posted on 4/2011 By:
Singaporean grindcore act Wormrot was picked up by Earache for their last record – 2009’s Abuse, which achieved the band’s stated purpose of grandly celebrating classic grind whilst bringing nothing new to the table. That disc was a dedicated homage to the earliest efforts of grind luminaries like Napalm Death and S.O.B., performed with ample skill and passion, and Dirge is no different – it’s eighteen minutes and twenty-five songs long, all of them rife with blastbeats, simple-but-furious riffing, and a duel high-low vocal attack.
Dirge opens with the clanging noisy plod of “No One Gives A Shit,” which is instrumental and (ahem) dirge-y, save the last two seconds, wherein Arif screams the title over a sudden surge of blastbeating. From there the album is mostly relentless in tempo, with a few carefully placed respites in the midtempo first half of “Evolved Into Nothing” and the killer groovy riffing of “Deceased Occupation.” Sonically, the album is raw but not rough and thankfully not oppressive – the guitars are given a suitable biting crunch, but they’re not overly massive; the drums are live, but not trashcan-y or unduly ringing; everything has room to breathe. Syid’s riffing is simple, at times hinting at thrash (“Compulsive Disposition”) and sometimes outside the norm (again, “Deceased Occupation”), but mostly just the punk-indebted standard power-chording, although neither he nor drummer Fit are sloppy – one thing Wormrot does to separate themselves from the punk-rooted chaos of their influences is simply tighten up and add an element of precision to their punch. Lyrically, the band sticks to the political themes prevalent on Abuse, with a few titles that hint at scene-baiting (“All Go No Emo” and “Your Butt Krieg Is Showing”). (Wormrot’s Scum-era Napalm Death homage goes one step further with the four-second “You Suffer But Why Is It My Problem,” 400% longer in both verbiage and time than the song from which its point is taken.) By the time the closing duo of “A Dead Issue” and the thrashing instrumental “The Final Insult” rolls around, the listener has been blasted and grinded (err... ground?) thoroughly, and the slower pace of those final two tracks allows a moment of reflection upon the raw violence that came before, and then Dirge is over and done.
Wormrot has the formula down – their retrospective take on grindcore has oddly put them towards the forefront of modern grind, and I’ve seen this one praised as the grind album of the year in a few scattered places. While I don’t share quite that high of a level of enthusiasm for Dirge – Rotten Sound and Gridlink already top it, and there's talk of a new Brutal Truth to come – I do enjoy it greatly and recommend it heartily, especially to fans of classic grindcore who love their grind devoid of death and spazzy metalcore influence. And since Earache recently made some hubbub by giving it away for free, you certainly can’t beat it for the price…
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