Wormrot – Dirge (Earache, 2011)

There will always be a place in my heart for Abuse, an album that revived my passion for grind and remained in constant rotation for two years. But as much as Abuse warms the cockles, Dirge has earned its keep. Insinuating itself into the interstices of my daily routine, Dirge has become the de facto soundtrack to 18 minute slices of my life. The album's treblier production and incisive riffs have the uncanny ability to cut through the din of commuter train drone, Manhattan street cacophony, subway roar and rumbling road noise. Dirge pushes punkier arrangements, chuggier chunks of distortion and some straight-up fistfuls of metal, dispensing a shocking jolt of adrenaline. Every time I crank this thing up, I feel as if I'm pissing on the proverbial electrified fence.

Rasyid seems to draw from a fathomless pool of essential grind riffage. His guitar work on Dirge remains intensely satisfying in delivery and diversity. I was slightly disappointed in the guitar tone on the album at first, but with time, I've grown to adore the bark of its mid-range distortion. These riffs intertwine synergistically with Fitri's absurd drumming to induce a feeling of falling continually down stairs, head first. Dirge is a maniacal rhythmic feast. Fitri's drumming remains primal, animalistic and inspired; he is the Keith Moon of grind in my mind.

Arif is a man of many voices, from porcine indigestion to wretchedly withered screams. He spews brilliant grind aphorisms throughout the album, constantly shifting tone in a dissociative downpour. Dirge's allure is magnified by its 'fuck off and die with a smile' attitude and brilliant lyrics. I can't count the number of times I've involuntarily screamed, “All go no emo!” while walking down the street; it's become a motivational mantra.

Abuse's magnificence was miraculous, its impact personal. Dirge's intensity is addictive, its effect a physical, utilitarian rage. Both are essential.


Earache is still offering Dirge as a completely free download here. Being a lover of plastic discs, I pre-ordered the CD before it came out.


i still think this is a really good album, but i just keep wanting something more. abuse had that undefinable something for me that made it the whole package. dirge just doesn't click in the same way. it still slays just about everything else, but i think it's a step back from abuse. but that's the curse of setting a really high bar for yourself.

atanamar said...

I've somehow been able to disassociate the two albums so that I can appreciate Dirge differently. I had problems contemplating it at first, but that changed over time. One day I went for an hour drive, popped in Dirge, and listened to it 3 times in a row while weaving in and out of traffic and screaming at everyone in my path. That day it just clicked, and I could listen to it next to Abuse without a feeling that something was missing. I suppose this sounds like some kind of grind religious experience. Maybe it was.

that's what i get for taking the metro then.

i will say, of all the formats, i prefer it on vinyl. it may be my crappy stereo, but i think it's got an extra pop that really adds something.

Great review. Like you, I believe that Abuse and Dirge can be considered on their own merit. Dirge is more incisive and precise, but Abuse is appealing for its ragged intensity.

One of the best of the year, no question.