Everyone jokes about Florida because, well, it’s Florida. Bugs Bunny had the right idea when he tried to saw that bastard off the country to have it sail off to wherever. But at the same time, heavy metal owes a fuck ton to that silly state with the legendarily terrible governor (one in a long line of them) as the swamps gave birth to some of the heaviest, gnarliest bands in history, so, thanks?
We must be nice to the Sunshine State again because they’ve now puked up Worm, a misery-inducing, doom-glazed death band that is bellying up to our table with their great third record (and first released domestically) “Foreverglade.” Slithering over six tracks and about 43 minutes, the band—Phantom Slaughter handles vocals and multiple instrumental duties, Nihilistic Manifesto offers guest guitar work, L. Dusk plays drums on a session basis, and Equimathorn provides added synth—buries you in the grotesque and wondrous, creating music that should absolutely sicken you but also provides a mental stimulation that makes your nerves tingle. It’s hard to explain, so you’re probably better off experiencing the thing for yourself and see what perverse journey it provides.
The album opens with the title track, a gloomy, dour crusher that soaks in misery and pain with the vocals sounding like they’re trying to gut themselves. The track opens and chugs, punishing as a doom fog thickens and helps wilt every living thing, playing with your senses until the thing ends in smoke. “Murk Above the Dark Moor” plods and pounds as shrieks explode, with the accompanying growls attempting to bury any sense of hope. Things feel spooky and unsettling as the pace picks up and brings violence, synth delivers thick moodiness, and the band then clobbers hard, cracking through the earth. Eerie keys chill blood while the leads glimmers, and the vocals surge and snarl to the end. “Cloaked in Nightwinds” runs 11:15, making it the longest cut on here. The track mashes and squeezes blood from your veins, and the terror builds like a plaque as the tempo starts to charge. The playing thrashes as a hazy synth cloud hovers and brings a cold shade, causing you to shiver out of control. The dueling shrieks and growls push and pull as things continue to gain momentum, slowly dripping chilling icy drops, draining until every fiber of life disappears.
“Empire of the Necromancers” starts with the riffs flexing and the growls hammering, ripping sheets of rust off corroded metal. The keys increase their presence as strong melodies stretch their enormous wings, and the playing gusts, taking on a strangely proggy vibe, picking up more speed, and thickening the emotional toll. A cavernous chill expands as the growls and shrieks unite and bury the song in filth. “Subaqueous Funeral” has guitars echoing and immersed in hallucinatory waters while the dual vocals rear their head again, creating sickness. There’s a balminess to melodies that make it feel like a chunky sweat is accumulating around your neck, the leads pick up some warmth, and the back of the cut scorches everything it picked up along the way. “Centuries of Ooze” closes the album with organs rising and a burly spirit hovering over this 9:48-long mauler. The feeling of dread spreads fast, crushing hard and aggressively, wrenching your tested muscles. It feels like the walls are melting around you as the ground rumbles, and solemn playing intensifies as guitars flourish, clean calls beckon, and the final moments bleed out into the sewers.
Trudging through “Foreverglade” definitely makes it feel like you’re picking webs and flies from your face as you sink deeper into the muck, wondering if you’ll ever breathe fresh air again. But Worm also pack their music with funeral-style doom that can feel elegant in anyone else’s hands, but with this band, it clogs with impenetrable grime. This is an adventure into darkness that is immersive and intriguing but also leaves you feeling like you’ve digested something your body is bound to reject.
For more on the band, go here: https://wormgloom.bandcamp.com/releases
To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/worm
For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/