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The Wandering Midget : Garden Of Worm/The Wandering Midget (Split)

If you need a reminder of how good Finnish Trad Doom can be, here it is, in tasteful retro vinyl.

I don't know why a sudden outbreak of short but sweet split releases seems to have landed on my desk of late, but since I'm covering a few - well, why not this one? It's a neat little 7" vinyl offering, somewhat weirdly, given its brevity, pressed for 33 1/3 rpm. The tidy psychedelic open-fold sleeve gives you all the necessary information about this collaboration between two of Finland's more interesting contemporary Doom bands. According to the press release, it's something they've been thinking about for ten years or so. Probably just as well they got round to it, to be honest, since - for the moment, at least - splits and singles seem to be about the only way you'll get to hear anything new from either band.

I feel like it should be a little redundant to go into too much band detail here: if you're a fan of the Finnish Reverend Bizarre school of Trad-Doom-with-added-oddness, then both acts should already be cherished parts of your collection. If not, I guess wild horses couldn't drag you within voluntary earshot. So let's just assume you're already quite familiar with the full-length catalogues of both, and dive in...

Garden Of Worm get their offering in first, continuing the more trippy, spacy evolution of their sound away from the very Trad roots of their self-titled debut. 'Whirls' delivers a build-up of increasingly squalling guitars over a compelling, hypnotic bass riff, before sliding into a dreamy, drifting vocal, the whole track dripping with a late-'60s vibe melding the Psychedelic rock of early Golden Earring with the angular guitarwork of King Crimson. Sure, there's nothing very much totally new in the world, but Garden Of Worm's entertaining mix of the modern and the throwback gives one optimism that the next full-length will be building on the solid Prog/Psych foundation of 2015's 'Idle Stones'.

You do, of course, have to go a lot further back to find The Wandering Midget's last album, what with 'From The Meadows...' having surfaced in 2012. But we did get three tracks in 2017: a brief demo, an 18-minute epic on a split with Hands Of Orlac, and this one. Still not shifting far beyond their Epic/Trad-steeped heritage, 'Man With Black Hole Eyes' sees the 'Midget channelling their inner Candlemass in 'Solitude' fashion. Again, not altogether a new thing, but one that's handled with a seamless ease between the contrasting balladic and heavy sections. And hopefully last year's burst of recording activity is a sign the band's finally in need of another wander.

As ever, it's pretty difficult to make much of a recommendation for any single-length outing to be an essential purchase. On the other hand, it's a nice retro package - and, perhaps more to the point, it's what there is, if you want to be reminded of how good both bands are. So there's the double bonus of having a little stop-gap taster of them right now, and the hope that it'll encourage them both to get back in the studio to do a proper album. I'm certainly okay with investing a fiver in that - which is the going price on the UK Pariah Child webstore. Play loud, feel the vibe, and enjoy.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
Garden Of Worm
1. Whirls
The Wandering Midget
2. Man With Black Hole Eyes

Visit the Garden Of Worm bandpage.

Duration : Approx. 12 minutes

Visit the The Wandering Midget bandpage.

Reviewed on 2018-05-13 by Mike Liassides
Rotten Copper
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