metal is the key agenda, but Wormed realize the importance of crafting interesting arrangements, mixing-up tempos and employing some punishing slam parts to give the material a catchier element and greater replay value.  With this they succeed in spades.  Sure it’s not quite Gorod or Sophicide levels of catchiness, but there are ample moments of crushing groove and techy ‘wow’ moments that stick in the memory bank.   Plus, fans of brutal death will enjoy Wormed’s chunkier, guttural delivery.

Numerous musical ideas and notes are crammed into each song, but the seamless execution ensures the structures flow in a simultaneously smooth and unpredictable manner without becoming too convoluted.   With the odd exception aside, the songs are generally sculpted into concise three and-a-bit minute timeframes.  This is another aspect of Exodromos the band gets right.  It’s a fine line with this dense style of highly technical, brutal death metal not to overcook the songs until they become monotonous or impenetrable.  Wormed have found the right balance through varied arrangements and by cutting the package down to a lean 33-minutes.   Opener “Nucleon” lays down some tight grooves, manic blasts and off-kilter rhythms in a tidy start to the album.   “The Nonlocality Trilemma” skilfully juggles supreme technical chops with gut-churning brutality and groove.   The dazzling, jazz-infected rhythms of the brutally warped “Spacetime Ekleipsis Vorticity”; the chunky double bass and stop-start rhythms of the short but sweet “Darkflow Quadrivium”; and the dizzying complexity and slamming grooves of “Techkinox Wormhole” are several other standouts in a fairly consistent offering.  Only the atmospheric spoken word meandering of “Solar Neutrinos” borders on the disposable.

With Exodromos, Wormed have delivered a tight, futuristic juggernaut of brutal, technical death metal.  And although their highly complex, choppy and bruising brand of death metal may not appeal to some listeners, for those inclined, Exodromos shapes as one of the benchmark death metal releases of the year.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
March 28th, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: krustster

    Great review! I’d been looking forward to this album for literally a decade, as I was totally obsessed with Planisphaerium when it came out. I was a little disappointed with it at first because it wasn’t as “slammy” as the last one, but it’s grown on me and now I feel like it was almost (key word ALMOST) worth the 10 year wait. I hope they get on a more regular releasing schedule now!


  2. Commented by: E. Thomas

    This is way better than the over revered debut. this and katalepsy are kicking my ass. good review


  3. Commented by: krustster

    The debut album is so heavy though! Also yeah the Katalepsy tape is incredible,,


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