ANYTHING GOES RIFF: Wormrot vs. Virvum


Today in RIFF or RAFF, it’s an anything goes free-for-all! The combatants came prepared with heavy hitters from Wormrot and Virvum. One riff will riff, the other will raff. Let’s do this.

LAST WEEK, Link’s Obsequiae submission bodied Karhu’s Nocternity pick in the battle for Castle Riff Supremacy. Good work, Link! Your prize is a gift from your Bandcamp wishlist.


NEXT WEEK, we will be fully entrenched in the hellish darkness of Daylight Saving’s Time. To commiserate, send me your best DARK RIFF. I wanna see your best riff from a band or song title with “Dark” in the name. Winner gets a Bandcamp gift. To submit:

-Write 100-500 words about why you your riff rules

-Include a link to stream your selection, the timestamp for your riff, and your screen name

-Email me at

THIS WEEK is an anything goes free-for-all! I asked you to send me a dope riff and two of you delivered. Listen up and choose the best riff.

(Timestamp: 2:00) Two words that this riff brings to mind: “catharsis” and “collapse.” By the time you’ve gotten this far you’ve made it through 16 gloriously hellish tracks, and Wormrot’s periodic alterations in pace have kept your interest and your energy high- then here, when you’ve been slowly building tension through two minutes of mid-paced headbangability, does it kick into high gear? You’d think it would, but nope. It drops down to a crawl, as if you trip and in slow motion fall face first into a gutter full of broken glass. That they’re working through a major third-perfect fourth-root-minor second progression keeps things a little off balance, as if upon picking yourself up from said gutter you find yourself concussed and weaving drunkenly through the streets in search of aid, lost and despairing as you now are. While it lasts only 30-40 seconds, it’s 30-40 seconds of slowly being dragged down, crushed by the weight, knowing that for all your efforts all that awaits is another collapse when the riff repeats. It’s a fitting paradox: the listener’s fulfillment achieved through the conjuration of abject misery. Likewise, it doesn’t resolve. You’ve been bludgeoned, beaten half to death by massive, droning chords, and then it ends without working its way back to the root. You’re left hanging, exhausted, dejected, somehow thoroughly satisfied; for all your efforts to crawl forth from your insignificant, cosmically putrid existence, this riff shall return to hammer you back into the ground, until you submit to the rot and to the worms. –Vladimir Poutine

I have a fondness for bands like Virvum that reside in a space that is ostensibly extreme metal but have a great ear for melody alongside the blast beats, tremolo riffs and death growls. Bands like Mithras, Fallujah, Inanimate Existence and Decrepit Birth (who COINCIDENTALLY all have records out this year) were joys to discover, and I’m happy to add newcomers Virvum to that list.

I’m going to lay it out up front for you here: Virvum’s Illuminance is one of my favorite records this year, and the closing track basically sums up everything I like about the record. The arpeggios are expressive rather than being all flash for the purpose of demonstrating skill, the guitar solos are instantly memorable instead of a pointless exercise in sweeping fast but in a higher key, and they know how to drop big, gorgeous, soaring melodies at the right time.
The riff in question this time comes hot off the heels of a sweeeeet solo at 0:27 (start there for full effect) and bursts through the stratosphere at 0:41, continuing gloriously unabated until it segues into a lower-key, dreamier tremolo picked version of itself at 1:02 for 30 seconds until the rest of the song kicks in. I am in all likelihood never ever going to go into space, but if I did, I can only imagine it would feel like this, blasting off in a colony ship destined for other galaxies and worlds unknown lit by distant stars and looming nebulae. This riff in particular I feel exemplifies the adventurous spirit of both the record and our desire to venture out from our home world and soar among the stars, come whatever may.

Basically if you plan on getting Mass Effect: Andromeda in March, here’s your soundtrack. Enjoy. And vote for me so Joe has to buy me stuff. (also a H/T to our friends Spear and Jack Bauer for bringing it to the Toilet’s attention) –Gurp

Now you must choose:

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