South Carolina’s only grind band, WVRM, will release their new album, Colony Collapse on the 3rd of April via Prosthetic Records.
Colony Collapse captures the evolution of WVRM’s sound and politics in one relentless and violent release. Far from being a leading light in a burgeoning local scene, WVRM are the only light in a miniscule scene in Greenville, South Carolina. Whilst the city is also home to death metal stalwarts, Nile, there is no flourishing hotbed of musical activity to be found. This creative isolation is just one of the driving forces behind the forceful aggression of WVRM.
WVRM last gave us a full length back in 2016 with the album, Heartache. There has been an EP in Can you Hear the Wind Howl along with singles and splits in the time between but a new full length is long overdue. WVRM are Dylan Walker on bass, Brett Terrapin on drums, Ian Nix on vocals and Derick Caperton on guitars.
As expected from WVRM, Colony Collapse is 14 tracks of pummelling extreme metal. Often hitting us with short, sharp explosions of fury with tracks like the 35 second long War Promise//Secessionville which is two separate blasts of brutality and speed separated by a quick slab of bassy groove. The other super short track, Hands the Bear the Hive is 33 seconds of fire with dual vocals, one deep and one higher, taking turns at roaring a line over a screeching guitar and haze of drums. Their neat little tracks but are over as soon as they have started so have little time to make an impact.
Other tracks breach the minute mark but barely like Shining Path, Violet Nuclear and Black Flags Towards Sodom (Me Ne Frego). The extra time does allow WVRM to cram a bit more into the songs. Black Flags to Sodom gets really low and dark with some filthy vocals and huge bass slams. Violet Nuclear is a rager, with a booming starting drum before the track goes nuclear on us with an explosion of aggression and frustration. Shining Path is a little bit more restrained. Still heavy and full of pace, it just has a more recognisable rhythm that you can pick up and get in to.
All these little blasts are enjoyable but only to a point. Where WVRM really excel and excite for me are when they have more time to get their creative sides going. Even with more time their songs are hardly long but give a band like WVRM 2 or 3 minutes and they go for the kill. It’s these songs where I think they come into their own and show themselves as leaders in the extreme metal genre.
Walled Slum City opens the album and hits you with raw chaos amid a cacophony of screeching. Then, nearing its end, it switches to a huge slamming groove that leaves you shuddering. Anti Democracy//Locust Breath is a banger with more of the swooping groove at the start, rage filled vocals and insane drum beats that switch timing at will. Thorn Palace goes straight for the jugular in one of the heaviest songs you will hear this year. Wave after wave of anger rushes at you with pace, power and precision. The vocals absolutely rip in this track using different tones and a non stop delivery to get their point across.
The album ends with a double header of these longer tracks too starting with the title track, Colony Collapse. Colony Collapse is an interesting one. Rather than a straightforward song it just utilises feedback and echoes with almost spoken/shouted word to male what is more of a long intro for the final track, Angel of Assassination.
WVRM obviously want to leave a lasting mark as Colony Collapse fades into Angel of Assassination before suddenly exploding into life with vicious riffing, intense drums and desperately aggressive vocals. Despite the in your face fury, Angel of Assassination has plenty of time to drop down into a slower groove that will command heads to get banging before dragging the pace back up into a pit destroying rhythm. Your last thought as Colony Collapse comes to a close will be “damn that’s good”.
Colony Collapse is almost what you would expect it to be. Insane drum blasts, distorted riffs, lots of feedback, huge bass drops and vicious vocals rolled up into short songs to deliver maximum impact. I guess in that way it is a little predictable though never disappointing. This is a really strong album. Very much staying on the extreme side of metal with rarely a step outside of it. For fans, WVRM are dependable and Colony Collapse delivers another huge album full of songs to scare your parents and shock your “nicer” friends. For the metal heads, it’s an album full of fire and fury with just enough groove in the tracks to prevent your heads from exploding in the mix of blast beats and feedback.
Colony Collapse by WVRM (Prosthetic Records)
The Final Score - 8/10