This is Part 4 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day until the list is finished, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two we’re announcing today, click here.
The songs I’m rolling out today make for a tasty but nasty pairing. Unless I miss my guess, they’ll root their way under your skin in a heartbeat and proceed to swarm your system, take command of your brain stem, and compel head nodding and fist-pumping — and maybe a “Hail Satan!” or two.
Chapel are based in Vancouver, Canada and they released their debut album — Satan’s Rock ‘n’ Roll — on August 1 via the Irish label Invictus Productions. I found out about them via a recommendation from NCS patron SurgicalBrute and proceeded to write about them here. To crib from my own words about the album:
“It fucken rips hell. It’s not hard to imagine that if hell were real, this would be the party music of choice. Matching rock and punk beats with filthy riffs, burned-raw vocals, and acetylene solos, Chapel have created a virally infectious debut release.”
Here in the Great Pacific Northwest, we’re still 13 hours away from the turn of the old year into the new one, and the obligatory celebrations haven’t yet begun on our metallic island. But due to the mysteries of time zones and datelines, it appears that 2013 has arrived or is about to arrive elsewhere — and how the fuck does that work?
Anyway, with the dawn of a new, arbitrary calendar date fast approaching, we want to thank all of you for your support of NO CLEAN SINGING during 2012. It was a great year for metal and a great year for us as a site.
We’re looking forward to what 2013 will bring. We already know it’s going to bring even more outstanding music — we will soon be publishing a list of forthcoming albums that we’re eagerly anticipating, with an invitation for you to add to that list based on what you’ve seen and heard.
And we hope the New Year will bring you fortune, fame, lasting love, happiness, multiple orgasms, a job, a fast getaway, the utter destruction of your enemies, or whatever else your heart desires.
It isn’t even 2013 yet and already we at NCS are getting pimp-slapped by the hand of Zeus himself in the form of Omnium Gatherum’s new album Beyond. As Islander said in his review, melodic death metal of the darker sort had an absolutely fucking killer year in 2012, and to get hit with something of the same ilk already for 2013 gives me have very high hopes for the new year.
I will admit, this is one of those bands who I loved whenever I ran across them but never dove into out of sheer laziness or occupation with other things. I can say, however, that I’ve dived into this album, drowned, been brought back to life, and have repeated this cycle over ten times in the last twenty-four hours. Beyond is a dense, layered, passionate, and macabre work that could very well already seal my first favorite for 2013.
Like all melodic death metal that’s been killing it lately, Omnium prefer to immerse you in layers of interwoven melody lines as opposed to hard-hitting riffs, arming themselves with depressing yet infectious-as-plague melodies, ever-driven drum work, and a keyboard with a very Blade Runner-esque feel to it.
(We welcome back guest contributor BreadGod with his list of the year’s best albums. I’ve taken the liberty of adding links where bands on his list were previously mentioned at NCS.)
2012 came and went, the world didn’t end, and everyone felt like an idiot for believing in all of that apocalyptic bullshit. One thing’s for certain: this was one of the best years – if not the best year – in metal history. The number of awesome metal albums released during this year is unprecedented. It was really hard for me to make this list, but after much listening and pondering, I narrowed it down to ten albums I feel are the best of 2012. First, my honorable mentions:
Abominable Putridity – The Anomalies of Artificial Origin
Abyssal – Denouement
Axis of Light – By the Hands of the Consuming Fire
Aylwin – Soil And Cold
Barrowlands – Demo 2012
Bitwa – Glory To Swietowit
Buried – The Only Promise
(TheMadIsraeli continues his reconsideration of the music of Kataklysm. To see what this is all about, check out his introduction to the series here. Previous installments can be found via this link.)
The Prophecy (Stigmata of the Immaculate) (2000) is definitely the weakest entry in Kataklysm’s body of work up to this point despite the fact it is more certifiably brutal than the album previous. This also begins the thing about Kataklysm that is really going to irk me for the rest of this discography — opening albums with downright stupid monologues or silly movie quotes. This is also going to be the shortest review of this series up to this point, so I think we’ll just include reviews of two additional albums because of that.
The Prophecy can be summed up pretty easily. It’s nine songs of bland, uninspired, blasting melodic death metal that attempts to recapture an intensity reminiscent of the band’s Sylvain Houde era material that they just don’t have it in them to do anymore. A bad move on the band’s part. The mix is also intrusively grating in all the wrong ways.
(Continuing with this year’s edition of Listmania, I again invited Johan Huldtgren of the killer black metal band Obitus to share with us his year-end list, because I’ve consistently found his musical tastes to be solid and interesting. Once again, he agreed. An expanded version of this list appears on Johan’s blog.)
