EP Review: Worm – Bluenothing

EP Review: Worm - Bluenothing
Reviewed by Sam Jones

Its absolutely no wonder that I picked up this EP. Worm’s 2021 opus Foreverglade was my sole album of the year candidate last year, ultimately winning the elusive spot of favourite album; little else came close in my opinion. So, when I saw the band were seeking to release a new EP the back end of 2022, I was determined to grab it. Formed in 2012, hailing from Florida, United States, the home of many an influential death metal band, Worm released two Demos before finally releasing their first studio album in 2017 titled Evocation Of The Black Marsh; this was a much more straight up black metal release as opposed to the spectral doom we received later on. Whatever the cause for this shift in sound was I couldn’t say but I, and many others, are thankful for it as they demonstrated with 2019’s Gloomlord. Wild praise followed suit which only become all the more concrete with 2021’s aforementioned Foreverglade. Now into the back end of 2022, Worm seek to solidify their style with Bluenothing, an apparent continuation of all they’ve been prospering to create as of late. I was absolutely ecstatic to get tucked in.

Often, if a band were to open an album or EP up with an 11 minute track I’d be curious to see what the band in question could possibly have in store for me. Worm, on the other hand, fill me with the utmost excitement when such a lengthy opener is deemed required for Bluenothing. We’ve reached a point now, through Worm’s career, where the band could likely give me a 30 minute opus and my confidence in their ability would be no less shaken. What helped me to really take to this EP instantaneously was how it feels like a direct continuation from where Foreverglade left us off from. For some bands that may be seen as a hindrance, a sign the band may be questioning where to go from their current position, yet for Worm this couldn’t be more desirable. The haunting guitar work, synthesisers and dual-vocal performances have returned and I personally couldn’t be happier. As it stands, I’m convinced Worm could do this formula for another ten albums and I wouldn’t find myself bored into monotony at any moment.

If anything, the synthesiser work seems to have been brought more into play. The band have often utilised synths throughout their songwriting not only as an atmospheric element, but to additionally underlay the record in a spectral, ethereal ambience. In this instance however, the synth work appears to have been propped up a touch; it isn’t by much but it’s enough for us to take notice of its heightened presence. Worm have been continuously pushing this element as is evident through the multitude of marketing and promotional material regarding their social media. While the EP is by no means any more serene than Foreverglade or Gloomlord, the prominent synthesisers coat the EP with a fervently pious, nigh on godly, shine. Listening to this EP is akin to wandering into some lost chapel, the full might of organs bellowing and filling the empty spaces. I don’t blame Worm for carrying on the vibe Foreverglade delivered, even as “Centuries Of Ooze II” is playing; a direct continuation from where the original ended. Yet I’m still not complaining, the original track was amongst my favourite individual pieces for 2021’s entirety.

EP Review: Worm - Bluenothing

What also helps Worm to stand out as well, isn’t merely the blackened element that permeates the entirety of their sound, but the decision to apply a legitimate sense of melody to their sound. This is not to state that Worm are suddenly a melodic blackened or death metal band now; it’s something that has been in the evolving phases of Worm for some time now as they’ve moved from material to material. If Foreverglade offered the suggestion of moving melodies then Bluenothing is the outright confirmation. The meanderings and churns Worm are willing to throw at us are downright harmonious; they’re corporeally beautiful. It doesn’t just feel like a guitar riff creating the sound alone but a movement by the entire EP as we move from place right entirely to another.

I think there are a few who may not be a fan of Worm’s guitar work. Some aren’t big fans of bands who really strive to go all out on their skill and would rather see competent songwriting and band interplay above all else; on the other hand, Worm’s spectral, piercing guitar style is also so on point for the band as a whole that you can’t separate one from the other. The riffs and soloing are absolutely integral to Worm’s identity and it’s no different here either; Bluenothing finally cements what fans may have been thinking throughout the early, burgeoning years of Worm’s discography. Yet, it’s simply great to acknowledge a guitarist who not only plays well but also a musician who honed himself, can play well and isn’t afraid to demonstrate what his prowess can provide for a band like Worm. As a sucker for a competent solo, I couldn’t get enough of what Worm had here. The piercing, otherworldly aesthetic is only bolstered by the guitar work, yet it’s never relied on as the sole instrumental relief. As extraordinary as the guitar work is, it’s good to note it’s never leaned on as a crutch; it’s simply another viable part of what makes Worm such a special band. You’ll get two minute solos, where the music is never tiresome because it feels like such an important part of the band’s songwriting itself; it is never viewed as something superficial or lacking meaning to the greater whole.

In conclusion, this EP truly is a continuation of Foreverglade but, considering how highly I view that record, that is of zero worry to me. Bluenothing sees Worm take things just a little further with the synth and blackened aesthetics yet never so much that it doesn’t feel like the last time we saw a significant Worm release. If you thoroughly enjoyed Foreverglade then, frankly, this EP is a no brainer to check out. Had this EP been latched onto the end of Foreverglade, that album would be in the running for a potential Album Of The Decade even in this early stage of the 2020s. As it is however, Bluenothing is more than worth your time even with the connotations with Foreverglade being what they are. Opening with an 11 minute track that is, straight out of the gate, one of my favourite pieces this year so far, and then unveiling heightened synth work propagating notions of early 90s black metal infused with towering slabs of death metal, Worm continue to showcase why they’re a growing name in extreme metal and why, with every release that follows suit, their work is garnering cult status with universal acceptance.

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