This here is one of those records which just picks a course and carries you along, bobbing along, in a singular direction. This is pretty much always an admirable choice on the part of its maker, even if it turns out the journey hasn’t been that fun. With Bluenothing, however, we can both admire and rejoice – Worm have charted their course and it is, unequivocally, through something fucking awesome. Layers upon layers of gothic filigree in the form of spooked out synth and mellotron are sedimented over riffing slower than a sloth carrying a bag of lead. Bluenothing is here to turn you into an undulating quiver of a body, gently rocking back and forth whilst admitting dark waves of penetration. I know that this then sounds like it could be every other umpteen doomy bands, and I’d definitely take some serious comparisons in the approach to current scene sweethearts Zetra, and the big daddies of them all Candlemass.
The difference with Worm, for those that haven’t heard their last record Foreverglade, is that they take this formula and inject it with two very special things- firstly, an unrepentant heaviness. Guitars and vocals move at the pace of the aforementioned lead-sloth™ but the actual content, the sounds chosen (lacerating guitar tones, thick as fuck death vocals) and the note choices of the riffage, reach extremely pummeling proportions. Imagine, if you will, someone took a 45rpm copy of Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick and played it at 33 – that’ll give you a sense of what’s going on here. Indeed on Bluenothing we get a really nice direct comparison to Blessed are the Sick in that there is a really fabulous neoclassical streak. For instance the intro to ‘Shadowside Kingdom’ starts with an acoustic figure reminiscent of the death metal classic.
The other difference is the fucking shred. This album has 80s-licious ripping soloing and harmonies all. Over. the. Place. You like Yngwie Malmsteen? You like the work of Ralph Santolla? You watched Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure too much as a kid and feel the almighty pull of neoclassical sweeps atop Mozart jamming in a shopping centre? You’ll have a feast here.
This is particularly the case on ‘Shadowside Kingdom’, which also has a wonderfully blackened streak to it which wasn’t quite as present on Foreverglade, and does nothing but bolster the Worm sound in my opinion. The vocals are a bit higher, with a scraped throat inflection and there’s some clear Darkthrone worship going on in the tonality. It really is the soloing that steals the show here though – it’s unrelenting yet tasteful. Unlike a lot bands who employ such technical playing to produce a mechanical effect, where precision is key, the neo-classical and undeniably airwave-rippling shred on display here makes you feel like you’re bathing in a cauldron filled with blood heated in the fires of hell.
Everything here is undeniably gothic, something I tend to shy away from when it comes to music because I often find that the aesthetic doesn’t match what I musically think should back it up. Here, however, is everything I would ever want Goth to be. A metallic, OSDM-led reverie full of Bachian note choices, horrible 70s horror film synth layers and the kind of shredding that makes your skin peel. Dress me in black, powder my face white and get me inducted into some sort of cult because I desperately want to sail into the Bluenothing with Worm.
WORM’s Bluenothing is released on October 28th (just in time for Halloween jamming!) via 20 Buck Spin. It can be preordered here digitally with physical pre-release coming later this month.
Words: Simon Young