Worm Oroborous - _Come the Thaw_
(Profound Lore, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (6.5 out of 10)
Worm Ouroboros takes their name from a pre-Tolkien heroic fantasy published in 1922. While the story has its share of sorcery and fantastic creatures, it ultimately shares more in common with myths and folktales than what considered modern fantasy. I only discuss this because I love talking about elves and wizards. More importantly, however, the literary aspect for the book frames the band and provides context for _Come the Thaw_. This is not what you were expecting.

Worm Ouroboros is being grouped into the contemporary evolution of heavy metal. It is difficult to even pinpoint what genre the band would fit into if they were heavier. Perhaps doom? Maybe black? Worm Ouroboros' charm with the public radio audience is being likened to the success of Agalloch. In fact, much of the attention came after the two toured together in 2010. Though Worm Ouroboros fits into the current narrative shaping heavy metal, their music feels more ancient and ultimately separate from what is happening. _Come the Thaw_ could have existed in 2002, 1982 or 1612.

_Come the Thaw_ is not a metal record, as Worm Ouroboros is not a metal band in the traditional sense. In fact, I feel that most of my recent reviews have been in the realm of fringe metal. The band's melodies are soft and atmospheric, with vocals that never growl, screech or hiss. Rarely does the music travel into distorted territory. It would be wonderful if the band, despite its reservations, crafted a record which tore at the listener's soul and spirit with silence. While _Come the Thaw_ does resonate in its own negative space; what it has to say may be whispered too softly.

My reservations for _Come the Thaw_ only come on the heels of joy for the band's self-titled debut. Additionally, my first experience with Worm Ouroboros was at an Agalloch show, in a crowd of bookish liberal librarians. In person, the band's loud portions are earth shattering and the contrast between soft female vocals and encroaching doom is exquisite. At times, I feel the heavy aspect of Worm Ouroboros is lost on recordings -- that their albums are traveling towards another direction.

_Come the Thaw_ is softer than their previous 2010 debut. Both have been released by Profound Lore Records, which is a current dealer in genre bending heavy metal. By comparison, _Come the Thaw_ is softer, yet more complex in its journey. Songs often take seven to twelve minutes to mature, and may or may not yield closure. Songs like "Withered" work as single, yet when cast in an album of ambient meditation become less defined and somewhat lost. Worm Ouroboros is not heavy metal stripped to its minimal essence; rather a band working on from completely different formula.

Though _Come the Thaw_ has little to do with traditional heavy metal, its spirit and boldness are enough to warrant interest. Profound Lore's willingness to redefine the parameters of heavy metal with striking releases is commendable. _Come the Thaw_ deserves attention, if nothing else for its sincerity. Personally, I need something else. Something stronger, faster and harder -- something that won't send me running to old Judas Priest records.

(article published 6/5/2012)


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