If you're going to record and offer an EP or single release to fans to pad your sales between full length albums, the least you can do is offer material that they don't already own in one form or the other. And with Worm Infested, the first Cannibal Corpse EP since the now useless Hammer Smashed Face 10 years prior, they have done exactly this. At over 22 minutes of music, Worm Infested offers two new studio tracks, three decent cover tunes, and a re-recording of "The Undead Will Feast" from the debut Eaten Back to Life, with Corpsegrinder's vocals in place of Barnes.
"Systematic Elimination" is the only track here to be redundant with the 15-Year Killing Spree boxed set to release later in the same year, but it's a competent bludgeon that capitalizes on the high velocity catapulting rhythms inherent on the last full-length album Gore Obsessed. Of special note are the brutal rhythm guitars beneath the wildly flailing leads. "Worm Infested" itself is not quite as good, but there's a lengthy scale pattern that weaves through the track, giving it a feel of Middle Eastern mystique ala Nile. Next is a cover of "Demon's Night" ala Accept, from the Restless and Wild album, and as usual, they do a good job transforming into something of their own which wouldn't sound completely out of place in a set list among their more brutal originals.
"The Undead Will Feast" isn't a far cry greater than the original version with Barnes' vocals, but I do prefer Fisher in the end and the mix feels more brutal and up to date with the 21st century Cannibal repertoire. "Confessions" is the band's 2nd Possessed cover, having done "The Exorcist" a decade past on their Hammer Smashed Face EP. It seems Fisher attempts to make the vocals too close to Becera's original, I might have preferred his grunting tone here, but otherwise it sounds exciting and solid. The last track on the EP is a cover of Metallica's "No Remorse", which rocks as hard as it ought, and like the Accept tune, they again make it their own.
Worm Infested was a decent tide-over until The Wretched Spawn released in 2004, and not a bad listen, confirming that 2003 was the year of the Cannibal Corpse cover (the 3 covers at the end of Disc 3 of 15-Year Killing Spree were also that release's strong point). As for the originals, "Systematic Elimination" is quite good and very similar to the material for the next album. The Accept and Metallica covers are also worth hearing, but the overall value of this release is simply not in league with the previous albums like Bloodthirst or Gore Obsessed.
Verdict: Indifference [6/10] (value of horrors instilled)