Photo Credit: Eric Decarlo
Wormhole, Here To Stay
You could say that metal has been stagnant for a while now, with all innovations to the
ubiquitous subgenre having happened decades ago when the most prominent and exalted acts
You could say that, but it wouldn’t be correct; and Wormhole is here to prove just how incorrect
that statement is with Almost Human, their third album and first on the label Season of Mist.
A lot has happened with the Baltimore-based bruisers since their previous release, including the
label change and some lineup changes as well. Wormhole’s core group remains intact, featuring
the Kumar brothers Snail and Sanjay on guitar and Matt Tillett on drums, but they’ve picked up
Julian Kersey, formerly of Aegeaon and The Faceless, on vocals as well as Basil Chiasson on
Kersey immediately illustrates what makes him a worthy addition to the lineup as Wormhole
kicks the album off with “System Erase,” laying down thickly-textured guttural growls over
melancholic guitar leads, tremolo riffs, and breakneck blast beats.
Techslam Brutality At Its Finest
“Elysiism” follows it up and is my hands-down favorite song on Almost Human. The arpeggiated
leads of the intro are exceptional, but they also hint that you’ll be getting incredible guitar work
throughout the entire track, supplemented by some of the most pronounced bass lines you’re
going to get throughout the entire album. The instrumentalists truly shine on “Elysiism,” but
drummer Matt Tillett shows he’s no slouch by throwing a few post-breakdown fills to keep the
pacing of the track balanced.
“Elysiism” offers everything from melodeath to techdeath to slam in one succinct song, giving a
sample of the techslam sound smorgasbord Wormhole is known for supplying. Then, “Spine
Shatter High-Velocity Impact” comes in like a ton of bricks, assaulting the ear drums with chug-
along riffs, gutturals, and even a galloping snare drum in the latter half of the track. “Bleeding
Teeth Fungus,” which comes later in the album, takes a similar tone, inserting techdeath frenzy
amidst a slam landscape to show these Wormhole dudes don’t play.
What works well for Wormhole on Almost Human is that they’re not afraid to switch gears at the
drop of a hat. They embrace melodies but don’t neglect heaviness. They come with the fury but
don’t underestimate the power of slowing down the chug. They have the musicianship to
incorporate nuanced chords and harmonic elements but aren’t opposed to adding a touch of
dissonance and discordance.
Paying Respect To The Past
You’ll find plenty of Suffocation-style stuff on Almost Human, as is evident on tracks like
“System Erase,” “Data Fortress Orbit Stationary,” and “Bleeding Teeth Fungus,” but you’ll also
get a lot of what makes bands like Artificial Brain and Ulcerate so intriguing with tracks like
“Almost Human” and “The Grand Oscillation'” showing capable range from the techslam inventors themselves. And Wormhole definitely knows how to get a groove going; check that
outro to “Delta Labs.”
Along with superior songwriting that shows evolution since The Weakest Among Us is superior
sound quality courtesy of new label Season of Mist and mixing by AJ Viana. Every instrument is
audible and present in the mix so you’re not stuck turning your good ear to the speaker to pick
out subtle nuances. You’re getting everything in full force, and that’s exactly what you want from
a modern release with as much texture as Almost Human.
For musically intriguing releases of 2023 and an overall solid showing, we’re giving Wormhole
an 8/10 for Almost Human, and you can 100% call me a new techslam fan!
Overall Score: 8/10
Review by: Chris Covello