Wormrot - Hiss
Jul 10, 2022
95
PHENOMENAL

Wormrot are one of my favorite grindcore bands. I haven't done a comprehensive ranking in a long time, but just based on Voices alone, I would've easily slotted them somewhere in my top 10 alongside bands like The Locust, Rotten Sound, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, Terrorizer, Pig Destroyer, Cattle Decapitation, and I guess Anaal Nathrakh if you consider them grind but I usually categorize them as primarily black metal despite the notable grind influence. They're simply one of the most vicious "mainstream" grindcore bands at the moment; they're not really gimmicky or overcomplicated. Hiss in particular is no different from pretty much all grindcore in that it thrives on a constant, unending assault of instrumental action, but what DOES set it apart from the rest is just how dynamic it is. It's sometimes hard for me to review grind because there's not a lot you can say about the music outside of the general sound, because for the most part, a grind album's tracklist is almost an afterthought. The songs are just continuations of the album's overall energy and they don't feature any crazy standout moments or unexpected highlights. And that's not even a bad thing, considering how short these albums tend to be. But standing at a relatively whopping 32 minutes, Hiss feels way more structured and varied than most of its contemporaries. The songwriting is fantastic and propulsory, the opposite of one-note. While Wormrot don't shy away from the conventions of the genre--Hiss isn't trying to turn grindcore on its head or anything--they refuse to phone in a single track and they successfully keep you on your toes for the whole runtime. The riffage is more creative than some other grind albums, making Hiss a fairly accessible record to check out if you're not familiar with the genre. The percussion is also much more than the same blastbeats over and over again.

It's nice to check out a new, pure grindcore album. I feel like I haven't been listening to a lot of recent releases from the genre, which is partially my fault, though I also kinda feel like there haven't been that many interesting or notable new grind bands so far in the 2020's. The 2010's had a shitton of cool bands, but even they were stepping into the territories of powerviolence, noisecore, deathgrind, and whatever experimental genre they wanted to add into the mix to separate themselves from the rest of the scene. Even Wormrot did that in the past with their fantastic 2016 record Voices, which dabbled with emoviolence and blackened screamo a fair amount. I'll make it clear I don't think that's a bad thing. Experimentation is cool and with a genre like grindcore, I understand why people sometimes feel a need to make changes to keep it interesting, because the foundation of the sound isn't exactly built to support what modern music listeners expect from songwriting. But sometimes people fail to realize that you don't have to tinker with or abandon a genre altogether just to stand out. Hiss proves that all you need is creativity, and your compositions will rise above the rest. I'm going to check out Bandcamp and see what recent grindcore albums are sounding like, because maybe I'm missing something, but at this moment it feels clear to me that Wormrot--when it comes to the most well-known bands in the scene, at least--are simply a cut above the rest.

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FOR FANS OF: Discordance Axis, Gadget, Rotten Sound, Nasum, Insect Warfare, Magrudergrind, Cloud Rat

Favorite tracks: Behind Closed Doors; When Talking Fails, It's Time for Violence!; Your Dystopian Hell; Seizures; Voiceless Choir; Grieve; Desolate Landscapes; Vicious Circle; Weeping Willow; Glass Shards

Least favorite tracks: none

(Grindcore, occasional Screamo-adjacent moments)

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