Wormhole – Almost Human (Season of Mist)Friday, 15th September 2023
Continuing to gurgle along through sci-fi soundscapes that insidiously blur the lines between technical and slamming death metal, Wormhole have reached their third full-length offering with Almost Human (their first for Season of Mist). It sounds an odd thing to say, but the band did essentially devise it’s own formula with ‘tech slam,’ which is odd considering that no one else thought of it first. That said, Wormhole keep upping their game and developing more from what you may initially consider to be something more one-dimensional and making it, well, otherworldly in design.
What comes across initially with Almost Human is precisely what the album title implies: it’s a decidedly brutal album that feels much more human in tone than the majority of tech-crazed releases that end up feeling cold and soulless. Sure, there’s some cold sci-fi feelings to it, but Wormhole are able to also effectively draw out some emotion in their formula. This is where the slamming side of the band comes in. While they are wonderfully adept at being able to weave in intricate riffs and wild time shifts, they can bring in some good ole fashioned pummeling into the listeners’ ears, not to mention some eerie dissonance and melody. Closer “The Grand Oscillation” drowns itself in murky dissonant atmosphere to juxtapose the blastbeats and groovy riffs, and goes one step further in crafting a striking melodic solo as the song begins to wind down – one that leaves a clear mark on the listener. “Elysiism” brings in some playful, ear-grabbing guitar melodies that double as tech prowess at its onset and returns to them later, amid some bruising riffs and some attention-getting leadwork. Not to say that the act has gotten too flashy and lost it’s brutal edge – “Delta Labs” features some absolutely neanderthal-esque grooves (meant in the nicest way possible of course) that are sure to punish the unsuspecting, as does the speed-friendly “Bleeding Teeth Fungus” that isn’t afraid to slow it way down for some bludgeoning slams.
More multifaceted than your average extreme death band without sacrificing any of the meat & potatoes brutality, Wormhole continue to pave the way for proving that you can have both enticing instrumentation and groundshaking aggression at once. Almost Human never shies away from giving you an unnerving metallic assault, and it’s not one that you will easily forget with the passage of time.