Of Worms (EP) by FOUL

Aaaaand we’re ripping this coffin right open with the maggot infested bloated corpse of Caligari Record’s first 2019 release.. the debut EP by FOUL, Of Worm. Yes, it sounds exactly like you think it does. In fact, it literally sounds like a bloated, maggot-infested, corpse that moves faster than the doom filled death metal it spews. Despite hailing from the grim skied slice of America in Seattle, these dudes don’t sound like they’ve had a Starbucks coffee in their entire lives. FOUL’s flavor of death metal is low, slow, guttural, and gruesome. With 3 of the 4 songs of this debut EP pushing 7, 8, and 9 minutes long; they take their time offering servings grimy, various bodily fluid - soaked death metal for all to love.. and if you love death metal as much as I do, this release cannot be ignored.

FOUL, who I am coining as Seattle’s Best Death Doom Quintet, I promise to stop with the coffee jokes as soon as they’re done delivering the sickest and thickest death metal ever committed to cassette (more on that later), which means never. Not to over shower the record with praise like FOUL perhaps does with zombie worms upon us, but this is some wickedly awesome shit. From the opening drum pattern of “Effigy of Tredepucle Emaciation” to the final echoes of “Feculent Unbirth”, FOUL deliver a pure exercise in sensory overloading doom death listening pleasure.. or torture.. depending on where you stand in this bodily matter. The music seems to ooze into your brain much like aforementioned undead army of worms and infect you with their flesh eating disease of filth and despair, as FOUL create a gloomy monstrosity of musical compositions that is equally as infectious. Their ability to present the low and slow, doom riff heavy, and gloom-filled atmosphere infused with the guttural vocals and punishing death metal percussion that sounds like a horde of zombies headbanging on coffin lids, is remarkably intriguing. Take one listen to “Sorceress Of Worms” that begins with a slow and haunting guitar melody and statically atmospheric noises, and ends like that most gore-soaked fast and ripping death metal you’ve ever heard. The diversity of the guitars (I’m assuming there are two in the band) is something FOUL definitely use to their advantage and know how to navigate those dark waters. One listen and you can tell this is not just any mindless heavy death metal with ridiculous song titles, although they are and they are amazing, these are deliberately calculated compositions that resonate with the snobbiest of death metal snobs, kind of like me.. maybe.

As mentioned, the vocals are impressively guttural, which happens to be my preferred brew of extreme metal singing. Although puke-worthily low, there is some range here on the vocals as they do amp it up with a scream every now and again, kind of like a cherry on top of the worms. The tempo of the tunes change quite frequently and dramatically, which not only makes the record more interesting but also gives the vocalist room to flex the ‘ol acid reflux muscles and display them in a cool way. The fact that Caligari Records is releasing this on a cassette, is only going to make the listening experience and the sound of the chaos that much better. As I am just reviewing a digital copy and patiently awaiting the arrival of the cassette. That being said, though, I do think there is something to the lo-fi cassette recordings that make this gross, disturbing, dangerous type of music sound better. It’s the best case scenario, IMHO.

They sound very “old school” death metal at times which is something I’ll never complain about, yet totally fresh.. unlike the corpses and imagery they are employing. They’re blend of delicious death notes with a doom underlying and theme of gloomy impending death and maggot feasting is quite refreshing, way more than Starbucks. HA. At other times, such as on the track “Writhing Tectonic Bicephalith” the juxtaposition of droning doom guitar notes against full speed ahead death metal drumming sounds quite compelling, and sick. In the world of death metal, it’s not necessarily easy to sound fresh and inventive, so a good way of doing such is stitching the rotting flesh of another genre of music to it, in this case that is the flesh of doom. Even so, bands that crossover genres and forge their own unique sound are not always successful, as it is a very difficult thing to pull off with legitimacy. It’s one of those things that sound better on paper than when put into practice, most of the time. For example, how many forgettable “blackened thrash” is out there? You get my point. FOUL pull off the genre blending with the best of them and being as this is merely their debut EP, I couldn’t look forward to more what they’re going to unleash from their pungent crypts upon us in the future.

Rating: 4/5

Gym Rating: 4/5

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