HISS, the fourth studio album from Singapore's Wormrot, is feral grindcore in the grand tradition of early Napalm Death, Brutal Truth and Terrorizer with a modern 2022 twist.
Wormrot is a modern grindcore band from Singapore. Formed in 2007, they toured the underground circuits diligently and were subsequently signed to Earache Records in 2010. Highlights of their long tours are a ridiculous performance in a train carriage in the prestigious Glastonbury Festival, an iconic set in Baybeats, touring with Obituary and Misery Index, and a moment that will live forever in internet lore, performing in front of a goat in the deepest of France.
Said guitarist Rasyid Juraimi on HISS, “Burnout. Life’s responsibilities. Touring. Complacency. While these are the few of the many factors for the lack of new output, it wasn’t the main reason. It wasn’t because we were on hiatus as we were still doing live shows until the pandemic hit the world hard. What we lost was inspiration and motivation, or at least I did, being the composer of the band. I diverted my attention to other projects, hoping that along the way I would experience something significant that might jog my creative memory. Nothing happened until three-quarter through the writing process when we were brainstorming for the album cover and its title.
"We’ve had discussions about the album cover for three years but nothing was sticking to the wall. Arif was adamant on a blue-themed album and I wanted a human face on the cover instead of the usual monsters we’ve had for our past albums. During one on my daily drives, I started reflecting on us being dormant for many years and likened ourselves to an injured snake coiled up in a hole, healing… and that was when it clicked. The spark. A simple image with no words. After sharing it with the rest, we knew how the album is supposed to feel like. Presented with the idea of a woman half-submerged in water like a crocodile biding her time and waiting for the right moment to pounce on her prey, Jon Chan, a living legend in the Singapore music scene, brought uncanny realism to our vision. I threw in the word 'hiss' among many others to Arif and Vijesh, let it simmer for a few days and we came to agree unanimously that HISS couldn’t be more apt.
"From that moment on, things started moving like clockwork. New songs flow effortlessly. Revisions were made to old songs. We were trying new things in the studio and incorporating new sounds from other disciplines. Vijesh brought in some extra percussion. I pulled in Myra Choo, an intern at the studio, to add some violin textures. I was experimenting with effect pedals and writing lyrics. Arif had to adapt and change his technique to avoid exaggerating his vocal cord tear, but that added a fresh texture and a new voice. What we did not expect was how great of an impact all these changes had on our sound until we heard ourselves in the mixing stages. We do not sound like the Wormrot from before, and yet it felt so natural.
"It feels like there’s no better time to release HISS than now. The pandemic put us out longer than we expected and it seems like we are close to the end of it. The world is adapting and we’d like to be part of the mental recovery for the underground community. We hope to draw more attention to grindcore and prove that grindcore is not to be taken lightly. On a personal level, it has been too long since we put out our last album. This is us finding new vigor and regaining confidence after years of lull and uncertainty.”