Ritual Hymns

Worm Shepherd

WORM SHEPHERD is a Symphonic Deathcore band from Brockton, Massachusetts. "Ritual Hymns" is the group's […]
By Alex Barnard
April 5, 2022
Worm Shepherd - Ritual Hymns album cover

WORM SHEPHERD is a Symphonic Deathcore band from Brockton, Massachusetts. "Ritual Hymns" is the group's second full-length album, released by Unique Leader Records on January 14, 2022.

There were so many pig squeals on this record that I thought I could smell bacon while writing this review. What fascinates me most about this group, however, is that, unlike most Deathcore bands, they seem to take hardly any influence at all from the Brutal Death Metal scene, as only hints of groups like SUFFOCATION and DYING FETUS poke through. For the most part, what I would say this band has influences from more melodic groups like BEHEMOTH, AT THE GATES, and DIMMU BORGIR, as well as from some of their contemporaries in the scene like CHELSEA GRIN and LORNA SHORE. There is the occasional devastating breakdown ("Chalice Ov Rebirth"), but this band seems more focused on melodic content than on brutality - even if at times the melodies are a little repetitive or facile (like on the title track).

This band operates like a well-oiled machine. Leo McClain's drumming is consistently tight and blisteringly fast, as evidenced on tracks like "Wilted Moon" (the drum break before the blast beats towards the end is phenomenal). Ryan Ibarra, Brandon Cooper and Tre Purdue play incredibly heavy and melodic riffs, though why there needed to be three guitarists in this band is a little beyond me. And finally, Devin Duarte makes noises with his mouth that sound like they come directly from my nightmares, going from a Randy Blythe-esque growl to a Donald Duck-like squeal in an instant.

Other highlights from this album include "The Ravens Keep," with its groovy riffs and long, dramatic build up; "The River Ov Knives," with its chugging breakdowns and Black Metal-inspired moments; and "Winter Sun," one of the more technical entries on this album and one hell of a closer.

Overall, I enjoyed this album quite a bit. I've never really been known to be a fan of Deathcore, but the orchestral elements elevated the experience a bit more than I had anticipated. Be sure to give this one a listen if you have always wondered what it would sound like if EMPEROR and FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY had a baby, because frankly it works.

7 / 10









"Ritual Hymns" Track-listing:

1. Ritual Hymns
2. Ov Sword and Nail
3. The Ravens Keep
4. Chalice Ov Rebirth
5. Blood Kingdom
6. Wilted Moon
7. A Bird in the Dusk
8. The River Ov Knives
9. Winter Sun

Worm Shepherd Lineup:

Ryan Ibarra - Guitars
Leo McClain - Drums
Brandon Cooper - Guitars
Tre Purdue - Guitars
Devin Duarte - Vocals

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