Feb 012017

 

Yesterday I ended the roll-out of our annual list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. As I’ve explained, it was more of an arbitrary halt than an orderly conclusion. When I began the rollout back on January 2 I had a big group of songs I knew would be on this list, but I hadn’t finished the selection. I started the rollout, and then continued to make up the list as I went along. I’m still not finished, but decided that we shouldn’t be continuing with a 2016 year-end list past the end of January in the new year.

Although many more songs could easily still be added, I do think the list, as it is, provides a decent snapshot of both the quality and the diversity of metal in 2016. And I think that’s true even though we only focused on the most “infectious” songs (some of the best songs and albums released in 2016 weren’t really “infectious”, but were stunning listening experiences nonetheless).

Of course, the list is a reflection of my own tastes, though I did try to cover a broad spectrum of genres and sub-genres. As we always do around here, I also made sure that lesser-known underground bands were represented along with the higher-profile groups. But of course I didn’t listen to every album released last year, or even to all of the roughly 800 songs that were recommended by our readers (though I listened to the majority of them).

Jan 312017

 

Welcome to the 21st — and final — installment in our list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Is the list complete? No, it isn’t. I could easily continue doing this for another month or more, and it pains me to leave so many other infectious songs lingering on my giant list of candidates. But it’s time to shift our focus more intently to what’s coming out this year.

After agonizing over the last 24 hours about what songs to select for this final edition in the series, I cut that Gordian knot in a fairly impulsive way — by simply picking the six songs on a playlist I made for myself in December.

I made that six-track list in December mainly, but not exclusively, because I had just been reading through the year-end list from Panopticon’s Austin Lunn that we were going to publish and was reminded of some addictive tracks I hadn’t listened to in a while. I put those on the playlist along with a couple of others that I wanted to hear again and thought might work well in the flow of the music.

As it happens, before today I hadn’t yet included any of these songs on this Most Infectious list, and so today I decided, why the hell not make all of these into the final Part of this series? They really are all damned infectious, and I do damn well like them.

Jan 302017

 

We’re down to the penultimate day for the rollout of our 2016 Most Infectious Song list. I’m in a bit of a panic, because I’m having so much trouble deciding how to end it. There are still so many songs that I feel are deserving of a place on the list, but it also seems awkward to continue a 2016 list of any kind past the first month of the new year.

And I suppose I should remind you that because I have so much difficulty as a list-maker, I didn’t have the list completed when I began the rollout, and to an extent, I’ve been making it up as I go along. That’s why tomorrow’s ending is arbitrary, and why there is a degree of randomness in what’s on the list and what isn’t. What’s not random is my conviction that all the songs I’ve picked are worthy of the awards.

BORKNAGAR

I ask you, if you can’t make an exception to our Rule about singing for the likes of Andreas “Vintersorg” Hedlund, Simen “ICS Vortex” Hestnaes, and Kristoffer Rygg, then who could justify an exception?

Jan 292017

 

Welcome to the 19th installment of my list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I’m beginning to feel stressed about this list, because I swore to myself (and may have promised you) that I would bring this to an end on January 31, and yet I still have dozens of worthy candidates. That means there’s going to be an arbitrary cut-off, with a lot of worthy tracks being neglected. But I figured that would happen when I started this list… I’ve never been very good at list-making.

Anyway, here are four more songs. You’ll never guess why I chose to group these four songs together. It will just have to be my little secret.

FALLUJAH

In his NCS review, my colleague Andy Synn called Dreamless the finest of Fallujah’s three albums so far — a creation that “could very well be a game-changing, life-altering release for these Tech-Death titans-in-waiting.” He praised the songwriting, which gave each track its own distinctive personality despite the presence of common ingredients — “nuanced, technical drums, strobing, rapid-fire riffs, dreamy synth waves, and soaring, extravagant lead guitar work” — and the positive direction of the band’s continuing evolution.

Jan 272017

 

Here we are at the 18th Part of this list. Once again, I ran out of time yesterday before I could post a further installment of this series, so I’ve included more songs than usual in this one. To browse through the other songs that have appeared on the list previously, click HERE.

