Album Review: Wormhole – Almost Human

The self-proclaimed inventors of tech-slam, Wormhole, certainly level-up in myriad ways on their new album Almost Human. For starters, not one track’s lyrics are about Metroid—a significant change in songwriting strategy. Also, the “slams” themselves possess more character and coalesce smoothly with the five-piece’s dissonant and technical elements. And with new vocalist Julian Kersey giving them the voice they’ve always wanted, the stars have aligned for these eight robust tracks.

“System Erase” stimulates the mind first with its disorienting, blasting intro. The guitar tone radiating from the Kumar brothers, Noni and Sanjay, is absolute crunchy bliss: rich and heavy. Nothing but ominous riffs and grooves in the opener. “Elysiism” follows with pretty, cosmic melodies and devastating slams. Its overall vibe is a unique blend of quirkiness and drama.

“Spine Shatter High-Velocity Impact” poignantly takes things off-planet as guitar and bass licks mimicking sounds you’d expect coming from space creatures are peppered throughout. Oh yeah, the tempo-alternating beatdowns are absolutely filthy here as well. “Data Fortress Orbital Stationary” is chock full of galactic goodies, too, with artificial and pinch harmonics popping off like a craft’s emergency alerts. There’s a clever, stuttering build-up to a breakdown halfway through that keeps the listener on their toes, to boot.

With all that being said, however, the title track is the gem of the album. The riffs and their placement work wonders for the song’s scope of urgency. There’s a hint of Necrophagist in the atmosphere, but by no means are they being ripped off. This brutal hymn encapsulates the band’s efforts to make every nook and cranny of the full-length contain substance and purpose.

“Bleeding Teeth Fungus” is one monstrous beatdown after another. It’s the closest track resembling new-school slam. Embracing the intoxicating aroma of dissonance is the album’s finisher “The Grand Oscillation.” There’s a meandering cadence to its riffs and beats as if the record itself is expressing its exhaustion from being so tight and thorough.

Straight up, Almost Human is a contender for Album of the Year for me. I’d say the only thing that holds it back from being a blockbuster is the guttural vocals, nasty as they may be, getting lost in the pageantry of the music. Perhaps a diverse range and pattern could’ve brought out the pre-existing character of the songs even more. But, again, it’s the voice the band was looking for and it isn’t off-putting or ill-fitting. Regardless, this album is extremely flavorful, with each song carrying a distinct identity. Grab it on September 22 via Season Of Mist.

Buy the album here.

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