Worsen – Blood


Label: Self-released/Independent

Bandcamp stream: Link

As small a movement as it is at present, I can’t help but consider blackened crust to be the most exciting evolution to have happened to both black metal and crust punk in some time. The combination of the darkest strains of hardcore with black metal grimness seems so obviously potent on paper, and I’m yet to hear a band within the sub-genre that I’m disappointed by. Worsen are another band playing this style of music, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with their AC//13 brethren, and Blood ranks amongst the best examples of the movement.

The four tracks on this EP showcase the band’s vicious take on blackened crust with an intensity that demands attention and never lets go throughout its duration. It’s not music that is designed for long walks in the forest, studying obscure texts, or staring mournfully out over the night sky. Blood transcends the mundane, elevating itself above the everyday through the methods of violence and power. The drums hammer away fast and hard, whilst the vocals are vicious in a way that suggests imminent violence and danger. Meanwhile the guitars have just the right amount of cold to them, whether they are speeding through frost-bitten riffs, or playing more chilling leads and melodies during slower moments.

The tempo of the music is a big part of what makes this EP so strong, both through sheer speed – much of this EP is played at a blistering pace – but also through changes of pace. Second track “Collect Their Skulls, Leave Their Bones” (a superb title, full of dark imagery and malice) and final track “Blood” both contain numerous changes of tempo, yet lose absolutely no power in doing so, though the later does feature a bit too much repetition between the fourth and fifth minutes to be as effective a song as it could perhaps have been.

That’s the only real complaint that can be levelled at this EP though, and it’s a fairly minor one at that. This is how blackened crust should be, thoroughly engaging and powerful, taking the best elements of black metal and crust punk and combining them in to a superb whole. Yet at the same time, there are small hints that they are already looking beyond the still-young sub-genre, with subtle moments that remind me of Mgla’s superb “With Hearts Toward None”. This is a hugely exciting release, and I can’t wait to see where the future takes them.

Rating: 9/10

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