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The Star

Sweden Country of Origin: Sweden

The Star
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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: May 31st, 2024
Genre: Black, Melodic
1. Stjärnfall
2. A Distant Glow
3. Liminal
4. Galactic Blood
5. Thousand Doorless Rooms
6. Suffer Existence
7. Ro

Review by Michael on June 5, 2024.

With The Star Swedish quartet Wormwood close out their trilogy and end it all for good. Yes, the universe (no less) will end with the album. After having discussed the Swedish famine on Nattarvet and the end of mankind on Arkivet they finish it all now with the big bang (in reverse). Just like on the two previous albums they have a highly melodic approach in their music. Some parts are super melancholic and arranged with these typical Swedish folk melodies that make you feel slightly depressed but nevertheless they don’t leave their chosen path and continue with a lot of tremolo-picking and harsh black metal vocals. I would say that vocalist Nine sounds even more aggressive than on Arkivet.

The opener ‘Stärnfall’ starts with a keyboard intro that could have originated in a C-horror movie from Italy back in the 60s. But soon, after some tough tuning the song turns into a super diverse track with many twists and turns which is good because it reaches almost 9 minutes of running time (the second longest song on the album). This is very courageous from the band to put such a long one as an opener because such things sometimes may turn into flooey. But not here – although the song needs some time to grow and also has some ambient parts in the middle of it, it turns out to be a super catchy one. But this more experimental approach isn’t to be found on all of the 7 songs. Some of the tracks go straight forward, groovy and catchy though more black metal rooted than ‘Stjärnfall’. ‘Liminal’ is a good example of it. Harsh vocals with some growls at times combined with a lot of tremolos and fast pacing drums set the frame for a very interesting black metal anthem. Especially the rousing melodies that are, as I mentioned before, sometimes really very melancholic and grip the listener instantly. The guitars that sometimes tend to go more into some classic heavy metal match perfectly here.
The only song that is a little bit challenging because it's uniformity is ‘Thousand Doorless Rooms’. In these seven minutes the band is very repetitive but fortunately the song is peppered with some tragic melodies throughout. It's not a bad track really but it may be the most unexciting one on the album. With the mish-mash song ‘Suffer Existence’ where they combine the typical Swedish folklore with violins, female vocals and some massive black metal outbursts and the closer ‘Ro’ Wormwood are back on track. Especially ‘Ro’ is a song that is hard to explain. The song lives from its calmness. Starting with clear vocals and acoustic guitars it turns out into a mid-tempo song with few fantastic melodies that (once again) evoke some truly sad feelings and maybe even some profound existential thoughts. And finally at the end we just find some cosmic noise. The story is told in three different stages: you are stuck on a comet to watch the world go under is the first one, it is also about Tobias Rydsheims personal life (he wrote the lyrics for the song) and the third one is about death and getting peace and calm. It depends on how you read the lyrics because there are some homonyms in there.

I would say that Wormwood thinks outside the box even more so than on the previous albums because they surprise the listener with some more progressive (almost Pink Floyd-like) tunes here but it all meshes really well on The Star. If Wormwood was always a little bit experimental with their stuff, then they went one step further here. This is a worthy finale of the trilogy and I am curious about what the band will choose as the next topic; this three-album-story was a really sad and pensive one with no happy ending. But the end is unavoidable, that's a fact we all have to face. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Rating: 9.5 out of 10