Baltimore, Maryland's Dan Barrett is responsible for the on-again, off-again blog Wounds Of The Earth, dedicated to spreading the dystopian joy of underground Industrial music. Putting his money where his mouth is (and vice versa) he's spearheaded his own musical project called Worms Of The Earth which explores challenging realms of harsh and ambient electronics that merit attention if only for the breadth of styles employed on The Angels Of Prostitution, a dense and richly layered work that contains eight stirring pieces as well as five remixes from the likes of DYM, To Mega Therion, Vicious Alliance, Dead Man's Hill and Embodi.
The album wastes no time in setting up a horrifically uneasy atmosphere with a chorus of screams that lead into the first proper track, "The Whore," with its unrelenting rhythm and sheets of scathing distortion which are counterbalanced by a choppy, old-school synth "melody" and disquieting samples. "I Watched Them Hang" contains the sort of chime that seems ripped from a child's nursery rhyme but is twisted to reflect the terror of an adult's nightmare, accentuated by a skittering beat pattern that continually shifts and evolves to accommodate even drearier moods.
Getting in on the fun for the fourth track is Bugs Crawling Out Of People label mastermind Squid, through his It-Clings moniker, executing one of his trademark cynical rants to a backdrop of ambient decay which builds into a compelling mixture of grinding bass and propelling kicks while maintaining an almost orchestral aura bubbling forth from the pit at stage left. The Untitled piece which follows is a downtempo meditation that possesses enough power and noise to be worthy of a better name. The haunting structure and gorgeously unnerving melody accentuate the sampled monologue nicely making it one of the highlights of the entire disc. "Famine Wears The Mask Of Prosperity" employs vocals that sound like a mixture of Harsh EBM and Black Metal. Unfortunately the voice is pushed too far up in the mix masking the brilliantly layered music and ringing tones that make the song such a wicked treat. The album ends with "Under The Bodhi Tree," tying together the philosophical themes and musings on mysticism that make The Angels Of Prostitution music for the mind as much as music meant to inspire movement, driving its point home with a phenomenally stirring rhythm that is unlike anything else heard on the album and mixing in some meditative chanting for good measure. This near-eight minute track alone makes the collection worthy of the price tag, combining ancient wisdom with modern technology.
"The Whore" inspires three wildly divergent remixes. Dead Man's Hill turns the track into a sort of ritual gathering preparing for a sacrifice. DYM unleashes the dancefloor fury while retaining a decided Powernoise edge. For their part, To Mega Therion embrace terror-fueled ambience and jackhammer efficiency for a four and a half minute foray into ghastly static. And yet Barrett stands assured as the conductor of this symphony of sickness pulling the strings like a masterful puppeteer, spinning a dark and cautionary morality play to the tune of some impressive music which references the classic and the innovative.
The Angels Of Prostitution is one of those gems that you may never discover on your own but once it's pointed out to you it becomes a treasure to which you will return often. It may take a few spins to really sink in but once it does you'll marvel at the simplicity, revel in the audacity and cherish the seething vulgarity inherent in this bold statement. If you've been on the fence about this whole "Powernoise" thing but are interested in something that has considerably more depth than what you've been hearing in the clubs I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Worms Of The Earth. This is haunting music that sticks with you long after the last beat drops.