Feb 172014

Last week I finally finished rolling out our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs — or more accurately, I made myself stop. The list mushroomed in comparison to my lists from previous years, but as long as it was, I could easily have gone on. 2013 was just a great year for metal across a wide range of genres.

I know everyone reading this had favorite “infectious” songs from last year that I didn’t include, either because I ran out of time or just overlooked them, but also because this is really just one person’s list. I received recommendations from many sources, including my co-writers here at the site, and my own tastes are pretty diverse — but the responsibility for the choices is mine alone. And so although I tried to express the vast diversity of metal in my selection, it’s still limited by my own preferences.

What I’ve done in this post is collect the names of all 73 (!!) songs in one place, in the order in which they appeared in this series, with links to the installments where each song was discussed and can be streamed. (I thought about putting all the song streams in this post, but was afraid it would then take forever to load.)

Feb 142014

At last we’ve arrived at the final installment of our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I could have gone on, but since we’re half-way through February it seemed time to stop and spend more time on what 2014 is bringing us.

I want to thank my fellow NCS writers and our readers for suggesting songs from albums that I missed last year; this list has included a lot of those recommendations. I also beg your forgiveness for not including other recommendations, and for otherwise omitting or simply overlooking other great songs from last year.

On Monday I’ll have a a post with a few more concluding thoughts and a complete list of every song in this series, collected in one place. (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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.)

DARK TRANQUILLITY

I suppose there’s some irony in my choice of this next song (and the one that follows it) for our concluding installment — it includes a lot of clean singing. Beyond that, it is one of the more mellow, more pop-oriented songs DT have ever done (of the gothic/doom variety), one of the songs on 2013’s Construct that links arms with the style that DT explored in Projector. But Mikael Stanne’s clean singing is emotionally resonant, and the song also delivers his equally emotive harsh growls, along with some hammering Gothenburg riffs.

Feb 132014

Welcome to Part 28 of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

We’re down to the last two days of this series, with three more today and 300 more tomorrow. Just kidding — but I’ll tell you, it’s awfully hard for me to let go of this series. There are so many great songs I’m going to have to omit if it’s ever going to end. As for today’s three, I’m not sure there’s any theme that would justify this grouping. I have simply found all three to be powerful, and powerfully infectious, and I need to have them on this list before it ends.

SUMMONING

It took seven long years for this fabled Austrian band to release a new album, but it finally came in 2013: Old Morning’s Dawn. Though I am most definitely a Tolkein nerd, I’m not a Summoning nerd, having only a passing acquaintance with only shards of the band’s previous discography. Therefore, I am incapable of intelligently debating (as many others have) whether Old Morning’s Dawn stands up to so many years of building expectations. I’m also incapable of debating whether those Summoning worshippers in Utah’s Caladan Brood out-performed their masters on 2013’s Echoes of Battle, because I’ve only heard one song from that album (and I’m mentioning that comparison only because I know some of you are going to bring it up).

Feb 122014

This is Part 27 of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

We’re getting close to the end of this list, with only two more Parts to go after today. The three songs I’m adding now are an eclectic mix, both as compared to each other and with respect to the individual songs themselves — and that’s the main reason I’m grouping them together.

VULTURE INDUSTRIES

Although I never managed to write a complete review of this Bergen band’s 2013 album The Tower, I did write about every one of the three songs that premiered before the album’s release, so that counts for something I guess. The album is a strange and wondrous creation that sounds like nothing else I heard last year. The first song to premiere remains my favorite — and it’s the one I’m now adding to this list.

Feb 112014

Here we have the 26th Part of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

Three parts left after today, and then I’ll be done. In this part I’ve collected three songs that you could fit under the heading of black thrash. They’re fast, they’re corrosive, and they’re hot as hell.

HEXER

A certain kind of purist will object to my selection of this next song by Philadelphia’s Hexer. It comes from a self-titled album released by Gilead Media in 2013, but that album was a remastered re-packaging of two EPs that the band originally distributed on cassette in 2011. But I found the song on the album and that’s good enough for me.

