The so-called ‘Wormrot Effect’ is in full swing. Their explosion in the Western world has led to an increased focus on the subcontinent and on South East Asia, and one beneficiary of this appears to be
Wừu, hailing from Vietnam. Even five years ago, you’d be hard pressed to believe the Vietnamese had any sort of an alternative scene, let alone a grind band capable of caving your head in with as much if not more intensity than their Western counterparts.
Wừu only formed at the beginning of the year, and have worked hard just to get their music out there. Its helped them a little that J Randall’s Grindcore Karaoke, seemingly a diamond magnet for underground extreme talent, has picked up on them via grind zine Grind To Death, who produced their debut album ‘888‘, and is now putting ‘888‘ on a pedestal. Keep digging GTD, Randall, and world in general, cos the rewards are phenomenal.
‘888‘ contains 33 tracks, and most of those come in at around a minute or longer. By any stretch that’s quite lengthy for a grind album, particularly when the recent prime cuts have been leaner at around 20-25 minutes. Thankfully, this doesn’t prove to be an endurance test, something we will touch on shortly.
It starts innocently enough with an electro-rock intro track, ‘Khi những thiên tài xuất hiện’, and wouldn’t sound out of place in a video game. A little strange, yes, but after a minute or so of that, it’s all hands to the pump.Wừu don’t spare much in their arsenal, laying down all manner of blasts, shreds, breakdowns, death metal riffs, punk riffs, screams, growls, pig squeals, yelps and more besides. Tracks like ‘Anophen’ and ‘Chạy Chậm Thôi‘ are harsh, battering ram that pummel and punish, and their death metal slant gets ample airing (Ròi, Thúi Quá, among others).
Every so often Wừu break up the action with Oriental-esque interludes that are seemingly the polar opposite of any of the brutality that precede them. Acoustic jams like ‘Chém Gió’ sit happily alongside their grind compadrés, and don’t hang too long to unbalance the album too much. Some people might think they’re silly and unnecessarily, and indeed, there’s one or two that are just too weird and silly to make sense alongside the general musical theme. That said, the album benefits from them simply because the break in action prevents the tracks from bleeding into one another.
I couldn’t tell you what they sing about, as everything is in Vietnamese. That’s not a bad thing – the vocals are indecipherable enough anyway, that even in English they wouldn’t matter that much. Some of the quirk on ‘888’ might throw the listener a little bit and at the end of the day, Wừu‘s grind isn’t that much different to grind from anywhere else in the world. It just so happens they’re pretty damn good at what they do, especially for a fledgling band. They might not be a household grind name yet, but let’s see if they can build some momentum like Wormrot, or at least get noticed a little more widely and join the current grind elite. In 888, the signs are extremely positive.
Download ‘888‘ here (free download)