Completely unexpected, as the official release date for the new Wormrot album Dirge is still a month off (May 3rd). Earache Records, the bands’ label, are doing something completely ballsy here. Record labels take note; Dirge is a highly anticipated release in the world of underground metal and grind. If any grind band can push a fairly decent number of physical copies by genre standards, it would definitely be Wormrot. That’s why this move is absolutely brilliant.

Anyone who wants to hear the new album is going to download it when it leaks regardless of what any one says (*cough cough*Sumerian*cough*). Grind fans are obviously technically savvy and know where to find hidden treasures—where do you think they got into grind in the first place? On a whim at a record store, or even iTunes? Unlikely. Given their fanbase, why not jump the shark and give it away for free through legal and official means as an advertisement for physical copies and inevitable extensive touring coming down the pipeline?

Not just that, but the fact that it’s free opens up a new avenue of listeners. I’m not a fan of grind, and I’m not going out of my way to find a seedy torrent or sift through the blog spam to get a mediafire link and then maybe feel like an asshole for the so-called thievery. I’m downloading Dirge as I type this, and will certainly give it a shot simply because it was free. Vinyl is also a pretty big collectors’ item, and limited releases can fetch a good profit for hardcore fans.If I like what I hear, I’ll probably pick up a copy of the sweet colored vinyl advertised on the download landing page. It just makes sense, even though I don’t think anyone saw it coming.

Kudos, Earache and Wormrot. You have my attention and respect. Download it now!

– JR

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