For a complete discourse on the infernal joys of Hexer, plus an album stream, you can visit my review at this location. In a nutshell, it’s a romping blast of hellfire and brimstone, with the kind of riff mastery that will cause foaming at the mouth. Fans of black thrash should not miss it. 

Feb 102014

Welcome to Part 25 of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

It’s a Monday, the beginning of a new week, and time for me to make an important though painful decision: I am going to finish this list by Friday.   Friday is the halfway point in the second month of the New Year, so it really seems like I ought to finish a 2013 year-end list by then. Plus, I’ve already forced myself to pick the remaining songs, and having done that, my habitual indecisiveness won’t get in the way of bringing the list to a close. As for today, here are three songs from 2013 I’m pretty high on.

RUSSIAN CIRCLES

Down to the last week, and only now am I coming to a purely instrumental track. The name is “Deficit” and it appears on Memorial by Chicago’s Russian Circles. To borrow from what I’ve previously written about the song: For anyone who still thinks instrumental “post rock” doesn’t pack enough visceral kick to shake your skeleton from skull to tarsus, listen to “Deficit”, because it’s a heavy beast. It sets a doomy tone with a moving wall of guitar noise and a hypnotic drumbeat at the outset. The intensity builds from there, and beginning at the 3:00 mark it’s fuckin’ headbang city all the way forward (accompanied by a memorable chiming melody). 

Feb 092014

We present Part 24 of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

I’ve grouped the following trio of songs for two reasons, despite the fact that they span different metal genres: First, they share a certain predatory vocal viciousness. Second, they all feature at key moments a kind of very cool swirling sound that I assume is produced by guitar finger-tapping (or maybe keyboards in the last song) — though I’m not a musician, so what do I know?

VERMINOUS

The first song in this collection is a rarity: It comes from an album by this Swedish band that we never mentioned in any of our regular features during 2013, much less reviewed. Professor D. Grover the XIIIth named the album (The Unholy Communion) to his NCS list of the year’s Top 40 albums, and the album also appeared on several year-end lists posted by our readers. But I didn’t get around to exploring it until early 2014.

Feb 082014

Welcome to Part 23 of our list of 2013’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

Today’s three songs have something in common. Although the bands don’t all fit neatly together under precisely the same genre heading, to varying degrees the music falls in a place where doom, melodic death metal, and a melancholy aching intersect.

ENSHINE

This Swedish/French collective put out their debut album Origin in 2013, and DGR reviewed it for us here. In an effort to capture its sense of devastating beauty, he wrote this:

“I know I am going to like a disc like this if it takes me to a certain place I have set aside in my head, one of empty spaces, snow falling from the sky, long-since devastated cities. Places that you just know were beautiful long ago, and the sense of fragility that these vacant places emanates makes them beautiful now….  Origin takes us to that snow-filled, cold, and desolate place where we sometimes long to be and lets us sit and watch the world move as it speaks to us.”

Feb 062014

I decided to add two trios of songs to the list today, this being the second installment. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

For this current threesome of songs I’m going back to the rough and the raw, to the kind of music that hungers for your flesh and wants your teeth as souvenirs. And man, the grooves on these babies…

SORCERY

I almost overlooked Sorcery’s Arrival At Six as a source of candidates for this list. My faulty memory was telling me this veteran Swedish band’s comeback album was released in 2012, but after double-checking Metal Archives, I saw that it was a January 2013 discharge. What a pleasant discovery — because there’s a song on that album that has become one of my go-to head-wreckers — “Warbringer”.

Feb 062014

Welcome to Part 20 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

I guess it’s about time we thrashed the bejesus out of da place. I’ll hold the verbiage to a minimum.

REVOCATION

The album: Revocation  The song: “Invidious”

Dat banjo.  Doze solos.  Dat bass drop.  More words here and here.

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