Much is going to be made about the fact that Worm Shepherd are in their teens, as if we grade albums on a curve based on age alone—so here’s how I’d put the band’s debut in context: this is the best deathcore album I’ve heard since the last Fit For An Autopsy, Lorna Shore, and Carnifex records.

Like those bands, Worm Shepherd have a keen understanding and insight into why you must focus on the “death” part of the equation much more than breakdowns and chugs to make for an interesting listen. In the Wake ov Sol also keenly emphasizes a blackened form of death metal, where atmosphere plays a big part in the album’s success.

Awash with apocalyptic doom, symphonic black metal, and tech-death, In the Wake ov Sol is a riveting, harrowing listen featuring some of the best-written deathcore songs in this or any year. The fact that it’s a debut is what makes the excellence on display all that more surprising. Whether it’s the whiplash-inducing moments of “Accursed” and “Ragnarok,” the slam-y doom of “The Frozen Lake,” or the mid-tempo black metal of “Aether,” Worm Shepherd are not afraid to play around with their sound to great effect.

Sure, there will be many who play up the band’s similarities to Lorna Shore, but for one, the world needs more acts that sound like Lorna Shore, and two, both bands have distinct sounds, styles, and musical goals. While Lorna Shore seem laser-focused on delivering apocalyptic, blackened death with occasional breakdowns, Worm Shepherd are much more explorational and diverse, pushing against the confines of deathcore. Both wisely tilt their focus away from the core elements alone, which only makes the scattered pit-inducers all that more punishing.

Ultimately, the only aspect of the band’s relative youth that’s pertinent is this—if this is what they can do before they can legally drink, the sky is the limit for Worm Shepherd. Some minor growing pains can be heard if you want to find them, but there’s promise, potential, and already shades of greatness on display throughout In the Wake Ov Sol.

Order the album at this location.

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