Do you like your doom full of gloom? Your genre lines gray and blurred? If so, then Mooncurse by Boston-based Wormwood is right up your alley. It’s a melancholic affair showcasing seven tracks of depressive, blackened doom. Wormwood has progressed from a two piece on their self-titled 2014 release to a full fledged band of seasoned veterans (featuring members of Doomriders, Phantom Glue and The Red Chord) and their craftsmanship is palpable. It’s an impressive album that needs multiple listens to really grasp all the musical nuances. The Neurosis love is front and center, but there’s so much more going on.
“Infinite Darkness” is a slow burning, mid-tempo journey through the blackest depths of despair. With an eerie violin opening that sets the somber atmosphere, the song serves as a killer setup for what’s to come. It’s heavy in tone and themes, which can be said for pretty much every song on the record, yet Wormwood manages to bring the dejection while not tearing the listener down. Armageddon is on the horizon, but this is a celebration, not a eulogy. “The Undesirables” follows up with some seriously catchy chord progressions, reminiscent of Remission-era Mastodon at times. There’s tons of hooks making this almost an anthemic song, if it weren’t for the brooding nature.
The title track “Mooncurse” switches things up a bit. Chris Pupecki’s vocals are prodigious; try not to sing along with him as he laments “In the night she called my name. Curse the moon. Curse the moon.” Pupecki is a force of nature, adapting his vocal style to best suit the masterful riffing he and fellow guitarist Mike Gowell bring to the table. There’s a New York black metal vibe, as well as some post-rock sensibilities, all intermingling with crushing doom. Gotta be my favorite track on the record, hands down. The song’s composition is formidable and the riffs are choice cuts. It’s a banger for sure.
The back half of the album is more straight forward doom than the front. “Parasitic Twin,” “Burn the Psychic Vision” and “Passage of Fire” keep the riffing mournful and in a comfortable mid-tempo range that they rarely stray from. The songs are killer but I find myself missing the musical diversity found in previous tracks. After listening to Mooncurse countless times since its release, this is really my only complaint. Wormwood have created something unique and highly enjoyable with this release. It’s confident and well crafted. November has me thinking about year end lists and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this make an appearance on some. Wormwood’s future is bright, even if it’s only in luminescence.
Mooncurse is available now through Wormwood’s Bandcamp page.