Album Review – Path to Oblivion by Goreworm
Goreworm – Path to Oblivion EP – Released: March 23rd
Reviewed by: Squiff Champman
Brantford based death metal band Goreworm was created when Brent Moerschfelder and Jordan Elgersman decided to get together and write a studio album for fun and for their love of music. As the songs came into fruition, drummer Sean Bruce and guitarist Jordan Estrela joined the project and CDN records took an interest. It became more and more apparent that they were onto something and as a result they decided to make Goreworm into more than a studio project. Later Derek Gibbs joined the group on bass and the line up was set. Goreworm’s first release “Path to Oblivion” was released March 23rd 2018 through the Ontario label CDN records.
“Rest in Piss” is the first track on the album. It is the intro to their first release and they start things off in a way that musically mirrors that idea of being torn out of the void and into existence. The first thing you’ll hear is a big sustained chord from guitar, drums and bass while a single clean guitar plays an ethereal and spacy melody. You’ve just been warped through space and time in to Hell, which, of course is exactly where you belong, you are Goreworm after all. The progression is a slow moving epic atmospheric durge that changes to a few bars of tremolo picking and back again. There are a few cleverly timed staccato hits that you might not see coming just to make sure they have your attention. As the song ends the drum’s warn you that you’re about to be dragged full tilt and head first through blood rot and fire.
Flying like a bat into hell track Two,“Wombraider”, begins pummeling you with relentless drums and discordant but harmonic, lightspeed guitar and bass
parts. These parts move between high end arpeggio/harmonic based melodic riffs and low end crush-groves. Brutal. Demonic snarls and growls are introduced and if you didn’t believe me that you’ve been warped into hell itself, then what the f*** was that!?! As one might expect there’s a break from the onslaught for a breakdown that while predictable is nonetheless poignant and well fitted to the tune. There’s something here for metalcore fans, black metal fans and death metal fans alike – There’s a lot to unpack here but I’ll keep it simple, the song is a great alternative to taking speed. It is fast and brutal without sacrificing groove and headbangability, it is an exercise in extreme control of chaos.
Song Three is “Beneath the Plastic”. The drums still hand you your ass as they start and stop on a dime. The guitars will melt your face and shred your ears, and the layered vocals at 0:33 sound like what I imagine being engulfed in napalm would feel like. Pig squeals are an art, they can easily be a crutch if not inappropriate or distasteful but this was really well worked. Great song, well written, all killer no filler.
Song Four – “Final Nightmare”. While the phrasing of the guitar riffs so far have a slightly metalcore flavour to an otherwise death metal approach the opening riffs of “Final Nightmare” strike me as more traditionally death in its note choice and formula, until those sustains at 0:08 – 0:11. Every part of this song evolves rather than following a linear songwriting style thus yielding yet another wonderfully complex song that doesn’t lose an ounce of musicality for its technical complexity. This track has some of the most diverse parts in the album yet, the songwriting is as brutally contrived as the instrumental parts themselves. The first guitar solo of the album happens after 2:16 where an awesomely creative semi break-down grabs you by your throat as Goreworm forces your surrender to their greatness.
The next track starts with old church bells, distant thunder, and the sway of waves filling the background as the ominous sound of a knife being sharpened makes your hair stand on end as you think “That can’t be a good thing”. Get ready to dig in, the second last track is “Family Matters”. It starts with a series of synchronized hits that betray your expectations of Goreworm’s tendency to start songs like a bullet out of the chamber but before long the song takes flight. Still consistently high quality and arguably more ominous and dark in its harmonies than most of the previous tracks, there’s something that stands out in this tune. At 1:57 there’s a guitar part that departs from the rest of the track, rather than being a counterpoint to the “main” guitar part this one functions as a melodic line over the rest, I suppose it’s a solo but it feels more structurally necessary than just a guitar solo. It has a rising feeling to it and a noble / dutiful sound that implies patriotism to a cause or idea rather than a place. It lifts the song and gives it a more symphonic and orchestral feeling before falling right back into the
depths. 2:47 – There is your guitar solo, the end of which re-incorporates as a more structural part of the song with some support from a second harmonized guitar and gives way to even more devastating death metal goodness. Crushing vocals and well placed squeels bring you to a call and response of organ crunching palm mutes and the existential dread embodied by the dark but clean guitar melody. The song ends with one last shot intended to make sure you’re finished beyond certainty.
The last song is the title track “Path to Oblivion”. This six minute beast fades in with soaring guitar harmonies. The wings fall off and are replaced by guitar tones that sound distinctly laser like. This tune is huge, it has everything you’ve heard before but it’s even more brutal. Pedal tone guitar parts contrasted with lightning fast descending melodic parts. The vocals have the most definition yet, which is saying something, it’s not easy to sound like the Lucifer while retaining clarity. As an aside, how is this drummer not tired yet? This balls out blitzkrieg creates such a thrust that when it slows down for a second at 1:55 it creates a vacuum effect that sucks you in and launches you into a thickly layered, heavily melodic, and furiously powerful…wait is that a Chorus!? Whatever it is, it’s my favourite moment of the album hands down. There’s some more great examples of crush-grooves and A1 Vocal work. I think the only thing that hasn’t had its own flare so far is the bass – it’s well mixed and it’s busy doing its own thing holding down complex guitar parts but it’s the only instrument that hasn’t put a sparkle in my eye while listening. Speaking of parts that stand out: 4:15 sports a tremolo part that isn’t doubled with a counterpoint for a change and it definitely grabs your attention as the most monophic part of the song and album. Yes there’s still another guitar part over top but there is something gritty and raw about the progression of the song being held down by one voice when you’ve grown used to well orchestrated cacophony. Guitar solo’s start to trade off and at 4:24 there’s a distinctively Yngwie Malmsteen-esque phrase that leads into some ruthlessly appropriate sweep picking. While its an impressive part I find the transition back to the song is one of the only transitions in this entire album I wasn’t on board with. That being said sometimes you have to make sacrifices and I’m definitely not going to be the one to say the should have taken out the best sweep picking part on the release just because it had a shaky landing. The song continues and after a part that’s reminiscent of volleys from a firing squad at 4:47 – 4:53 we’re back to that awesome celestial chorus. It’s a really f***ing good chorus. As the last chorus gives way an audio clip fades in. It is accompanied by sparse drums that drip with reverb, a winding clean guitar part, and some natural harmonics played on the bass. The release ends on a part every bit as atmospheric and ethereal as it began, and just as it has lulled you into a sense of finality a single dissonant note at 6:01 strikes to unsettle you and make you question is it over?! Am I safe!? Well now that Goreworm is out in the real world Is anyone ever really “safe”? No, no we’re not. But go grovel so they might take pity and make your ears bleed (in the best way possible) rather than your eyes. Thanks for listening and thanks for reading.
Rating: 4 out of 5 circles of Hell
1. We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!
2. That was what I expected fighting your way to, and through, Oblivion would sound like. Just with better songwriting.
3. Rumor has it that Goreworm created their own laser beams in the studio just to get the exact guitar tone they wanted, tracking that must have been a blast.
4. That drummer (Sean Bruce) deserves a F***ing drink.
5. You’d be smart to grab a copy of “Path to Oblivion” and check out Goreworm live if you get the chance..
1 out of 5: Virgil never rescued you, your trek through oblivion never even began.
2 out of 5: You never made it past the first circle and are stuck in limbo for all time.
3 out of 5: You drowned in the river Styx.
4 out of 5: You traveled through oblivion and met Lucifer but he was no match for Goreworm!
5 out of 5: Actually, there are 9 rings of hell and maybe we’ll see the rest of thems on a future Goreworm release.