It is always interesting seeing how different bands achieve success or fame. A personal favorite of mine is the slow-burner; the band who refuses to succumb to poor label advertising and an inconsistent audience. The band who throws out release after release until they gain a cult following and hopefully eventually break out onto the full-time status. While possibly the most-noble, it is also the hardest to wish upon anyone. All too often, bands such as Demilich, maudlin of the Well, and Ved Buens Ende come along breathing new life into their respective genres, only to be buried under the weight of over-saturation until some lucky sod stumbles across a limited cassette release and proceeds to plug them in every forum thread available, leading to posthumous success that is somewhat unrecoverable. On the other hand, we have my least favorite fame-hoarders. Those bands who manage to ride on a social media rocket to instant appeal. Their success is perpetuated by generic musical decisions easily pandering to the largest demographic, and their output is quickly snatched up by the prying eyes of mainstream over-watch. Case and point, Boreworm. Their breed of progressive death metal is one part Black Crown Initiate worship, two parts brain-dead deathcore chugging. New EP Entomophobia does nothing to change their unfortunate status. The only reason I know of them is due to a YouTube sketch of theirs going viral, and should they keep up their current stead, that will be the only thing I ever remember them for.
I had a rough idea of what to expect of the band from the get-go after hearing snippets of their prior work on their aforementioned YouTube video, and opening track “Synapse” opened up exactly as I imagined. Here was my thought-process as I braced for the worst: an atmospheric intro followed by preemptive stereo riff building, an explosion into a blast-fueled riff, a chorus of sorts with creepy leads ringing overhead, then a possible rinse-repeat. This is essentially what happened, and the riffs were about as uninspired and by-the-numbers as progressive death metal could allow. This isn’t a bad EP by any measure. “Vile Husk” is a standout, proving the band can write some seriously technical and ridiculously heavy stuff whilst still retaining some semblance of self-pride, but nothing sounds new or in any way indicative of a band who wants to push any form of originality to the forefront. It doesn’t help that Nightmarer have already released a considerably stronger progressive death metal EP this year that follows many of the same inspirations. The drumming on Entomophobia is surgical at best, following the guitars like there is no tomorrow. The guitar playing is just as precise but has very little sense of direction, and at times becomes utter trite (especially when the band feebly attempts to incorporate quieter dynamics or solos into the mix). Unsurprisingly, the vocal performance is about as flat as a 2D pancake. What we have here is a band with the recognition of an up-and-coming-titan with the production and technical values of a widespread-hit playing with the enthusiasm of an unplugged computer. Entomophobia is far from a fun release, and it is likewise far from unimpressive. Never before have I listened to something so geared towards being average. This is the epitome of mediocrity in progressive death metal, and I have zero inclination to listen to it ever again. Progressive death metal fans will enjoy it for its associated internet video success, and the rest of us will shrug our shoulders and move right along.
3. Vile Husk