Tomb of the Worm was an obscure doomy, grind-metalcore band from Burlington, Ontario. The story begins in January or February of 1999, after Kyle Bishop was unexpectedly expelled from The Swarm aka Knee Deep in the Dead, in December of 1998. Throughout the summer and fall of 1998, Kyle had been composing a few new songs for The Swarm’s planned EP (which ultimately became “Old Blue Eyes Is Dead”, recorded in April of 1999 with a different line-up), including the songs “Crawling Through Glass”, “Best Laid Plans” and “Absent from the Morning Headcount”. On top of this he had a couple of new riffs which he had yet to share with the other band members and therefore weren’t The Swarm songs yet. After the fallout, Kyle immediately recycled these new songs for an all new band.

Although the motivation at first was rivalry and competing with The Swarm, Kyle ended up pouring his heart into creating something that became even better than what they were doing. The few that heard Kyle’s short-lived project remember that these new songs almost sounded like a mix of Converge and Cursed (although Cursed would only exist two and a half years later). Kyle named his new band, “Tomb of the Worm”, a metaphor for the vagina.

Through local connections Kyle had befriended Charles Moniz, who had previously played in Gang of Five Robots with Adam Mansbridge. Charles suggested that Kyle give Adam a call, who was at the time playing in Farewell to Flesh. The two met up at Kyle’s new house in Burlington (post-Wheatfield House), where he showed Adam the first two songs that were composed and some ideas for new ones. The two hit it off instantly and they quickly started working to develop the third and fourth songs. After about a month of jamming as a two piece, Kyle and Adam asked Charles to start jamming with them at a new rehearsal space, The Music Gym, at 919 Fraser Drive in Burlington.

In March they recruited Johnny Lubera, who had played with Grade members in Believe, but was at the time playing in Jersey. Johnny jammed with Tomb of the Worm for nearly a month, but his involvement was cut short due to Jersey’s busy schedule. In early April Erik Hoibak caught word of Kyle’s new band and quickly managed to book their first show at the upcoming 1999 Oakville Hardcore Festival (aka Southern Ontario Hardcore Festival, or SOHC Fest). Tomb of the Worm was scheduled to play on Saturday, May 15th 1999 at Munn’s United Church, the same location and festival where Grade and The Swarm had played the previous year.

May 14-15 1999 Southern Ontario Hardcore Fest/Oakville Hardcore Fest, Munn's United Church (Oakville, ON). Photo courtesy of Erik Hoibak

May 14-15 1999 Southern Ontario Hardcore Fest/Oakville Hardcore Fest, Munn’s United Church (Oakville, ON). Photo courtesy of Erik Hoibak

At the time that Erik contacted Kyle for the fest, the lineup was scheduled to feature As We Once Were, Buried Alive, Captain Co-Pilot, Confine, Disembodied, Disciple, Extinction, Kid Gorgeous, Maharahj, Notoriety, Shiloh, Subsist and Walls Around Us.

Tomb of the Worm needed not only a vocalist but also a new bassist who was willing to commit fully. Both Kyle and Adam had incredible screaming skills but they wanted someone who was able to dedicate himself fully to the position. Kyle and Adam planned to provide live backups. The first person to try out was Mike Wessel, a close friend of Kyle who had been operating Workshop Records since 1994. Kyle gave Mike a tape with live rehearsal recordings of their four songs and a week later he was practicing at The Music Gym. Mike’s span in Tomb of the Worm lasted about half a month. Various opinions point to either Mike leaving because he didn’t consider himself a good enough vocalist, but also that the band fell apart before he could be secured as an official member.

Tomb of the Worm wanted to have its first merchandise ready for the Oakville Hardcore Festival. They threw around a lot of different ideas about t-shirt designs, most of which revolved around an 80’s heavy metal style of art. A tomb was certainly going to be depicted along with an Iron Maiden styled logo and album artwork, featuring skeletons in military helmets, carrying spears with a background of a post-apocalyptic scene.

But the shirts, the show and even the demo they were roughly planning out (likely to be released through Workshop Records and with plans to sign with No Idea Records), would never see the light of the day. In mid-April Grade signed with Victory Records and Kyle hastily put Tomb of the Worm on the back burner. Kyle dedicated himself to vocals only during the next two and a half years, until he would form The Black Maria in November of 2002. Mike continued running Workshop Records full time, Johnny’s band, Jersey, was soon picked up by Warner Records’ sub-label, Fueled by Ramen and Adam went off to school. By the time the Oakville Festival came about, Tomb of the Worm were not the only bands to have dropped out. Disembodied and Extinction also couldn’t make it. But Erik did however fill up the roster with Cru Jones, Dead Season, Dead to the World, Ever Since Friday, Haligula, Malakhai, Race Traitor, Small Brown Bike and Thoughts of Ionesco.

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