Feb 072013

Last week I finally finished rolling out our list of 2012′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. The list mushroomed in comparison to my lists from 2011 and 2010 because last year I listened to more metal and a greater variety of it than ever before. Also, I’m really bad at choosing among things I like.

As long as the list turned out to be, I still wasn’t able to include everything I wanted to include, but I really felt it was time to stop before February began. I actually put a lot of time into making the list — time spent re-listening to hundreds of songs, time spent wrestling with myself over choices, time spent writing about each track. Since then I’ve started going back to reviewing new things and writing the regular NCS  features that I’ve been neglecting for most of the last two months.

But I’ve also made time to collect all the song streams (56 of them!) here in this post, in the order in which they appeared in the series from start to finish. I don’t claim that this represents a thorough survey of all metal genres or anyone else’s idea of which songs were the most infectious. It’s one person’s opinion reflecting one person’s tastes. Still, I hope it will be a good reminder of what a fuckin’ great year in metal 2012 turned out to be.

Jan 312013

Welcome to the 22nd — and final — part of our my list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 six I’m announcing today, click here. And in the near future I’ll compile all the songs in a single post.

That’s right — six songs, because 666. Have you figured out yet that I’m really terrible at making choices among things I really like? Do you begin to understand why I don’t compile my own year-list of the best albums? I mean, shit, this thing has grown to 22 installments and the only reason I’m finally stopping is because the month of January is over today and even I realize that it’s getting out of hand.

But we’re going out in a blaze of glory — a blaze of death metal glory, with six songs representing six different flavors of the genre, beginning with who else but . . .

CANNIBAL CORPSE

TheMadIsraeli reviewed this legendary band’s latest offering for us (here) and included this summing up: “Torture is the latest crusade in Cannibal Corpse’s tyrannical campaign to rule over everyone and everything with audio carnage so visceral that simply listening creates a serious risk of blood-vomiting convulsions.  But Torture?  Torture is officially the best album of the Corpsegrinder era yet.”

Jan 302013

Welcome to Part 21 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 three I’m announcing today, click here.

All good things must come to an end, and this seemingly endless list will end tomorrow with Part 22, going out in a blaze of death metal glory. Today’s three songs, however, are another set that don’t come from the same genre of metal. If they have anything in common besides my belief in them, it’s that all three are heavy as hell.

HIGH ON FIRE

Our friend and fellow blogger Professor D. Grover the XIIIth reviewed High On Fire’s 2012 album for us (here), and I think it’s fair to say that he had mixed feelings about De Vermis Mysteriis, which he viewed as a bit of a step backward compared to the step forward represented by 2010′s Snakes For the Divine. I had the opposite reaction. Where the Professor viewed Snakes as HoF’s crowning achievement, I enjoyed De Vermis Mysteriis more than anything I’ve yet heard from the band.

I preferred the grimier, grittier tone that Kurt Ballou’s production brought to the sound and the utter darkness that suffused so much of the music. The standout track for me — a song that has gotten a shitload of play since I first heard  it — is “King of Days”.

Jan 292013

Welcome to Part 20 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 three I’m announcing today, click here.

We’re down to the final week of this list. In almost all the installments that preceded this one, there was some kind of discernible theme or shared trait in the songs that I grouped together. There really isn’t one in this post, or at least not one that may conscious mind is able to identify. These are just three songs that grabbed hold of me pretty hard in 2012.

WOODS OF YPRES

Most people I know who are fans of Woods of Ypres have been fans for a long time, and they’re devoted to a point of rare intensity. When they listen to the band’s final album, Woods 5: Grey Skies and Electric Light, they can’t separate the album from the eerie coincidence of David Gold’s death just a handful of months after its recording. The album’s reflections on death are inseparable from, and magnified by, Gold’s own tragic passing. For them, the knowledge that this album was Woods’ last lends the music a special poignancy.

I am not one of those people. Until Woods 5, I had never listened to any of the band’s albums all the way through, and even my sampling of widely heralded songs was limited. Given my tastes, the band’s music just never clicked with me. I can’t even honestly say that Woods 5 seduced me all the way through; some of the songs included more goth rock vibes than suited my appetites.

Jan 282013

Welcome to Part 19 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 three I’m announcing today, click here.

We’re winding down. We’re nearing the end of this list. I’m thinking we’ll stop with Part 21. Or maybe Part 22. I’m still wrestling with my mind over how to finish. It’s like wrestling with a puddle of mercury.

All I’m really sure about are the three songs I’m adding to the list today. They’re all Exceptions to the NCS Rule, but they bring the power of the riff something fierce. They rock so hard they’ll break your dick, even if you don’t have a dick.  So I’m going with them even though they rely mainly on clean vocals.

