Feb 152016

NCS Best of 2015 graphic

 

Well, unlike last year, I at least finished the list this time — or at least came to an intentional stopping point. I could have kept going — easily. And I’m sure I disappointed more than a few people by leaving out deserving songs. That’s just further evidence of what a great year 2015 was for metal. And I have no doubt that 2016 will be just as great (it’s already off to a hell of  a start).

If nothing else, I hope this list provides a sign of how vibrantly healthy and diverse metal is, notwithstanding statistics about declining sales and increasing pressure on the larger and more commercially inclined labels. Though I’m sure I gave short shrift to a few sub-genres, I did try to make sure that anyone who explores this list will see that, creatively, things are burning hot and bright.

Below is a list of all the songs on this year’s list — 75 of them (!) — in the order in which I listed them, and the songs are hyperlinked to the original posts where you can listen to the music. I know it would have been nicer if I had included all the streams right here in one place, but that would have taken more time than you probably realize.

Feb 142016

Wombbath-Downfall Rising

 

I’m not finished with this list, but I’m making myself stop. It’s the middle of February, and I ought to be using the time I’ve been spending on this focusing on 2016 releases. But I still can’t help but feel bad that I’m stopping without having mentioned all the other 2015 songs I’ve heard that are as deserving as the songs that are on this list.

Tomorrow I’ll have a wrap-up post, with a complete list of all the songs and links for listening to them. Here are the last four, and I’m closing out this list with some good old death metal.

WOMBBATH

Until last year, Wombbath’s last album was 1993’s classic Internal Caustic Torments. The group that recorded Downfall Rising isn’t the same band from more than 20 years ago — vocalist/bassist Jonny Petterson (Ashcloud, Syn:drom, etc.), guitarists Al Riglin and Taylor Nordberg (Infernaeon), and drummer Jeramie Kling (Infernaeon, The Absence) joined forces with founding guitarist Håkan Stuvemark for this new album — but they upheld the Wombbath name and reputation very well.

Feb 142016

Death Karma cover

 

Today will be the end for my list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I really do need to bring the series to an end, but I’ve found it so difficult to let go of the thing that I’ve prepared two installments for today. There are three new songs for the list in this post, and the next and final one includes four tracks.

The three songs collected here are oddities, none of them appealing to standardized tastes and none of them wedded to linear or predictable structures or even single recognizable genre styles. To varying degrees, you could even say they’re disorienting, but they’re highly creative and to my fractured mind they’re also awfully damned infectious.

DEATH KARMA

I discovered the existence of the Czech band Death Karma on a May day in 2013 at the same time as I learned about Cult of Fire (and described the experience in this post). The two are linked because Death Karma is composed of Infernal Vlad and Tom Coroner, who are also two of Cult of Fire’s three members.

Feb 132016

gloson cover

 

Over the last two months, as I made my way through the hundreds of songs that had become candidates for this list, I fell into the habit of grouping certain songs together for listening purposes, usually because I thought they would complement each other. The first three in today’s quartet formed one of those playlists, and they kind of got stuck together in my head. I enjoyed the trip through them so much (and so often) that I decided all three belonged on this “Most Infectious” list, and that they should stay together here, just as they did when I was trying to figure out this list as a whole.

And then in recent days I found that another song I had already decided to include worked well as an addition to the original trio — which is why this installment includes four tracks instead of the usual two or three. (The songs that preceded these four on the list can be found here.)

GLOSON

When I included “The Aftermath/Beginning” on the list of candidates for this series, I had forgotten that Gloson’s Yearwalker was originally self-released in 2014, because we “premiered” this song from it last February in advance of its March 2015 vinyl release by Art of Propaganda and Catatonic State Records. When I remembered only days ago that the song was from a 2014 release, it was too late for me to abandon it (see the paragraph above about the first three songs in this post being joined at the hip).

Feb 122016

Amorphis-Under the Red Cloud

 

Welcome to the 24th Part of our roll-out of 2015’s Most Infectious Songs, as chosen by me and me alone. I have a constricting feeling around my throat as I bear down on my self-imposed Sunday deadline for finishing this list, when in fact I’m not really close to exhausting all the songs I want to write about. I have some terrible decisions to make this weekend.

