Last year, the Singaporean band Wormrot released what was considered to be one of the best albums of the year, Hiss. If you have not listened to this or anything that Wormrot has done before, you are making a big mistake. But jokes aside, having seen a brand-new hype surrounding Wormrot made this particular UK/Euro tour particularly interesting. Joined during this outing by Implore vocalist, Gabriel Dubko, standing in for Arif (who left the band for family reasons shortly before Hiss’s release), the grindcore legends have decided to end their tour with a bunch of UK dates, including one in London at New Cross Inn a few weeks ago on 1st April.
Starting the set like nobody’s business, London death metallers Vacuous did not waste any time in getting the audience riled up. But one thing that made me tick for a second, the signer definitely looked different from the last time I saw them in Brighton, but after realising that it was the vocalist from Gorgon Vomit standing in, I went back to headbanging and shooting the band. Black Mane – that’s his name – has some sort of magnetism around him, he ate up the place and gave an extra edge to a pretty solid death metal set, although no disrespect to Jo Chen, he’s fantastic too.
The audience was really into it, even if it took a few songs for the crowd to start moshing with the help of Black Mane. Musically speaking, they delivered an amazing set and proves once again that Vacuous are one of the best new death metal bands in the UK. It was fast, it was brutal, it was quality death metal.
Next up was Wasted Death, another London-based band who were more on the punkish side of the spectrum. The trio, comprised of members of Petbrick, Big Lad, Beggar and USA Nails, are self-professed goofballs who will take nothing seriously (as they should), but will deliver fast-paced songs with crazy drums and fat riffs. And delivered, they did, whilst interacting occasionally with the audience. They proved that you can be awesome and fun to be around. The second half of their set included a bunch of new songs rom their Prequel To Evil EP, which is also a gem.
The third band of the bill was Charred Atlas, who arrived just in time for their set – I cannot imagine how stressful this must be, but then again, I took Southern Rail to go to this gig, so if you know, you know. As soon as they arrived, the band unleashed their chaotic power violence, lasting less than a minute for most of them. If fastcore or power violence isn’t your thing, then having such short songs might seem a bit pointless, however, with Charred Atlas, they managed to add an extra bit of fun in their performance and their songs, ranging from customer service to royalty to Elon Musk. They’ve gained a few fans that night, myself included.
But the real deal was when Wormrot entered the stage. The moment Vijesh Ghariwala (drums) and Rasyid Juraimi (guitars) arrived, all hell broke loose. People started to fly around, being tossed all over the venue like luggage at Luton Airport and Gabriel Dubko hadn’t even started to growl. When he did, it was over. I knew at that point two things; one, I need to back up and protect my camera at all costs from beer spills and stampedes, and two; this is going to be a show for the history books.
Wormrot mixed their set between old classics and new classics, Dubko was stellar as a vocalist and did such a brilliant job at conveying the aggressiveness of their sound. He never tried to be Arif, he did his thing, and it worked perfectly with both Vijesh and Rasyid. The three amigos seemed very happy and humbled by the packed venue, cheering for them at every turn and every break. The set was just shy of one hour, but everybody wanted more. Mind you, most of those in attendance have been wanting to see Wormrot for years, so they would not let that opportunity slip if they can have extra songs being played.
The whole show felt like a big party and, let’s be honest, what is a grindcore show if not a big party, eh? Rasyid shredded like a king, Vijesh drummed like a beast and Gabriel growled like a boss, that show was so exceptional that my humble live report feels very little in comparison to what they gave South London on that April Fool’s night.
Wormrot deserve every bit of hype, recognition and legacy points after this set, and I’m sure that those who saw them in Leeds, Paris or Helsinki will feel the same way I do. The opening acts also did an incredible job, and they also deserve their accolades and support. What a night it was, tens across the board!
Words & Photos by: Nessie Spencer