MOKOMA

I heard about this Finnish band last November via a recommendation from NCS supporter jeimssi, who nominated the song “Kuollut, Kuolleempi, Kuollein” for this list. The song comes from the band’s 2012 album 180 Astetta — which turns out to be Mokoma’s ninth album. They’re apparently quite popular in Finland, though less well known outside the borders, perhaps because they sing in Finnish.

Jan 272013

Welcome to Part 18 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 I’m announcing today, click here.

I think you’ll readily get the connection between the two songs I’m adding to the list today. Folk/pagan metal is not a genre of music that is as near and dear to my black heart as others, and I’d never hold myself out as any kind of expert, much less as someone who listened to a lot of albums in this field during 2012. But I do know what I fuckin’ like, and I do like these two songs.

ELUVEITIE

I’m unable to disassociate this Swiss band’s recorded music from my memories of hearing them live. I’ll see them live whenever I get the chance, because every show I’ve attended has been a big kick in the ass. Those experiences make me prone to like their recorded music because I can visualize and feel the energy of them performing. But with that said, I believe I’d still think the title track to their 2012 album Helvetios is a damned fine song.

Jan 262013

Welcome to Part 17 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 three I’m announcing today, click here.

I’ve been tramping through the forest of black metal the last couple of days and decided to stay there at least one more day. I’ve been pretty sure for a while that this list would include music from each of today’s three very different albums. The hard part came in picking just one song from each.

GOATWHORE

This NOLA band’s 2102 album Blood For the Master was reviewed for us here by Andy Synn. It was loaded with great metal, but I ultimately picked “When Steel and Bone Meet” for this list. To borrow Andy’s word, “When Steel… is a bar-room brawl set to music, chains and fists flying in a drunken, grooving orgy of violence that manages to cram in a swaggering groove, pummeling power-riffage, and some switchblade soloing in barely more than 3 minutes.”

Jan 252013

Welcome to Part 16 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 four I’m announcing today, click here.

Yes, today I’m adding four songs to the list instead of two or three. These four songs have a few things in common (apart from the fact that I’m hooked on them), which is why I’m grouping them together here: All four are forms of black metal; all four are somewhat more challenging listens than the majority of the songs on the list; and all four deliver memorable melodies in songs of often searing power.

KHORS

I wrote this in my review of this Ukrainian band’s 2012 album: “Wisdom of Centuries tests the limits of genre classification. It combines elements of black metal, progressive metal, ambient music, doom, and to a lesser degree folk metal, producing something that is bleak, beautiful, and often mystical. Distancing themselves from the black metal label, Khors characterize the music as ‘heathen dark metal’. Perhaps that’s as good a shorthand description as any . . . .”

Jan 242013

Welcome to Part 15 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been posting at least 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 three I’m announcing today, click here.

After a 10-day hiatus, I’m resuming the roll-out of this list. I’ve identified 29 songs so far, with X left to go — “X” standing for a number that will be revealed to me once I figure out what else to pick from my still-lengthy list of candidates.

I’ve grouped together today’s three songs because they represent the use of black metal musical elements in songs that have only a distant kinship to the music of the first and second waves. They represent a branching out of black metal that has enriched the traditions and given them new life, even if these new blooms have opened far from the roots.

ENSLAVED

Andy Synn reviewed this iconic band’s 2012 album RIITIIR for us here, showering it with praise, and it has appeared on many of our 2012 year-end lists. Guest writer Fredrik Huldtgren of the Swedish band Canopy summed it up as follows in naming it to his list

Jan 132013

Welcome to the Part 14 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day (almost) until the list is finished, I’m posting at least 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 I’m announcing today, click here.

Most of the song pairings I’ve selected for this series have had something in common — for example, they’ve shared a similar genre affiliation or at least a common nationality. But today’s picks are a complete mismatch, like those last two clean socks you find in your drawer that don’t even remotely go together. But I love both these songs, even though it’s a big stretch to include the second one in the list at all.

BLACK BREATH

This Pacific Northwest band’s 2012 album Sentenced To Life was a big breakout for them. It has received a ton of critical praise and it brought the band a ton of enthusiastic new fans. BadWolf reviewed it for us last March (here), and then later named it to his list of the year’s Top 10 albums (the “no clean singing” version), with these words: “Words do not sufficiently describe how much I love this record’s mix of d-beat, thrash, NWOBHM, and Swedish death metal. . . . [S]eriously, if you have not, go buy this album. Satisfaction guaranteed.”

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