Jan 152012

On Friday, I finished rolling out the list of 2011′s MOST INFECTIOUS EXTREME METAL SONGS. A few readers suggested that I pull all the songs together so they can be streamed in one place. So, working my fingers to the bone, that’s what I’ve done.

Here are all 39 of the songs from this year’s list, in the order of their appearance. Clicking on the track names will send you to the post feature where the addition of the song to the list was originally announced. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the Introduction via this link.

NOMAD: “Identity With Personification”

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Jan 142012

It seems like many “best of the year” lists include a category of “honorable mentions”. I don’t know how artists feel about being included in an “honorable mention” list. I would guess they feel pretty meh about it, or maybe even worse than that. The list-maker is sort of saying, “this was good, but not as good as the 10 or 20 albums that I thought were the best.” Thanks a fucking lot, you douchebag!

I have an honorable mention list to accompany our list of 2011′s “most infectious” extreme metal songs, which I finally finished rolling out yesterday. But this isn’t the typical “honorable mention” list. These aren’t songs that I omitted because I didn’t think they were quite as good as the ones on my list. They were on my “master list” of candidates, and I omitted them only because I decided I couldn’t honestly say they were “extreme metal songs”. Maybe some of you will think I already violated that rule with other songs on the list and I’m therefore acting inconsistently. Could be.

Anyway, consistent or not, here are four songs from the master candidate list that I thought were mighty infectious and mighty good, but not extreme enough to make the final cut.

SOLSTAFIR: “FJARA”

This band’s 2011 two-disc album Svartir Sandar has blown up their profile far beyond the shores of that place of ice and fire they call home. In a word, the album is amazing. It’s full of ice and fire, too, but it also includes slow, melancholy, emotionally powerful songs like “Fjara”.

Jan 132012

This is Part 19 — the final Part — of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released in 2011. Each day since we started this list, I’ve been posting two songs that made the cut. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

All good things must come to an end, and today I’m ending this list with the final three songs. Yes, there are three songs today instead of the two per-day that appeared in every previous installment of this series. And that means the list is ending with 39 songs — an odd number for a list (in both senses of the word) — but wtf, I myself am odd.

In the next day or two, we’ll pull together every song we’ve named to this 2011 list in a single post where all of them can be streamed, and with links for each one back to the original features where we added them to the list. Tomorrow, we’ll also have an “Honorable Mention” list, though it’s not really a list of extreme metal songs that narrowly missed being included here. I’ll explain tomorrow. Now, let’s wrap this thing up.

KRODA

Schwarzpfad is probably my favorite 2011 black metal album of all the ones I heard last year. You could probably figure that out based on how often we wrote about Kroda last year. Our latest mention was in a post that included video of the band playing a live set on December 18 at the OSKOREI festival in Kiev, Ukraine. Before that, Schwarzpfad showed up on Andy Synn’s list of the year’s Critical Top 10 albums, as well as his list of 2011′s Great Albums.

Jan 122012

This is Part 18 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

I am willing to confess here publicly that I do have certain primal urges. Just to be clear, those urges do not include tentacle porn or donkey dicks. In fact, I don’t know anyone who has urges for such things. Okay, to be brutally honest, which of course is the only kind of honest we know how to be here at NCS, I do know one person who has such urges. But we’re not talking about him, we’re talking about me, myself, and pay no attention to those who say I have a fractured personality.

No, my primal urges include the kind of base needs satisfied by today’s two additions to this list. Yes, I am base, and all your base belong to me, and I belong to Byfrost and Bury Your Dead. And this is my list, and therefore my will is yours. (goddamn, am I full of shit or what?)

BYFROST

When I first heard Byfrost’s 2010 debut album, Black Earth, I thought most of the tracks sounded like marching songs and battle music for orcs — the inexorable stomp, the headlong charge, the baring of oily teeth, the spiked maces held high. I included a song from that monster of an album on the MOST INFECTIOUS list last year — in fact it was the first song. And 2011 brought another Byfrost album, and it also brought another Byfrost song for this year’s list.

Jan 112012

This is Part 17 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

We’re winding our way down to the end of this list. I’ve set a self-imposed deadline of Friday to finish this — not because I don’t have enough songs to keep going, but because you can’t really call something a list if it has no end. Can you?

The catch-phrase of today is “Welcome to K-mart!” Not because we’ve decided to ditch metal and open up one of those stores, but because the names of both bands whose songs we’re featuring begin with “K”. “K” as in “Kick-ass” or “Killer”.

KARTIKEYA

Kartikeya is a Russian band we’ve mentioned quite often at this site (use the search box on this page and you’ll see what I mean). They’re very popular among those of us on the NCS staff, and they seem to be popular among our readers and other contributors, too.They play an unusual (and unusually appealing) style of heavy-grooved melodic death metal that incorporates elements of black metal as well as traditional Indian music.

