Singapore isn’t a country one associates with grindcore so it’s truly an achievement for the country’s Wormrot to have devastated the international grind scene in such a surprisingly brief space of time, earning a record deal with prestigious metal label Earache in the process. Last year saw the band release highly acclaimed third album ‘Voices’, their first full-length in five years and tonight’s London concert marks their first in the capital in the same length of time. So, do they bring as much aural aggression live as they do on CD?
Before the headliners grind the audience to dust, The Afternoon Gentlemen are on. Hailing from Leeds, these grindcore adherents are constantly gigging in the UK and abroad, developing a recognisable name for themselves in the underground. Their booze-flavoured grind is humorous but does little in the way of reinventing the wheel. Despite their generic music, the audience are certainly into it with continuous mosh pit action and a positive uproar finalising each song.
Given the punter density inside the Underworld, it’s evident that Wormrot have been severely missed. Despite a delay in tonight’s running order, the three piece grind unit explodes on stage with energy matched by the flailing arms in the mosh pit. They have always played without a bassist in their line up but the music does not suffer for this absence. Sole guitarist Rasyid’s sound is not only technical and speedy but with such a nasty tone that it fills up the venue effortlessly. Drummer Vijesh is like a man possessed, relentlessly battering his skins consistently rapidly and refusing to tire throughout the set. Coupling such frenetic guitar work with this drumming is difficult to mix and the Underworld’s sound is not kind to the headliners.
A sizeable portion of the set is selected from ‘Voices’, with particularly short sharp shocks including vicious opener ‘Blockhead Fuck Off’, catchy ‘Fallen into Disuse’, intense ‘Shallow Standards’, the thoughtful ‘Outworn’ and the remarkably titled ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Grind’, with older tracks exhibiting furious modern grind that takes no prisoners. Vocalist Arif employs brutal death metal growls and grind shrieks with satisfying results. His energy on stage is infinite and he even indulges in some rather unusual dancing. Stage divers are a frequent sighting throughout the set, much to the chagrin of the less enthused security.
It’s a shame this type of music requires so much stamina. Like most grind shows, the set is shorter than other subgenres due to the physically exhausting demand. ‘Manipulation’ from sophomore album ‘dirge’ reduces the tempo and its conclusion sees Arif thank the venue before the band vacates the stage. Stupidly, people begin to make their way towards the exit but Wormrot return on stage for a final devastating surge of distilled vigour while the venue’s lights are still on – a rarity for the Underworld, especially with a new cub night on right afterward that demands an earlier than usual curfew.
With just one guitar, a drum kit and a single vocalist, Wormrot make a hell of a racket. Their ascension to the higher echelons of modern grind is wholly justified and it’s believable that they will continue to amalgamate more significant numbers of fans. Let’s hope their profile does rise further so their next London show arrives quicker than five years.