The impulse to push the envelope is never-ending, with regard to the more extreme side of music, metal and otherwise. Whether we are talking about bands as varied as SLAYER or SQUAREPUSHER, striving to be faster, louder, harder and/or more bizarre is inevitable—at least in the early stages. Intuitively enough, then, this endless race and quest applies to technical death metal perhaps more than most other heavy metal-based subgenres. While the talent level has been impressive, and increasingly so, the final artistic product of most technical death metal bands has become as exciting as watching paint dry. But when it's done the right way, when the combination of talent and songwriting ability and focus are neck and neck, the results can be fascinating. Case in point: WORMED.
Spain's WORMED has established a name for itself for its unique take on brutal, technical music adorned with science fiction-based themes. It doesn't feel like they've been around for 20 years. That's because aside from a sporadic split and EP, a decade long gap divided the time between the debut full-length, "Planisphærium", and "Exodromos". We had most recently heard from the Spaniards with their awesome 2016 release, "Krighsu", until now, that is. In spite of the tragic passing of drummer Guillermo Calero last year, WORMED returns with the savage and progressive EP "Metaportal".
The sci-fi nerd's tale of "Krighsu"—involving "the nano-technological war (that) has been unleashed in the void to defeat the last sower of human life"—is threaded through the 16-minute-long ripper "Metaportal". Whether or not the storyline is one's cup of tea, "Metaportal" also piggybacks upon the sonic tapestries of "Krighsu". Unnerving melodic waves drift through a foundation of jarring riffs, prominently so on a belligerent track like "Bionic Relic". Closing number "E-Xystem://CE", on the other hand, showcases the unit's progressive depth in what's the most diverse and dynamic song of the EP with its odd-ball time changes and psychotic, sliding vocal stylings.
WORMED is known for its unyielding intensity. And while that factor is taken to an out-of-this-world dimension on "Metaportal", as much as the concepts and themes therein, the act's venture toward realms of greater (relative) experimentation and ambience isn't quite as mind-melding as its visceral bite. The band is truly at the forefront of technical, brutal death metal. Perhaps they are just a bit too ambitious for their own good, ever so slightly, but WORMED nevertheless remains cutting edge with "Metaportal".