Dec 312010

Now that I have your attention . . .

In the post below this one, we’ve got the next two additions to our list of 2010′s most infectious extreme metal songs, but I thought I’d add this post just for the hell of it.

The only organizing principle is that these items made me smile, and I thought maybe they’d give you some smiles, too, seeing as how tonight is New Year’s Eve and you probably won’t be capable of smiling tomorrow because you’ll be in massive pain recovering from your shit-faced, knee-crawling, sidewalk-smashing, pissing-in-the-sink, over-indulgence with all manner of inebriants and you won’t read anything we post tomorrow because reading is difficult when your eyes are crossed and imaginary demons are hammering your head with ball-peen hammers while cackling mercilessly and imaginary alien spawn are trying, slowly, to gouge their way out of your stomach like a crew of miners hacking their way through a seam of coal.

Where was I?  Oh yeah. Smiles. Smiling now because you won’t be able to smile tomorrow (and neither will I).  After the jump there is music, and video, and more arresting artwork . . .

Dec 312010

Another day, and two more entries on our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs.  For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this. And to see the songs we’ve named so far, click the Category link over on the right called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2010.

In a nutshell, what we’re doing is listing, in no particular order, the catchiest songs from a wide range of extreme metal sub-genres — not necessarily the best metal of the year (though lots of these songs would qualify for that kind of list), but the ones that most effectively got our heads and other parts of our bodies moving, and then continued to ring in our tiny brains even after they ended.

We ended Part 3 of this series with a band from Finland — Kalmah — and we’re starting Part 4 with another unique Finnish juggernaut: Finntroll. And then, in keeping with the folk-metallish theme of today’s entry, we’re following that up with a song from Switzerland’s Eluveitie.

Times like this, I wish I had really long hair, because these songs make me want to whip it around in a big fucking windmill. On the other hand, with my luck it would be caught in an air intake vent and be torn out by the roots. Or the cat would freak out and leap for my head with claws bared. So, maybe it’s just as well.

Where was I?  Oh yeah. Two more songs!  (read on, and listen, after the jump . . .)

Dec 302010

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Our regular contributor BadWolf has one more 2010 list. To show how broad-minded we are, we're posting it. It's not about our usual music, but it's worth considering.  And below this post is the third installment in our list of the year's most infectious extreme metal songs.]

So it’s the end of 2010, and finally the unstoppable torrent of mostly useless end-of-year lists is beginning to come to a close. As always, finding some consensus within the metal community isn’t that difficult—the same albums show up on lots of lists in different places over and over again to remind readers that yes, they should probably go pick up that new Deathspell Omega album and now’s as great a time as ever to get into deathcore or post-sludge or whichever genre those readers have not indulged in yet . . .

But aren’t we all missing something?

It’s been my personal experiences that metalheads as a whole can be slow to appreciate some genres outside our collective approximate comfort zone. I can be that way, at least. Fortunately for me, I have friends and fellow music lovers who expose me to tons of great not-metal records.

There are entire worlds of other genres of music that we haven’t even touched upon. And normally we would continue to not touch upon them, but it’s the end of the year and a great time to add just one more album to your download list in the interest of trying something new and exciting.

So, just for the sake of variety, this is my list of 10 unranked not-metal records that deserve a little love from our community. Every one of these is a good album, but they all have something or other that as a metalhead I find very compelling—a post-punk/dance band with grim, frostbit symphonic arrangements, a tremendous slice of guitar loving hardcore-influenced prog, the most brutal lyricist I’ve ever heard, and so much more await below.  (after the jump . . .)

Dec 302010

Here we have the next two entries on our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs.  For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this.

In a nutshell, we compiled a list, in no particular order, of the catchiest songs from a wide range of extreme metal sub-genres — not necessarily the best metal of the year (though lots of these songs would qualify for that kind of list), but the ones that most effectively got our heads and other parts of our bodies moving, and then continued to ring in our tiny brains even after they ended.

Our fifth and sixth additions to the list are songs from albums we reviewed earlier in the year, one by Canada’s Kataklysm and one by Finland’s Kalmah.

KATAKLYSM

In our review of this band’s 2010 release, we called Heaven’s Venom “an irresistible onslaught of powerful grooves and dark melody, fist-pumping anthems and mosh-pit missiles.” (more after the jump . . .)

Dec 292010

Today we have the next two entries on our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs.  For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this.

In a nutshell, we compiled a list, in no particular order, of the catchiest songs from a wide range of extreme metal sub-genres — not necessarily the best metal of the year (though lots of these songs would qualify for that kind of list), but the ones that most effectively got our heads and other parts of our bodies moving, and then continued to ring in our tiny brains even after they ended.

Yesterday we began the rollout with some old-school death and black/death metal. Today we have two diverse entries that in quite different ways show once again how aggressive metal can light up your life like genital electrodes — except in a good way.

KEEP OF KALESSIN

Norway’s Keep of Kalessin made a big mark on 2010 with the release of Reptilian. When we reviewed it in June (here), we noted its stylistic diversity and praised it as an album full of gems, organized in homage to the terrible majesty of the dragon.  (more after the jump . . .)

Dec 282010

We didn’t prepare our own official NCS list of 2010′s best metal albums. That was too damned much work, and we’re too damned half-assed to do it. Fortunately, we had a lot of other contributors and readers who were willing to do it for us. And to all of them, we offer our heart-felt thanks for all the fascinating lists to which we devoted most of last week’s posts.

Although we didn’t distill our own list of the year’s best albums, we do have a list. It’s our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this.

In a nutshell, we compiled a list, in no particular order, of the catchiest songs from a wide range of extreme metal sub-genres — not necessarily the best metal of the year (though lots of these songs would qualify for that kind of list), but the ones that most effectively got our heads and other parts of our bodies moving, and then continued to ring in our tiny brains even after they ended.

