It’s strange that a Canadian label is buttressing San Francisco’s metal scene, but that’s what Profound Lore does. Hammers of Misfortune, Ludicra, Amber Asylum, Worm Ouroboros, and Saros (who have this site’s current shirt of the week) share a good number of members, and they’re all on Profound Lore’s roster. Right now the label is running a Bay Area special where the latest CD’s by Ludicra, Amber Asylum, and Saros are available as a discounted package here.

A Birth A Death

“Muscle relaxant metal” might seem oxymoronic, but I found it with Horseback, and I’ve found it with Worm Ouroboros. The sound is slow but rich in detail. Those familiar with bassist/vocalist Lorraine Rath from Amber Asylum will hear similarities to that band: clean guitars forming dark, delicate webs. But Worm Ouroboros go metal at times, and therein lies their magic.

Most bands go from clean to dirty with the stomp of a pedal. Worm Ouroboros are more like a hand gradually clenching and unclenching. Songs unfold in waves, working through textures of varying grit. The mood is generally hushed, but sometimes it swells to great heights, which makes the music very “human.” Most people are not full-on anything; they have an emotional range. This record feels like a sentient being, albeit a double-headed one, going through the ups and downs of life, albeit a rather somber one.

The band’s voices are Rath and guitarist/vocalist Jessica Way. When they harmonize, the effect is so gorgeous, it’s almost brazen. Some commentators have applied the term “chamber metal” to bands like Worm Ouroboros, Amber Asylum, Grayceon, and Giant Squid. (The latter two are also from the Bay Area.) Rath and Way sound like a mini-choir not from heaven, because that would be too boring, and not from hell, because that would be boring also, but from a place in between: a bar in San Francisco with dark wood paneling, a Victorian facade, and an adjacent alleyway where lost souls sleep.

— Cosmo Lee
Photo by Brandi Valenza