The rest of the songs on the list can be inspected via this link.

AMORPHIS

I don’t suppose Amorphis really needed to make a “comeback” album. They haven’t really gone away, and the massive core of their fan base has never left them. But I still think of Under the Red Cloud as a comeback album.

Feb 112016

KRONOS-Arisen-New-Era

 

There’s definitely no way I can come up with any unifying theme for this latest trio of songs that I’m adding to our 2015 Most Infectious list, other than the fact (and it is a fact) that they are all highly infectious and I like the hell out of them.

We have three days left before this long list reaches the end. The other songs can be found here.

KRONOS

We premiered a song from Arisen New Era (though not the one I’ve chosen for this list), and DGR reviewed the album for us here. As DGR noted, this was something of a re-launch for this band whose roots extend back to the mid-’90s — their first album since 2007 and one with a new vocalist and new drummer in the ranks.

Feb 102016

Tribulation-The Children of the Night

 

For today’s second trio of tracks that I’m adding to our list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, I’ve grouped together songs that strike me as similar in spirit if not precisely in sound — and they complement each other when played back-to-back, too.

To check out the songs that preceded these in the rollout of the list, you’ll find them collected behind this link.

TRIBULATION

I confess that I was late diving into The Children of the Night, even after reading Wil Cifer’s NCS review of the album, which included these tantalizing words:

Feb 102016

Khemmis-Absolution

 

It’s conceivable that there are people out there who actually noticed that notwithstanding my earlier promise about posting one of these installments every day this week, I failed to do that yesterday. In between other posts that were more urgent and interference from my fucking day job, I just couldn’t manage it. So, to keep on schedule, I’m posting two installments today!

In case anyone happens to stumble on this post with no idea what I’m talking about, this is my year-end list of 2015’s “Most Infectious Metal Songs”, which will come to an end on Sunday, and there are 20 previous installments you can inspect via this link.

KHEMMIS

I am so damned happy that Khemmis‘ 2015 album has been so damned successful. Lots of people knew how good they were before I had my first taste of their music at the 2014 Denver Black Sky festival, but I still like to think I was at least hanging around the launching pad before the rocket took off.

Feb 082016

Katavasia-Sacrilegious Testament

Welcome to the 20th installment of our list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. We’ll be finished with the rollout of this list next Sunday. To hear the other songs on the list up until now, click this link.

Today we have three diverse pieces of metal, each of them from albums that were the source of multiple candidates for this list.

KATAVASIA

In the early part of last year we devoted quite a lot of attention to this Greek band’s 2015 album Sacrilegious Testament, and still more attention when year-end-list time rolled around — which is not surprising, given who’s in the band:

Feb 072016

Zatokrev-Silk Spiders Underwater

 

As I explained at the outset of this list, I didn’t have it finished when I began it. I’ve been making it up as I go along, without any pre-set idea of how long it would be. But since we’re now a week into February of 2016, I’m forcing myself to bring it to an end by this time next week. It hasn’t been easy, but I spent hours yesterday going through my still-massive list of song candidates and I’ve now got things in place in my head — or at least these things.

Beginning today and continuing through next Sunday I’ll post three new songs for the list each day. Except for next Sunday’s installment, I know which three I’ll post each day. And at the end, I’ll still have many more songs I’d like to post. But all good things must come to an end, and so this exercise will, too.

For most of the installments in the series up to now, I’ve grouped the songs according to certain themes, usually some kind of genre similarity in the groupings. But for most of the remaining installments, I’m focusing on variety, and grouping the songs together in ways that I think make for interesting listening, moving from one song to the next. To see the other songs on the list up to this point, click this link.

ZATOKREV

This band is so damned good. I feel that they haven’t yet gotten the widespread and tumultuous celebration that they deserve. I picked a song from their last album (The Bat The Wheel And The Long Road To Nowhere) for the 2012 edition of this list, and I’ve picked one for 2015 as well, because 2015 brought us another great new Zatokrev album — Silk Spiders Underwater…

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