Technical Death Metal has a strange history some love it, others hate it. It’s early days were steeped in impressive musicianship which left a lot of people bewildered, the likes of Atheist, Cynic and Death being among the biggest driving forces behind the genre. I have to admit on a personal level it took me a little while to fully indulge in the genre, but after hearing the classic Symbolic by Death my perspective was changed, brutality could be made anew. In recent years the genre has seen a huge spike with bands such as Rivers Of Nihil, The Faceless, Archspire, Equipoise and Inanimate Existence leaping to the forefront and giving us ideas which years ago would have seemed impossible as far as the boundaries of Death Metal go.
One such band whom have caused a storm are the Sci-fi influenced Spanish Technical Brutal Death Metal legends Wormed. Formed back in 1998 the band are not only purveyors of the modern age of Technical Death Metal but also pioneers of the Brutal Death Metal world also. Their 1999 demo Floating Cadaver In Monochrome opened up the barriers of Tech by combining it with a totally savage breed of Death Metal. By 2003 the band unleashed Planisphærium their debut full length which has since gone down in history as an essential Brutal/ Technical Death Metal release. The band followed this up with the 2013 tome Exodromos and 2016’s Krighsu. Now three years later we are graced with a brand new EP, the 2019 release Metaportal, put out through Season Of Mist.
As Remote Void begins we hear the maniacal fray of instrumentation, fast guitars, bass and complex drum patterns work together in obscure time signatures to create a breed of Death Metal that whilst very Technical is seldom self-indulgent. The vocals are laid on top to provide a guttural, more brutal edge to the release ensuring the band stay true to their roots and legacy. Cryptoubiquity is a similarly bizarre, alien affair yet this time the hooks placed upon the guitar riffs seem more repetitive and naturally catchy. This is by no means a bad thing for it keeps the track in our heads and shows that Technical Death Metal isn’t always about going off on long winded keyboard heavy tangents.
Bionic Relic sees somewhat of a let up in speed at points almost deviating in territories of dare I say Slam whilst still holding fast to the ethics of Technical Death Metal. This is equally one of the more wild tracks in its Jazz like tendencies and overall propulsion of cosmic patterns. The concluding number of this EP E-Xystem://CE is another madness infused Technical Death Metal banger that whilst traditional still packs a punch and solidifies Wormed’s place in the great Brutal Death Metal hall of fame. A beautiful splash of the capabilities of this almighty band, not in the least bit over the top or ludicrous just pure unadulterated Tech Death savagery.
If you can’t abide the current state of the Tech Death world which is full of saxophones, clean vocals and ethereal keyboard solos then this might be the EP for you. Whilst I enjoy all of the previously mentioned items I can see why some don’t, Tech Death has become saturated in self-indulgent pomp, not dissimilar from 70’s Prog Rock in its fan base and make up. Because of that I feel that the genre has suffered a similar fate to Brutal Death Metal with segregations, arguments and elitism all around. So if you can’t be dealing with all of that nonsense and just want a release to please everyone check out Metaportal.
(8/10 George Caley)