Jan 102012

This is Part 16 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

Today’s first song was an early and easy pick for this list — hands down, it’s one of my favorite songs of 2011. It’s only emerging as an addition to the list at this late date because I first wanted to finish a review of the album from whence it comes — which I finally accomplished as of today. The second song was also an early favorite, but I’ve had it in my head to pair these songs together, for reasons I’ll try to explain. Here we go:

THY CATAFALQUE

There’s not much I need to say here about this band’s 2011 album Rengeteg, because earlier today I posted a detailed review of it. In a nutshell, it was one of my favorite albums of 2011 — maybe even my most favorite. It’s an odd feeling to have, because the vast majority of the singing is clean and many of the songs are not what anyone would consider “extreme metal” — but that’s my honest reaction to the music.

Jan 092012

This is Part 15 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

This list has included quite a lot of variety so far, which in part is a reflection of the diversity of my own tastes and in part a reflection of the tremendous variety available in metal today. But there’s one sub-genre that hasn’t yet made an appearance. I hate to even use the word, because it’s already getting a bad name in some quarters, due to the saturation of the style by a flood of bands and bedroom projects who seem to believe that atonal Meshuggah-style riffing played with a bit of technical flash is all that’s needed to create a “song”.

I suppose we should have seen that coming, since the label for the sub-genre originated as nothing more than a name for the representative sound or tone made by an appropriately down-tuned guitar. But of course, much more is needed than start-stop pneumatic riffing and polyrhythmic complexity to create something memorable — and infectiousness is what this list is all about. The two songs I’m adding to the list today have got that quality.

TEXTURES

TheMadIsraeli reviewed this band’s wonderful 2011 album Dualism here, and followed that with an interview here. Like him, I’ve been a Textures fan for a long time — they have yet to disappoint me. Back before that “djent” label went viral, I thought of Textures as a “math metal” band, but even that label was too restrictive. They’ve always had a talent for constructing songs that were not only rhythmically complex and physically jolting, but memorably melodic.

Jan 082012

This is Part 14 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

Okay, it’s time for a quick status report on this series. You know how at the beginning I said I didn’t know how many songs would be on the final list because I still hadn’t finished making my picks, but that my goal was to stop at 30 songs, like I did last year? Uh huh, will that ain’t gonna happen. With today’s two additions, we’re up to 28, and there’s no way I can pick only two more songs from what I’ve got left on my list of candidates.

So, how many more songs are coming? Fuck if I know. All I know for sure is that today’s two additions are long-form black metal songs that had a powerful effect on me this year, and I couldn’t omit them from this list.

ALGHAZANTH

Alghazanth is a Finnish black metal band who I discovered through reader comments way back when we were doing that Finland Tribute Week series. Their sixth full-length album, titled Vinum Intus, barely qualified for consideration on this list — it was released on January 1, 2011. It’s the album I came across when I started trying to find out more about the band’s music.

Jan 072012

This is Part 13 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

I guess maybe my trolling earlier today on a phony Part 13 of this list was a bit too subtle.  IT. WAS. A. FUCKING. JOKE.  A joke!  Not serious!  (and apparently not very funny either)  So, onward to the real Part 13 of this list . . .

The inclusion of today’s two bands will come as no surprise to regular readers — you could see this coming from a mile off, because they’re particular favorites of most of us who write here regularly. They also released very strong albums in 2011 — albums that included multiple candidates for this list.

DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT

Apart from the fact that Andy Synn’s review of Deconstruction is the most popular piece we’ve ever run at NCS (due in no small part to Devin Townsend’s posting about the review on his Facebook page), we would love this album anyway. It made many of the Best of 2011 lists we published over the last month, including those from Gaia, groverXIII, Stephen Parker, and of course Andy Synn. I shared the sentiments expressed by both groverXIII and Andy:

“Just when I think we’ve plumbed the depths of Devin Townsend’s demented mind, he reaches down and pulls out something else that is completely unexpected. Deconstruction was not the return to Strapping Young Lad that people may have been hoping for, but it was still a massive, chaotic album in its own way. Even now, having heard the album numerous times, I still discover something new every time I listen to it. Staggering.” – groverXIII

“At its heart this record is an expression of one man’s humanity in all its beauty and ugliness. Though its flaws are writ large, in bold, colourful writing, it’s hard to name another artist out there truly willing to go this far and be this open.” – Andy Synn

Jan 062012

This is Part 12 of our list of the most infectious extreme metal songs released this year. 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 Introduction via this link. To see the selections that preceded this one, click the Category link on the right side of the page called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2011.

Once I’d decided to include today’s two songs on this list, combining them in a single post was an obvious call: Both bands are from Finland (if you get tired of hearing about Finnish metal, you’re obviously at the wrong place); both songs have almost exactly the same name; and of course both songs are awfully catchy.

MORS SUBITA

Human Waste Compression, the 2011 album by this band (whose names means “sudden death”) was one I reviewed in October (here), but that wasn’t our first mention of the band last year. In May,  I saw an official video for a song from the album called “The Sermon”, and it really got me all fired up with enthusiasm and the words spilled out in a post. At that point, Mors Subita was unsigned and holding up release of the album while they sought label backing.

In August, Violent Journey Records announced that they had signed Mors Subita, and it was cool to see some of my gushing words from May quoted in the Violent Journey press release. At the same time, the band released their second video for Human Waste Compression, and of course I had to write about all that here.

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