Jan 132023

For the third time in this series I tried to make my decision process easier by just focusing on songs on the candidate list by bands whose names begin with the same letter. And I couldn’t resist the temptation to make the selection worm-ridden.


What an enormous near-Halloween surprise this band’s Bluenothing EP was. With expectations extremely high based on the burgeoning appeal of Worm‘s Foreverglade album, they satisfied fan hunger by deciding to throw a curveball at their faces.

The A-side consisted of two previously un-used tracks from the Foreverglade recording sessions, embellished by the added performance of new Worm guitarist Phil Tougas (of First Fragment, VoidCeremony, Chthe-ilist, and Hulder [live]) in his new guise as Wroth Septentrion. That alone made those songs sound different, but even more different were the B-side tracks, with the first of those (“Invoking The Dragonmoon”) functioning as a lead-in to the sheer necromantic spectacle of the second one (“Shadowside Kingdom”), which one would guess was the true inspiration for Brad Moore‘s amazing cover art.

And so, Bluenothing wasn’t some kind of time-filler, feeding fans what they had come to expect from the black/doom of Foreverglade, but instead a musical statement of transition. Indeed the PR materials explicitly stated: “And so, with Bluenothing, the Foreverglade-era of WORM is ceremoniously put to an end, and the next chapter in the fanatical saga opens…”

If “Shadowside Kingdom” is a true sign of the next chapter, I could hardly be more excited. The guitar tandem of Wroth Septentrion and Nihilistic Manifesto put on a hell of a show, and for all I know the band’s main man Phantom Slaughter pitched in on guitar for this song as well, in addition to performing synths and vocals (along with Necreon on bass and Charlie Koryn on drums).

This was a nightside excursion of symphonic black metal that ventured from haunting but seductively beckoning spectral realms into pinnacles of daunting peril and ravishing glory, launched to even greater heights by Wroth Septentrion’s eye-popping solos, and with changing vocals that were great companions for the journey. There was never any doubt in my own mind that I’d include this song here.




WORMROT (Singapore)

Now we come to one of those relatively uncommon albums that just about all of our writers uniformly liked, including people who aren’t usually ardent fans of grindcore, because the band really expanded their array of influences and their songwriting versatility. We had mini-reviews of Hiss pop up in Dan Grover‘s year-end list and in the list by Wil Cifer (who also wrote a detailed review of the album earlier in the year), and we also got an extended review by DGR in his year-end list.

For mostly short songs, the tracks on Hiss were often packed with ideas, and some really were infectious as well. At times I thought “When Talkin Fails, It’s Time For Violence” was the most infectious of them all (and it still might be), but I decided to put “Your Dystopian Hell” on this list. It’s the one DGR promoted, and I suspect he did so because it’s such a prime example of Wormrot pushing the boundaries of their music on Hiss. I certainly appreciated it for that reason.

The song is a hell of a wild brawl, but the blazing guitars at the outset of the song give it an air of grandeur, and the growling, mangling, and screaming audio contortions that later ensue are so experimentally crazed that they also help make the song stand out.





Wormwitch released two singles last year, “Age of the Ordeal of Iron” and “Exhumed From Flaming Stars“. I had them both on my list of candidates for this list, but after a bit of mental wrestling I picked the first one.

Lyrically, the song is quite a tale, built around some big and serious subjects, and not one with a very optimistic outlook. Like the story line (as I wrote after first hearing it), the music itself is a creature of wrath and disgust. It blazes with the intensity of feverishly hammering drums, cyclonic riffing that roils and writhes, tumultuous bass lines, and flesh-scorching vocal vitriol.

The band also mix in rocking grooves, slashing, head-hooking chords, and fiery, frantic leads that seem to channel feral fighting spirits, as well as passages where the music both soars and seems afflicted by anguish, and other more doom-stricken moments when the music stalks and towers like a grim and glowering beast. It tails away into what feels like a nightmarish void.

All in all, the song is an electrifying experience, and one I thought easily earned its place on this list.



  1. Fuck that Worm EP is so good!

  2. Loved all of these, but didn’t realize Wormwitch released new stuff (usually more alert about LP’s than EP’s, when it was a year in witch 1 EP and a split nearly topped it for me over the long/traditional releases – Haunter’s and the Malthusian/SufferingHour’s collab).

    The year of the tiger was undershadowed by that of the stately worm, so when I saw you included some of the Worm- bands in one post I got super excited! This might be frowned upon, but I deemed it apt to add the other two worms not mentioned above:
    Wormgod – https://youtu.be/l75MftrmaCs
    Worm Shepherd – https://youtu.be/dsyhxnuhaLw

    And then I did a search on Metallum and found all of these releases from last year (perhaps not as infectious but if we’ve already burrowed this deep, why not go full invertebrate!? :
    Graveworm – https://youtu.be/YRq7eN_pVRM
    Cryptworm – https://youtu.be/ZpSMMuFB0cc
    Scumworm – (if Spiritworld didn’t hit your Morricone fix) https://youtu.be/jHkMx3CIlgc
    Gravewürm -https://youtu.be/jq1rsyuFp0Q

    Now if only Wormlust and Wormhole released something in the same year

    • Wonderful comment! As it happens, I do have songs by Wormgod and Worm Shepherd on my giant list of candidates for this list, based on reader recommendations (maybe from you?). But the other four are new to me. The idea of further complicating the selection process by adding to that giant list now is kind of daunting, but I may not be able to resist checking those out. And coincidentally, I heard from this worm-ridden band this morning about their new release this month:


      • Bit red on the face now tbh, didn’t mean to spoil any ensuing installments. And I definitely didn’t think now is the time to add to the giant list, simply couldn’t resist sharing more worm-related sounds.

        Also, thanks for the share! That’s one mighty piece for the cover art, damn, can’t stop staring at it. Like the psychedelic haze of Lewandowski meets the dystopian horror of Beksinski(can’t find the credit for the artist). And the tunes are tasty too, literally a ‘Conquest by submission’ Hails

        PS. When interacting here via mobile the info ‘saved’ and ready is that of another reader on ncs. Probably not a biggie, but certainly weird

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