Talk to any of my close friends and they will tell you how annoying it is for me to say, “I don’t listen to punk or hardcore anymore.” While that proof lies in my recent listens, which correlates here in my reviews, there are exceptions to every rule.
Sure, I love my classics. I love my Converge… my American Nightmare…my Isis- but overall, most modern punk, metal or hardcore doesn’t grab me the way it did when I was younger. And yeah sure, I may be jaded by having done the heavy music scene since I was thirteen years old and now I’m in my mid-twenties striving for progression…
But, sometimes you can take the boy out of the mosh, but not the mosh out of the boy.
Some things, they just stick with you…and in this case…it is heavy music.
Wormwood is a duo featuring current and ex-members of Doomriders, Cast Iron Hike and more playing monolithic, earth shaking, doom-tinged hardcore. Members of Converge, Trap Them, Cold Cave and more also helped with the artwork and recording of this album and it is being released by Magic Bullet Records. This pedigree surrounding and interlaced in this release, which if you know anything of these bands or labels, is so deep and rich in hardcore lineage, it would be surprising, no, shocking, for Wormwood not to be sharing some sonic territory with the aforementioned.
But the music: insert all of your synonyms for “crushing,” “heavy,” and “massive” here. It takes the duo of Chris Pupecki and Chris Bevilacqua only eighteen minutes and five songs to thoroughly develop a pessimistic, mostly midtempo, sludge driven medley of songs. Titles like “Hollow Black Eyes” and “I’d Rather Die,” are only a snap shot of what kind of dreary, down-tuned dirge listeners are getting themselves into. Fans of Eyehategod, Old Man Gloom and even Sunn O))) will appreciate what depths of depravity are reached on this album.
Production is fantastic, a result of being recorded all on analog formats, which is becoming a reoccurring trend in modern heavier music. Armed with severely overdriven guitars, thunderous drums and shouted vocals (and bass for recording purposes)- these guys make dissonance with loads of dynamics, which I am sure translates into the live realm as well. The additional use of feedback, ambience and non-conventional noise sources help supplement the songs and bring their dread even more to a punishing forefront from first feedback ridden crescendo to last fuzz infused fade out.
The mentions of lineage and friendship are indicative of the end product we are given here. It seems this release had all the right hands playing in it, some friendships I am sure go back many years. With all these creative minds together, a spectacular monument to modern nihilistic hardcore is erected. Proof that sometimes, no matter where you progress personally or what your friends think of their or your own musical tastes: if they are close enough to you, their influence, maybe without you even knowing it, can help you produce something great.