In 2011, Singaporean grind-pros Wormrot released ‘Dirge’, which turned out to be one of the best modern grindcore albums. The murky guitar tone is an instant attraction and the complex yet chaotic arrangement of drums oozes quality. Five years, a year of hiatus and a change of drummer later, Wormrot scampers back with franticness with what turns out to be another banger of an album. Really, this review could be entirely made of just synonyms of ‘rage’ and ‘frenzy’ and it would still aptly describe this album.
Grind is known to be extremely hurried and as a result, variety in songwriting is something that is less expected. ‘Voices’ breaks that mold by rapidly playing around with tempo, mixing up different vocal styles and interjecting bludgeoning sections with melody and brooding drag – lots of cool stuff not seen on their previous records. Although the production is clean, the guitar tone seeps in the right amount of filth.
Twenty tracks seem like a short but fiery thunderstorm that dare I say leaves you wet at the end of it. Tracks like “Descending Into the Unknown”, “The First World Syndrome” and “Oblivion Mess” are aural equivalents of face-stomping. Some of the tracks seem to be a bit too jovial in the sense that everyone seems to really jolly about being aurally stomped. Tracks like “Shallow Standards” have a darker – almost blackened – tinge to it.
There are a couple of quintessential grind tracks that are less than ten seconds. “Take Aim”, “Compassion is Dead” and “Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Grind” (made me chuckle) are a few more unrelenting tracks in terms of atmosphere and inadvertently make your body move. “Defaced” and “The Face of the Disgraced” continue on with the battering and then we come to the final track. “Outworn” is the longest track Wormrot has ever written, and the track leans towards a more screamo direction, and the atmospheric mid-paced section with hurting screams over it, along with the ambient outro, is something out of the ordinary for a grind record, yet it is pulled off spectacularly.
‘Voices’ is a record that is ambitious yet provides all the fodder for grind lovers, and is a more complete record than anything they’ve done before because of the experimentation. The new drummer shines brilliantly with quite a variety in the arrangements, and the bestial vocals are a treat to the years as always. I would put this album in the same league as ‘Dirge’, and would consider it one of the few quality grind releases of recent years.