WORM – Bluenothing (2022)REVIEW

From monotonal murk-spawn in nascence to the verdant morbidity of the swamp harnessed, the festering death-magick since perfected within marbled crypts now awakens our sorcerer to the true source of his awakening, the chaotic wald in the cosmos. The cerulean nightside castle in the eye of the magus is here granted its foundation of bones and shattered armour plate, ruins and death will brace its reach for the silvered light of the stars. — Having witnessed the necessary precipice of long-embedded ideation float from his own hands in the form of a well-celebrated third full-length album it should be no surprise that the wandering katamari-esque oeuvre of Floridian musician Phantomslaughter‘s blackened death/doom metal project Worm would eventually roll back into the black metal-adjacent aesthetic. Their latest mLP ‘Bluenothing‘ is a natural-as-can-be transition into the supernatural waves of an entirely different portal, two leftover pieces from the aforementioned album which stand apart in their shredding, keyboard drenched and blackened haunt alongside… what is essentially a teaser for a journey to a world apart.

Since this is an mLP coming off of a very popular full-length I’ll assume that most readers already know what Worm is all about, a sort of LLN/classic black metal inspired solo act who’d put out quite long and impressive but very limited cassette demos back in the early 2010’s before incorporating influences from early black/doom metal on their Iron Bonehead debut, soon pivoting into death/doom and funeral doom metal on their second and third albums. You can read a moderately detailed rundown of all of that within my review for ‘Foreverglade‘ (2021), an album which’d certainly lined up with my own taste even if I couldn’t stop comparing it to Evoken, keeping in mind ‘Quietus‘ is one of my favorite records in general. The initial descent into ‘Bluenothing‘ could very well be a great introduction to the peak and prime of what that third album had achieved in terms of Side A. I’d go as far as to say that “Bluenothing” and “Centuries of Ooze II” absolutely belonged on ‘Foreverglade‘ as a third act but, I understand both the necessity of not cracking those sessions into a double LP without a Side D. I’ve no real criticism to offer that first side because it is as pristine and inspiring as the album was, an absolutely crystalline shard of blackened funeral death/doom metal. I suppose subtlety isn’t always Worm‘s strength, per the shred-heavy side of that album (solos here are from the illustrious Phil Tougas), and that somewhat naturally takes us to the curiosity sparking, all-flash affair of Side B.

The eight and a half minute feature of shred interlude “Invoking The Dragonmoon” and the likewise lead guitar dominated “Shadowside Kingdom” are described as a step into the next chapter of Worm which reads somewhere between the latent Nocturnus influences upon Emperor‘s mid-peak guitar prowess and some deeper cut semblances to the mastery of Odium and similar acts. Of course this isn’t much more than an aesthetic turn thus far and wild presupposition on my part since “Shadowside Kingdom” is a largely instrumental song dominated by dual guitar runs and wild shredding throughout. It is of course better than having a same-sided 12″ or a one-sided picture disc but set within the full listen and played back-to-back the inclusion of these two pieces reads as a very long but not entirely unrelated interlude/outro, a teaser of what is to come. Much as the fine level of craft here is obvious the feeling that I’d ended one album, listened to the intro to another and then got cut off was a bit maddening at first. The main event here is of course feature of “Bluenothing”, but I’d felt the teaser feeling at the end of the mLP does sting a little bit.

Employing a gaggle of artists, a foil embossed logo, and a necessarily blue horror terrarium from maestro Brad Moore goes a long way toward selling the mLP as a serious product, and I suppose even though it is an addendum/interstitial item by design it ends up feeling like a special “get” nonetheless. Without downplaying the value of the music herein, Side A is inarguably worth admission, there is some threat of the milled over aesthetic and the pronounced emphasis on lead guitar work beginning to take away from the atmosphere and, well, riffs which helped propel Worm‘s sound where it is, or, was. A concern for another time, a fleeting thought as I step away from what is itself a gift (a bit more of ‘Foreverglade‘) and a promise of something new from this talented curator. A high recommendation.

High recommendation. (86/100)

Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
TITLE:Bluenothing [EP]
LABEL(S):20 Buck Spin
RELEASE DATE:October 28th, 2022

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