There’s a lot to be angry about in the world. Often, virulent individuals and groups who may appear to be lone wolves or odd ones out end up symptoms of a greater malaise, not to mention the lasting structural issues like climate change, income inequality, accompanying crushing poverty, and more. On their new album Colony Collapse, South Carolina’s ferocious grind band WVRM blast through the fog of these issues with an apparent dead-eyed intent on reaching the other side, chaos and all.
The Sounds of Colony Collapse
In the process, WVRM cultivate new developments for their grind sound too. Across Colony Collapse, which drops officially on April 3 via Prosthetic Records, WVRM introduce startling elements like lengthy sludge passages. Sounds popping up also include noise pedals, violin, a Chinese prayer bowl, cello, and Tibetan prayer bells. Attention-grabbing audio samples with ferocious calls to arms for the downtrodden also make an appearance.
“As far as we’re concerned grind can be pretty much anything,” vocalist Ian Nix shares. “As long as the core of your sound you still have that classic grind ethos, you’re free to experiment. Grind can be the fastest thing you’ve ever heard or the slowest, and everything in between. If we’re not inserting new things into the overall sound then we feel like we’re not living up to the expectations of the art form. That just can’t happen.”
The band’s sound delivers on that premise big time. Their new album’s title track veers through contorted feedback squeals along with some of those outre instruments for its entire runtime. There’s no major, leading riffing — just the soul-crushing, contorting harshness that feels emotionally like getting forced through a grater.
Chronicling the Horrors
The band put meat on these bones with their relentless attention to the plight of those economically and socially left behind from the big shiny development taking place elsewhere. Right from the get-go on opening track “Walled Slum City,” Nix roars that there’s “no savior for the children of slum city,” who are going to be left “outrunning” poverty and loneliness forever. Those soul-chilling, all too real sights only intensify across this album. On single “Thorn Palace,” which opens with a feedback screech running through an audio sample of a speaker demanding that his listeners rise up and claim their place, Nix proclaims: “Upon ancient steps/ Where civilization once ascended and took its final breath/ I felt my soul decay.”
Nix explains “just being poor” as the spark for their social awareness. He adds: “Everyone around us is in a downward trajectory from our parent’s generation. The South is very stark as far as the comparison to those that work paycheck to paycheck and those that benefit from greater generational wealth.” The specific regional aspect of the band’s concern breaks through loud and clear on the beastly “My Fucking Dixie (The New South),” with its startling lyrical portrayal of “puking up death as the southern wind howls.”
Nix comments: “It’s a catharsis that’s not only about social change, but you’re compelled to think about social things in a positive way that you can relate to. It’s cool to see there’s people out there that feel what you do and present it in a way that makes sense. That anger that bursts forth from the speed and heaviness of grind just brings it all together.”
Going Forward Together
Nix cites Malevich, Bled To Submission, Moru, Katabasis, EscuelaGrind, and Wake among those bands operating in a space similar to WVRM.
“We want everything to come across,” Nix explains in reference to their latest work. “Lyrics are important, and the ideal listening experience for me is listening while reading the lyrics. But at any rate the best way I’ve found listening to this album is going through start to finish and back again. By the time the album ends and you start it over, you’re just like shit this thing has so many different songs that give you all different experiences.”
The album ends up like a soundtrack to the real, tangible horrors unfolding both across the globe and right here in front of our faces. WVRM’s grind feels like a galvanizing force.
“I am optimistic, honestly,” Nix shares. “I’ve done a lot of work in the Bernie Sanders campaign and even though we were disappointed and fucked over here in South Carolina, I’ve somehow found myself around amazing people that are going to make a huge impact. We don’t exactly have a choice. Climate change will wipe us out if we don’t act and giving into nihilism isn’t an option for me.”
Listen to some from Colony Collapse below! Nab pre-orders by clicking through or at this link.