Today we’re rolling out the first two entries. This is NO CLEAN SINGING, and so we’re starting our list with some old-school death metal, or maybe you’d call one of the songs blackened death metal.

Anyone who says death metal isn’t catchy, isn’t infectious, isn’t memorable — well, all you’ve got to do is listen to these two songs and wise up. These songs make us proud to be metalheads. To quote NCS reader Bob MacBobbob — he of the beer can Christmas tree — “We’re as proud as men who have just busted a shit that won’t flush!” Have a listen after the jump . . .

Dec 272010

For 10 days last December, we dribbled out “The Ten Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs of 2009″ (the complete list is here). We decided to do it again this year, and tomorrow is the start of the roll-out. But we made a few changes.

For one thing, we changed the title of the list. We’re no longer calling it “the” ten most infectious songs, which in retrospect was pretty fucking pretentious. Instead, we’re calling it “our” list, because that’s all it is. We didn’t listen to every extreme metal album released in 2010. In fact, based on our reading of “best of 2010″ lists in metal mags and on metal blogs over the last couple of weeks, we missed out on lots of music that other people thought were better than many of the albums we did hear. So, we surely missed some great songs, and therefore we’re making explicit that this list is drawn only from what we heard.

For another thing, our list this year is longer. Making a list of our Top 10 last year was tough enough, but doing it this year proved to be impossible. Driven by the need to write a full year of posts for NCS, we listened to a lot more music. A lot more. We also gathered reader recommendations for candidates, and we listened to every song that was suggested. In the end, we just gave up on the idea of whittling the master list down to 10. Way too much work, and way too painful. Work and pain are things we avoid whenever possible.

So how long is our list? Fuck, we don’t know yet! We started with a master list of about 75, but by the time we’d reduced it to 30, we hit a wall. For every song we cut at that point, we added another one back. Reminded us of the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who the gods punished by compelling him to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, and to repeat this throughout eternity.  (more after the jump . . .)

Dec 272010

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Back in November when I was away on an undeserved but still enjoyable vacation and unable to blog, lots of good people stepped up and contributed posts of their own so that NCS wouldn't have to go dark while I was gone.

One of those contributors, The Artist Formerly Known As Dan, took a running head start on year-end album lists and became one of the first writers in metal blogdom to stake out a position on the year's best metal (here). That post scored a massive number of hits, no doubt due in part to the fact that it was featured on MetalSucks.

With the end of the year rapidly approaching, we asked Dan if he had made any revisions or additions to the list he prepared a month ago. What we got from him was this.]

So, I hope all the NCS readers aren’t bored with me after my first list. I thought my picks for the best of 2010 were pretty solid, but reading lists can get old, so now I’ll try to focus my attention on one subject. That subject is potential musical recommendations for my NCS brethren that are outside the realm of metal.  I have a pretty wide range of tastes, but I thought that at least some of my “other” music might interest a few of you, specifically because it generally follows the NCS manifesto:

-it’s not pop music

-it has at least one or more of the following characteristics: fast, punishing, cathartic, dark, powerful, crushing

-there is no clean singing

So let’s get started.  (after the jump . . .)

Dec 262010

This will be short, but sweet. It concerns 7th Nemesis, a French band we’ve written about before. We sang the praises of their 2008 album, Archetype of Natural Violence, here, and then in late August we reported that the band was on the verge of releasing a new album, two songs from which were available for listening on their MySpace page.

Now we’ve learned that 7th Nemesis has made the entire new album available for streaming on their official site, which you can access via this link. The album is called Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow. It features that very nice piece of artwork up above, plus seven songs of unpredictable, technical, progressive, inventive-as-hell death metal. Damn, is it good. If you’ve only got time for a sample, listen to “Distorted Mass”. It will twist your brain into a Rubic’s Cube.

The album is also streaming at MySpace and on the band’s Facebook page.  No precise word on when or how the album will become available for acquisition, but we assume it will be soon. You can expect a review here on NCS.

Dec 262010

Despite all my humbuggery about Christmas, yesterday was a good day, spent with family, unmarred by even one Christmas song. In what little time I spent listening to metal, I wandered back to a long song I’d discovered only the day before and have been listening to repeatedly. It’s called “Glemselens Elv” and it’s by Burzum. In other words, it’s by Varg Vikernes, from the 2010 comeback album called Belus. It’s an amazing piece of music, and so I decided to add another chapter to the mini-series on long songs that I thought I’d finished weeks ago. (What I thought was the last post in the series is here.)

According to Vikernes, Belus is “the name of the ancient European solar deity of light and innocence”, a more ancient name for Baldur — the “White God”, which was the original name planned for the album until it stirred up such controversy that Vikernes abandoned it. He further explains on the Burzum web site:

Belus is not a religious album or an anti-religious album, nor is it a political one, but an attempt to explore the myths about Belus and unveil the oldest roots of our cultural heritage. The album deals with the death of Belus, his sombre journey through the realm of death and his magnificent return. In essence the album and the story of Belus is meant to be an entertaining story about something that once upon a time played a major role in the forming and shaping of Europe. . . .

Inspiration for the album has come from a variety of sources, and I find my inspiration from fairy tales and myths, from classical music, from memories of what once was, from traditional music, from fantasy, from the wind and weather, from deep forests and running water, from the sky and the sunset, from misty mountains and from yellow leaves falling from age old trees.

Vikernes recorded the song in 2008 in the Tromsø prison, the year before his parole after serving 15 years of a 21-year sentence for burning churches and for the murder of his Mayhem bandmate, Euronymous. (more after the jump, including the song . . .)

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