Wormhole - The Weakest Among Us
Lacerated Enemy Records
Death Metal
8 songs (28:25)
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Goat

Slam death metal gets slammed receives much criticism from traditional death metallers for the monotony and caveman simplicity, not to mention from modern metalheads who don't see the gore and misogyny as appropriate in our current society. American five-piece Wormhole here offer a rejoinder to both camps with its blend of technical death, slam, and even deathcore, and escapist sci-fi lyrics - the black and white cookie of extreme metal, if it were the first of its kind. Which The Weakest Among Us is not, but it is very enjoyable from the start with the complex rhythms of the title track. A slightly muffled but not actually bad production gives the instruments a sort of equality once you're used to it, even the suitably twangy bass (provided by Defeated Sanity's Alex Weber) and although the vocals are the sort of deep breathy grunts typical to slam, they are used in a solid enough way, becoming just another instrument in moments like r/A9/Myth.

And of course the slam elements work well in combination with the rest of the band's death metal palette, the pit-friendly breakdown on D-S3 suitably exercising the listener's neck, and later in that track allowing it to rest as a slower, more melodic and tech-death instrumental passage that lets brother guitarists Sanil and Sanjay Kumar show off a little. Not that they're generally afraid to, as the technical little riff and solo trade-offs in the likes of Wave Quake Generator Plasma Artillery Cannon alone shows but it's good to hear a band comprising so many skilled musicians come together so well, and all get a chance to show off, not least drummer Matt Tillett. And the more you listen to Wormhole the more unique they seem; making sci-fi referencing death metal with a suitably alien atmosphere is not easy, yet there's a general weirdness about The Weakest Among Us that makes the cover art suitable rather than aberrant. Something about the oddly whirring riffs and dip into electronica of, say, The Gas System comes over as alien, especially if slam is generally not your preferred type of death metal.

Even if you absolutely hate it you'll still enjoy cuts like Ultrafrigid which move comfortably into tech-death territory, almost sounding like Necrophagist at points even when slowed into a late-track breakdown. Following that with the speedier Quad Mb (personal favourites Corpsing and Despised Icon coming to mind, never a bad thing) and groovy album closer Ingswarm shows that the band appreciate dynamics, the latter showing the bass off especially well and dipping into classic melodic death territory in its second half. And when an album of this nature impressed you this much at under half an hour long, simply begging for multiple listens in one sitting, how can you not praise it? Perhaps it won't truly change the minds of slamophobes, but it manages to combine the physical impact of slam and the heady progginess of tech-death into one compelling unity, and even manages a little atmosphere as well. Not so weak after all, then!

Killing Songs :
D-S3, The Gas System, Quad Mb
Goat quoted 80 / 100
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