There’s probably never been a better time for a new WVRM record. South Carolina’s premium-blend extreme music outfit have always championed the working class, aiming their aggression and bile towards the bloated, redundant corpses in charge. It helps that the mayhem behind the message has consistently been delivered at a devastatingly high level. A run of knockout splits, EPs and full-lengths have drawn WVRM out of the murky topsoil and into the cold light of a major label release. Colony Collapse, the band’s first release under Prosthetic Records, hits harder and closer to home than is probably comfortable for most. Expect broken teeth and pissed-off middle-aged white men.
The only legitimate complaint one could have about WVRM’s discography preceding Colony Collapse is that the band haven’t committed to longer releases in the past. Not really a complaint though when taking into account the high quality of the splits and EPs they’ve blasted into the atmosphere, and certainly not an issue when delving into this most dangerous of modern grindcore releases. The warming and welcoming sting of feedback that opens the show seems to hang in the air throughout the LPs twenty-five minutes, audibly forcing its way through the cogs and gears of the sludgy grind attack of several tracks; a gentle reminder that you should not be feeling comfortable listening to this record – the extended beatdown in single “Thorn Palace” runs for more than half of the track, but only gets more violent as it plays through; destined to be a live favourite.
WVRM’s city neighbours in Nile might be more celebrated, but Sanders and co. are about as lethal as a Hello Kitty plushie in comparison. Require evidence to back up this statement? “Anti-Democracy//Locust Breath” or “Tank Reaper”. The sheer intensity of the band’s attack of sludge and overtly death metal bludgeoning might confuse some expecting something a little more Napalm Death than Gatecreeper, but it’s this volatile blend of everything the band have done thus far which makes Colony Collapse so damn engaging. Drums seem to speed up and slow down through blasts and barrages, never losing time but always shifting and twisting into a new shape for the song to fill out. “Furious Movement//The Burning Tower” might be the most fucked up Southern punk song ever written, but it still holds true to WVRM’s style and message.
Besides containing some of the freshest and most lively extreme music, Colony Collapse is chocked full of frontman Ian Nix’s dark, personal, and violent poetry. Violent in the sense that you might see some of it graffitied on walls condemning wage overlords, but could potentially find some of it scrawled profoundly in a particularly dingy rest-stop toilet wall. Armed with the plight and misery of the downtrodden on his tongue, Nix spews and barks and spits and screams almost haphazardly over riffs, grooves, and freakout blast bombardments; no choruses here, guys. Take the time to read the lyrics to “Years of Lead” or “Angel of Assassination” and get enveloped in Nix’s dark sermon. If you come out armed with rebar and aimed for your landlords home then you’ve actually been listening.
Colony Collapse hits so many marks that WVRM have accidentally made it pretty difficult to review. There’s not enough time to talk about the fantastic production that pushes the snare drum into your eyes and fills every crack in the walls with perverse sound. What about the band’s notable inclusion of noise and ethnic instrumentation? Does one focus on the powerful grind backbone or the juiced-up powerviolence pulse over the more experimental and, dare it be said, progressive aspects of their sound? Fuck. Someone else take over, I need to write another review of this.
Colony Collapse is available April 3 via Prosthetic Records.