I grouped these four songs together for a couple of reasons. First, they all include elements of black metal to varying degrees, but you probably wouldn’t call any of them “black metal” in any conventional sense. Which leads me to my second point: in addition to being genre-benders, all these artists have blended and bent conventional genres in ways that lead to some very strange and even unsettling results — and the fact that all of these tracks also manage to be addictive is a further testament to their creativity

KHONSU

I assume it comes as no shock that I’m adding a song from The Xun Protectorate to the list. We published not one but two laudatory reviews of the album, along with an interview of Khonsu’s mastermind S. Gronbech. Everyone at our site loved the record.

Jan 252017

 

In this 17th part of our 2016 Most Infectious Song list, I’m adding three songs that were all made for headbanging, or at least vigorous head-nodding, knee-bobbing, and toe-tapping, even though they’re scattered across different parts of the metal musical map.

WARCRAB

I’ve been meaning to write about WarCrab and their 2016 album Scars of Aeons (released digitally by Black Bow Records) but so far haven’t succeeded. The album did appear on Grant Skelton’s year-end list, where he wrote: “Warcrab’s breed of deathened sludge (sludgened death??) is certain to quench your rapacity for beefy slow-to-mid death metal”. And on May 1 of this year, the album is going to be released on CD for the first time by Transcending Obscurity.

Jan 242017

 

Well, I did it again. I let two days go by without posting a further installment of our growing list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Unfortunately, I don’t have time at the moment to double up, as I did the last time I fell behind. If the day goes well, I might be able to add Part 17 before the day ends.

Once again, I perceive a sense of musical belonging between the three songs I’m grouping together, although there are important differences among them and I’m not sure I could articulate the connections even if I had more time.

ABBATH

The self-titled debut album by the former frontman of Immortal landed very early in 2016, and I think it convincingly answered the questions and doubts of most fans who had been left with a bad taste in their mouths from the public squabbling among the former Immortal brethren — because the album is damned good.

Jan 212017

 

For the 15th installment in our Most Infectious Song series I decided to create a death metal immersion, with three songs that all have old school flavors, the first most strongly of all, but are all different from each other in interesting ways, too. I’ll also mention that all three of these tracks were recommendations from my comrade DGR, who has a thing about speed and a certain kind of drumwork, although a couple of these songs were also on my own list of candidates that grew as 2016 rolled along.

For those who might be joining this rollout only now, you can browse the previous 14 parts by clicking this link.

CENTINEX

After eight albums going back to 1992’s Subconscious Lobotomy and a dozen shorter releases, Sweden’s Centinex disbanded in 2006 — but they crawled out of their grave in 2014 and released a comeback album named Redeeming Filth, which was a hell of a comeback. And I put a deliciously morbid track from that album (“Moist Purple Skin”) on my 2014 Most Infectious Song list. In 2016 they released a killer follow-up with Doomsday Rituals, which is the source of the first song in this installment of the 2016 list.

Jan 202017

 

I’ve let two days go by without a further installment of our Most Infectious Song list, because my time is not wholly within my control, but whose is? To make up for lost time, I’m doubling up on the size of today’s edition.

But the goal of catching up isn’t the only explanation. As I pondered which songs to roll out today, these six seemed to step forward and proclaim “We belong together”. When you hear them one after another perhaps you’ll perceive the connections between them as I did, and if you do, perhaps you should seek psychiatric care. (The preceding songs on this list can be seen here.)

KRATER

The first track today is “Flammen im Vakuum“, and it comes packaged with a very well-produced video by Melanie Werner that I enjoy watching almost as much as I enjoy the song.

Jan 172017

 

Welcome to the lucky 13th Part of our list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. To scroll through the preceding 12 parts, click this link.

For the trio of songs I’ve collected in this installment, I decided to dive deeper into the underground than I have for most of the songs that I’ve chosen for this list so far — deep enough that no one else suggested songs by any of these bands when I solicited input from readers and other NCS writers. But they happen to be favorites of mine (and as it also happens, the first of these isn’t likely to remain deep underground for very much longe)r. I also picked these songs because all the bands are cross-genre alchemists.

REBEL WIZARD

My happy acquaintance with Australia’s Rebel Wizard began back in the fall of 2015 when I discovered Negative Wizard Metal, the fourth of five EPs that Rebel Wizard released that year. I frothed at the mouth about it on our site, and then did more frothing later in the year when the fifth EP (Invocation of the Miserable Ones) reared its head.

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