By Thor

We live during an era when the technical prowess of those who play death metal has hit a ceiling.  For the practitioners of tech-death in particular, there’s no more speed left to attain.  There can be no more notes squeezed into impossibly brief snippets of time.  It’s old hat.  Frankly, most of those bands are exhausting to listen to, and—dare I say it—boring.  It’s a style that’s become only gratifying for the musician’s ego.  It’s Wankery 101.

And then there’s Wormed—the exception to my angst.

Spain’s tech-death masters of cosmic horror return with "Krighsu", their third full-length album and another chapter in their narrative canon of terrifying interdimensional isolation.  The band’s high-concept, albums-as-stories approach aside, musically, Wormed can do whatever they want to do and "Krighsu" is astonishing in that regard.
This album is a rarity for me in that just when I’d thought I’ve heard it all, Wormed play a passage unlike anything I’ve come across.  And despite having the skillset to play lightning fast (something they certainly do with frightening precision), they never abandon groove for long.  When they do slow things down, they build those grooves from layers of technically brilliant elements that often sport time-signatures that are as alien as the ideas embodied by the songs.  That approach is something of a leitmotif on "Krighsu".

Wormed use their collective musical virtuosity to compose insidiously complex, yet ostensibly approachable extreme music in ways that never alienate the listener, but rather compels us toward multiple listenings to absorb the complexities that are churning beneath the surface.  And even with this level of realized ambition, the music never stops being heavy—the vocals are guttural, the guitars are thick, and the drums are aggressive.  And Wormed manages all this while foremost telling an ongoing story by way of the nearly extinct beast known as “the concept album.”

Songs with titles such as “Neomorph Mindkind,” “Eukaryotic Hex Swarm,” and “Molecular Winds” will give you an idea of the terrors that await on "Krighsu".  If you’re a fan of death metal—any strain of it at all—then get this album.  It’s truly a work of art.