Hailing from Greenville, South Carolina, Grindcore four-piece WVRM, have been around for a while now, birthing a couple of split albums and a two full length efforts which, whilst not straying too far from the Grindcore playbook, offered enough distinguishable traits and tropes to make this release one to be anticipated by fans of the genre. It’s actually serendipitous timing that this came across my desk, having just plunged myself headfirst into the fetid trough of Grindcore following the fantastic documentary ‘Slave To The Grind’ by director Doug Brown, that deep dives the origins of the genre from early protagonists such as Repulsion, Napalm Death and Siege to latter day torchbearers such as Full Of Hell, Pig Destroyer, Parasitic Ejaculation and Discordance Axis . It’s a forensically detailed piece of work that really goes into the cervices of the music and its scene, which although initially united on socio/political pillars, increasingly found itself, imploding and splintering into off into various factions on political and racial grounds at times whilst also further splits occurred on lyrical and cover art subject matter such as torture, gore and religion.
The one thing that came across loud and clear though, is that as a genre that has existed in some shape, way of form since the mid 1980’s, it has morphed and shifted over the years and appears to be in a rude state of health with newer bands such as Singapore’s Wormrot (who I witnessed, alongside Napalm Death at the Earache curated stages at Glastonbury a few years ago tear the mainly middle class Coldplay fans a new arsehole) carrying the flag. I have to admit, I hadn’t heard of WVRM ahead of reviewing this their third full album, but I can tell you that it’s a powerful statement of intent, a ferocious collection of songs, that slams it’s foot on your throat from the pulverising opener ’Walled Slum City’ and doesn’t let you draw breath until album closer ‘Angel Of Assassination’. It’s brutal stuff that manages to avoid the occasional misstep that bands of this genre take which keeps the throttle on full and fails to vary the tone and the tempo to keep your brain from wondering.
Colony Collapse, keeps you on your toes, flaying the skin from your back in one moment, before slamming on the brakes and caressing you in a groovy beat down that begs you not to throw yourself into a stomping, karate styled hardcore, elbow swinging revelry. It’s this continuing blast beat, tempo challenging collection of songs that marks these boys out as serious contenders. It could well be one of the best things I have lent my ears too in 2020. It’s powerful, concussive, swinging, groovy stew of deliciously tasty Grindcore gruel. The production here is also top notch, as are the obligatory film and TV samples, the guitars are ten feet walls of concrete and the vocals swing from guttural utterings where you can actually hear the phlegm snapping at the back of vocalists Ian Nix’s throat to high pitched squeals and back again.
Overall, this is an absolute gem of an album and one that only improves on further listens and does an amazing job of collecting all the very best bits of a complex and multi-threaded genre. WVRM have created a piece of work that deserves your attention as fans of heavy music and one that they, as a band, should be very, very proud of.
(9/10 Nick Griffiths)