Review: WARDOMIZED – “Forced to Eat From the Apple Tree”… Posted: 28/03/2019 by Philip Morrissey
These days are not so easy. The political landscape exemplified by Brexit, the rise of far-right leaders, and leaders urging violations against the free press, continuing pressures on the housing and healthcare system along with industries designed to squeeze the working class. And that is why so many of us turn to grind bands. Essentially the bastard breed of hardcore punk and crust, it exemplifies the anger and frustration many of us feel. Straight up grind never really caught on here though. Sarcosis, Condemned, I’ll Eat Your Face, Ogre, Scald, Abbadon Incarnate, The Obscene Machine, Bisect, Grinned, Lesshelp, The State Pathologist Dr John Harbison, Unyielding Love, Grot all contained or contain elements of the sound along with doom, death, thrash and noise.
A relatively new band on the scene is that of Wardomized. Coming out of Belfast four years ago, they initially started their life having more of a heavy thrash feel to them. EP’s released that year, ‘In the Raw’ and ‘Live at the Warzone’ exemplified this. They had a busy start to their live career as well mainly playing around the north with the likes of Scimitar, Rabid Bitch of the North, Hollow Truth, Sorrowfall, Acid Age, Saint Slaughter, As time went along, their style began to alter, they started supporting bands on the extreme end of the scale increasingly. So bands like Abaddon, Basement Torture Killings, Disconnect, Overoth, Zombified, Mutilated Judge, The Crawling, The Exploited, Hellbastard, Zealot Cult and more. They also played a number of events such as Irish Metal Archive’s 5th birthday, Bilboa Death Fest, Thrash in the North, Warzone Deathfest, Poser Holocaust, Ghoulstock and Necrofest. A sign of their newer more extreme nature was shown in last year’s ‘Red Death’ single.
So how this stack up? ‘Suicide Death Rock’ contains the sound of guitar lines being opened up. From there, the cymbals crash, and the carnage begins. Unrelenting buzz-saw guitars and pummelling drums. Good use of the guest vocalist, Alessandro Rocco, of Deathbus and Neamhní. Both himself and main vocalist, Stephen McKeown, take goes in delivering pot shots at a specified target. There exists the contrast between a shrieking vocal and a deep growled one. Musically, it seems to be edging towards the crustier side of matters. Loose and frenetic. The pace relents slightly. This is merely a breather as a grinding bassline by Mick Largey pre-empts yet another attack. An infusion of groove element occurs prior to events becoming increasingly chaotic and turbulent. Some pulverising drums from Deane Montgomery arrive to finish the piece out. ‘Blue, White and Red’ is a much different beast however. And more interesting for it. The cymbals may crash again upon commencing but it is altogether slower and more menacing as a result. It is veering towards sludge territory almost. And it provides an interesting way of breaking things up. It would be easy for the entire release to be ten minutes of sonic assault. The playing still maintains a sense of disgust and filth albeit at a lower tempo. McKeown’s vocals reflect this also. It features the vocals of solo act, J’aime Rachelle, as a counterpoint. Some have mentioned the Chelsea Wolfe feel but there is also a nod towards people like Poly Styrene. It provides an air of experimentation to it. The rolling drum patterns, churning guitars from Eddie Cross and bass are suddenly ramped up as it reaches the end.
‘Brainrot’ is back on more familiar ground. There is nothing particularly pleasant or sophisticated present here. Just full on death/grind from the very start. The pace drops on occasion to reveal a fairly hefty low-end chug from Largey’s bass and the drums. From there, it is straight back into the action. Superb drumming yet again from Montgomery. Even during the slightly slower moments, it maintains its weight and ferocity. A sense of groove shows up yet again. Perhaps revealing aspects of their former thrash selves. It builds increasingly towards a deranged climax. ‘The Ultimate Demise’ is somewhat of a re-thread of the opening track. In a growled 1-2-3-4 intro, a hefty chugging bass breaks through from underneath, along with a few sporadic riffs by Cross and hurried drumming. The vocals are predominately on the low-end of the scale, with plenty of weight behind them. But not a complete bellow either. The playing is fairly loose and scattered in its nature. There is a nice link-up between the bass and the drums at one point. A bit of a contrast again between the growled and screamed vocals. The back-up vocals from Cross certainly packs a punch in that regard. It batters its way to its eventual completion.
It is perhaps a bit of a disappointment that the band did not strive to challenge themselves on the final number. It is not especially bad but slightly by the numbers. Chiefly, when they have demonstrated already they have the capacity to do something unexpected. As a band, they are beginning to grow in profile, and this can only be another step up the ladder. Not to say that it is unenjoyable. Far from it. It is quite muscular, strong and aggressive sounding grind. I would have liked to get a better sense of Cross’s riffs at times and maybe toughen affairs up with a couple of power chords. They seemed to be lost beneath the shuffle at times. The bass and drumming work is quite impressive though. An E.P like this can be used as a platform to build upon ahead of a future album release. Take the best parts, flesh out other ideas, move forward and keep it nasty lads.