Worm Ouroboros weave disarmingly dark tales on haunting ‘Come the Thaw’
March 21, 2012 § Leave a Comment
At the start of each year, there always are bands that I’m fairly certain will have new music during the upcoming year, and I sort of start getting excited about it. Along with that also comes some nervousness that when I finally get said album that it won’t live up to my expectations.
I have a few this year that are sitting on my list. I’m really excited about the new Ash Borer, Anhedonist, Aldebaran, Nachtmystium, and Angel Witch, and album we’ll visit really soon. I’m also anticipating new stuff from Royal Thunder, Paradise Lost, St. Vitus, Horseback, and the Mutilation Rites full-length. But one record that was really high on my list at the start of the year – we’re talking top 5 – is a new opus from Worm Ouroboros, whose self-titled 2010 debut remains an indescribable gem of magic and mirth that still haunts me to this day. As soon as I heard their sophomore effort “Come the Thaw” was nearing completion and then was given a release date, my enthusiasm started to bubble over.
So with that much build up in my head, would this album meet my expectations? Holy shit, yes. It blew away everything I expected from this trio – guitarist/vocalist Jessica Way (Barren Harvest, World Eater), bassist/vocalist Lorraine Rath (Amber Asylum, the Gault), and new drummer and dark horse presidential candidate Aesop Dekker (Agalloch, Ludicra) – and made me realize I can’t really anticipate what this band will do. Both of their records are totally different from each other, even though you know by ear it’s Worm Ouroboros on each album, but the moods and the approaches are so separate. And that’s a great thing because as much as I love their debut, I was hoping “Come the Thaw” would be its own animal, and it is.
There may not be a sadder, moodier, more heart-provoking album in any genre this year, and while it’s a stretch to call what Worm Ouroboros does as true metal (think more neo-folk, doom rock), sentimentally and emotionally, it’s as heavy as the most molten and heathen of black metal blasts. I always take notes on an album the final time I listen before writing my thoughts on it, and I recorded copious observations about “Come the Thaw” on a cool, foggy, rainy morning, when I was able to look out on the city and imagine it being a town encapsulated by doom and sorrow. In many ways it is, but the music just pounded home how real our despair and hopelessness can be sometimes, and it’s often a struggle to reach out for solace, an answer, or an understanding hand. I’m not even sure those thoughts should be sparked by this album, but it’s what went on with me as a result.
These songs easily could be misconstrued by someone not really paying attention. I could imagine someone thinking these pieces are so pretty and woodsy, and they are, but not in the way most people would comprehend. There is darkness and tragedy lurking beneath these poetic threads, and while they may not be the loudest songs you’ll hear this year, and no one will think them brutal, there is blood, and it’s all over the place. “How will you ever find me now?” is a desperate question that stands out on opener “Ruined Ground,” as the spacious, chilly song crawls its way into a dark forest, finding a grave beneath the snow. That description may sound over the top; I think it may not be expressive enough. “Further Out” is gusty and breathy, with positively gorgeous vocals and intricate, fluttering melodies that’ll melt the ice away. “Release Your Days” is noteworthy for how the guitar and bass speak to each other, almost as if Way and Rath are taking turns telling their story with their instruments. The vocals are there to affirm it all. “When We Are Gold” is the most interesting song on the album, with a psychedelic, trippy backdrop that helps stretch your mind before they allow themselves to push the volume and tease at doom metal. “Withered” is a spiritual guide, with some of Rath’s finest bass work and guitar lines that are a bit harsher; and closer “Penumbra” sneaks up on you, crawling in like a gentle lamb but eventually grabbing you and claiming you with its lion teeth.
It’s really difficult to explain Worm Ouroboros to someone accurately. Yeah, you can cite bands such as Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, Kate Bush, Subrosa, Chelsea Wolfe, and Earth as like-minded contemporaries, but like Worm Ouroboros, those are artists that have to be felt and experienced to be understood. “Come the Thaw” is a record that can give you a totally different experience each time you hear it based simply on what kind of mood you’re in. But no matter what’s on your mind, this band will take you down a dark path, make you encounter ugliness, and do it in such disarming ways. Worm Ouroboros infect me every time, and I hope their pathogens never subside.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Worm-Ouroboros/250016544916?sk=info
To buy the album, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com//index.php?option=com_ezcatalog&task=detail&id=871&Itemid=99999999
For more on the label, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/