I suspect few will be surprised by my choices this year. The list sees the return of many previous candidates, however a few newcomers have managed to make the cut this year, some fairly high up. Samples have been included to give you a taste, so you can either realize how correct I am or question your sanity for even reading this list. Now take it away in the comments.
10: Blodhemn – Holmengraa
This sounds and feels just like the early to mid 90’s. There is nothing new here, but for someone who enjoyed the music of that era this certainly brings it back to life.
(Yesterday, TheMadIsraeli began what turned out to be a glowing review of a new album by a Japanese metal band named Shatter Silence with his opinion that, generally, “Japan’s metal scene sucks”. Here follows a response by our Japan-based contributor Phro, whose own blog is here.)
So, apparently if TheMadIsraeli doesn’t know anything about your scene, it sucks. While we probably shouldn’t spend too much time kowtowing to the whims of Internet badasses, here’s a list of some Japanese metal bands I found after 15 minutes on Google. Gee, that wasn’t so hard, was it?
(Obviously, this is hardly a complete list, nor is it in any way representative of the entirety of the Japanese metal scene. And it largely reflects my personal taste, though I’ve included some bands that I know are popular, even if I’m not necessarily a fan.)
This is Part 3 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day until the list is finished, I’m posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two we’re announcing today, click here.
2012 was a great year for melancholy, doom-influenced melodic death metal, and both Finland’s Before the Dawn and Sweden’s In Mourning can claim two of the best releases in that genre. Both of their albums supplied multiple candidates for this list, and it seemed like a natural fit to pair the two that I ultimately selected.
BEFORE THE DAWN
The dulcet clean vocals of Lars Eikind may be gone, but Tuomas Saukkonen is still at the helm of Before the Dawn, and on Rise of the Phoenix he masterfully charted a new post-Eikind course that proved to be tremendously satisfying. As Andy Synn wrote in our review of the album, “at its best this album marries melodic power and precision in a way few others can match.”
My initial temptation was to put the song “Phoenix Rising” on this list, but ultimately I couldn’t resist the siren’s call of “Throne of Ice”.
(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the 2012 album from Japan’s Shatter Silence.)
I generally think Japan’s metal scene sucks. Watching from afar, it seems to me that for as much as many Japanese worship the music, as much as they are such rabid fans of it, very few of them “get” metal when it comes to creating it. What’s even weirder is that the bands who DO seem to get it, who produce badass shit that sounds like the musicians have a grasp on the music, seem to be completely overlooked within Japan. This is only what I and friends have witnessed, so if anyone wants to prove me wrong I’d be glad to find that out.
Shatter Silence are one of those badass bands. Hailing from Osaka, they deliver a blistering blast-furnace style of melodic death metal, intense in technical riffing and with thrash speed and relentlessness. This is the band’s sophomore effort; I’ve only heard a couple tunes off the debut and it seems just as killer, which is why it perplexes me that this band only has 300+ likes on Facebook. These guys do this style every bit as well as the Europeans, maybe even better in some cases than newer releases from the West.
The opener “Awake in Decay” is testament enough to this fact. It’s a whirlwind of molten riffs played with majesty and fury. The high speed pedal-point riffing and harmonized, almost black metal tremolo picked attack of this song, combined with the propulsive drum work brimming with energy, make for a pretty good introduction to what this band is all about.
Your only moment of respite is the introduction to the band’s clean vocals, which in this case take the form of a band-wide layered choral approach. It’s interesting, since they never once have a single voice during the clean vocal sections. It creates something of an angelic feeling in the midst of what is otherwise music that strips flesh from bone.
If there were a Hell, a special room would be reserved in it for the kind of sadists like us who publish enthusiastic reviews of new albums months before their release. But in our defense, Omnium Gatherum’s new album is one of those that, once heard, must be trumpeted to the skies without delay. Keeping quiet about it is simply too much to ask.
We’ve already posted Andy Synn’s detailed review, and we have at least one more coming in the near future, so I will be brief, especially because I’m still trying to finish compiling our list of 2012’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Speaking of which, with 2013 just around the corner, it’s time to start making a list of candidates for the most infectious songs of next year. I have no trouble deciding which songs from Beyond belong on that list: all of them.
Good lord, there ought to be some kind of law against stuffing a single album with so many undeniable melodic hooks and neck-snapping rhythms, or at least some requirement that they be shared with bands who slave away for years and never come up with anything as good as any song picked randomly from this album. Hell, the ballad “Who Could Say” would be a radio hit even in our metal-challenged nation if the vocals were exclusively clean instead of being mixed with Jukka Pelkonen’s monstrous roars.
But don’t get the wrong idea: despite the tremendous melodies, this is still very heavy, very powerful music, as often doom-shrouded and melancholy as it is furiously hard-charging. And despite the alluring simplicity of all the viral riffs, the music is multi-layered, with depths left to plumb after the first listen.