Wormwitch’s newest LP Heaven That Dwells Within knocks the listener with a one-two punch of gothic mysticism and brutality. The Canadian heavy metallers offer what’s likely among the most ethereal musical kicks to the gut that you’re going to be able to find, striking an unexpected middle ground between the extremes of oppressive, wide-ranging black metal and music that while heavy is a little more “human,” like angry hardcore.
Their recipe creates their unique folk-feeling black metal that takes a nontraditional approach to getting to the secretive (metaphorical… for now) forest gathering that many bands of this stripe might be aiming for. In a way, Wormwitch feel more “dirty” than a more familiarly styled, atmospherics-infused metal band, and they use this distinction to their benefit. Their music doesn’t soar above with lofty ambiance or tunnel to the murky depths with inescapable sludge or doom. Instead, it rockets through the underbrush with an urgency that demands the listener’s attention, staying afloat atop a steady breeze of straightforwardly heavy music.
The album’s vocal work is more accessible than a lot of extreme metal, while remaining mostly harsh. The discernible lyrics allow for an extra layer of intrigue to flow through Heaven That Dwells Within, as the musical base abruptly carries you into another nearby dimension and the lyrics fill in some of the blanks of just how wild this dimension truly is. The album feels like taking a moment to ponder some of that massive ethereal nature out there, even if you’re only seeing it in your head and not actually standing in front of a forest. This music has transformative power, and feels transfixing, capturing the essence of a substantive extreme metal experience that is in many respects all the band’s own.
Taken to its extreme, Heaven That Dwells Within offers the opportunity for the listener to take on some of the massive characterizations that make an appearance. This is a story that you can close your eyes and engage with, while at the same time it reverberates through your physical body thanks to the music. Wormwitch have zeroed in on an exciting opportunity for extreme heavy metal, acting like the gatekeepers to a strange new world.
Listen below via Bandcamp. The full album drops via Prosthetic Records on April 5.