From fire to smoke, funeral grind trio Clinging to the Trees of a Forest Fire (“CTTTOAFF”) pissed out their final embers in 2013. Before this smoldering heap dissipated, vocalist/guitarist Ethan McCarthy was mounting another three-man brigade, Primitive Man. This blackened doom outfit is a repugnant incarnation of CTTTOAFF’s “funeral” lobe; their virulent sound vomits in spaces even darker than the brain it’s sliced from. In 2014, McCarthy and original CTTTOAFF bassist Zach Harlan resuscitated CTTTOAFF’s “grind” lobe beneath a new moniker, Vermin Womb. They filed a new drummer to their ranks and unfurled their debut EP Permanence. Vermin Womb is total fucking agony. Anti-life; self-annihilation. They are a laceration of blackened deathgrind seeping with sludgy pus. Now, two years later, Vermin Womb claw out of the ash with their first LP, Decline. With the return of original CTTTOAFF drummer J.P. Damron, the leprous triumvirate rises again and releases one of 2016’s most vile records.
Decline is a sarcophagus. Carved of blackened atmosphere and stained with mankind’s atrocities, Vermin Womb “Entomb” listeners under a stone lid. Bastard feedback, scathing blasts, and McCarthy’s loathsome barks stifle what little oxygen exists in the casket. Harlan’s bass oozes and throbs between the sludgy black riffs. Depravity licks the ebony air. It’s pure filth. Death metal riffs drip with black mud; Damron’s percussions pummel, grind, and eviscerate with grisly precision. “Disrepair” gasps with head banging respite. “Present Day” smothers it. Putrid sludge pours track after track. The shrill dissonance induces delirium. Guttural howls encrust the dark confines with vitriol. It’s so claustrophobic; the end is nigh. “Cancer” retches unfettered grind. A malignant tumor chokes what final breaths remain. The instruments decay to a groove; the heartbeat slows. Morbid ecstasy fills the brain, a satisfying high. Veins harden, they run dry, and life ceases to be.
Score: 9.0 / 10.0
Listen to Decline above; purchase the record here.