Jan 022011

As of yesterday, we’d finished rolling out, in no particular order, the first 10 entries on our list of 2010’s most infectious extreme songs. (For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this.) So far, here’s what we’ve got:

Byfrost: “Desire”
Evocation: “Sweet Obsession”
Keep of Kalessin: “Dragon iconography”
Living Sacrifice: “Rules of Engagement”
Kataklysm: “Suicide River”
Kalmah: “Bullets Are Blind”
Finntroll: “Solsagan”
Eluveitie: “Thousandfold”
Coliseum: “Blind In One Eye”
Kvelertak: “Blodtørst”

Today, we’re starting on the next 10. Does that mean we’re stopping at 20? Not necessarily. We’re still futzing with our list. If we had to place a bet today, we’d bet the final list will be closer to 30. Just depends on whether our naturally lazy natures succeed in stopping us from trying to shave the list down to something shorter.

Today’s additions to the list begin to draw us into black-metal territory — but trust us, they’re damned infectious.  Stay with us after the jump as we roll out songs by Demonic Resurrection and Sargeist.


2010 was the year in which we here at NCS discovered the joys of Indian metal. We heard and wrote about albums by Bhayanak Maut, Infernal WrathHeathen Beast, Skrypt, and, last but not least, Demonic Resurrection. We know we just scratched the surface, and we plan to write about more extreme metal bands from India during 2011 (and we hope our readers will continue to send us suggestions).

But now is a time for looking back at 2010 instead of ahead to what the new year will bring. And looking back, it’s a song by Demonic Resurrection that got stuck in our heads and deserves recognition on this “most infectious” list.

DR’s 2010 release on Candlelight Records, The Return To Darkness, opened lots of eyes worldwide to this band, and it’s landed on many best-of-the-year lists here in the U.S., as well as elsewhere. The songs vary in style, but they’re uniformly accomplished. The epic-length “Lord of Pestilence” is probably the pinnacle of the album’s offerings, but for our most-infectious list, we picked “The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance”. If we had to slap a genre label on it, we’d say it’s symphonic blackened death. Prepare to headbang.

Demonic Resurrection: The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance


Musical infectiousness is in the eye of the beholder. Or the ear of the listener. Or something like that. Some of you may shy away from black metal as a source of catchy music, and certainly it’s true that much of the black metal we heard and liked this year was attractive to us because of the atmospherics, the emotional power, the cross-breeding of swarming intensity with menacing beauty — not necessarily because the songs were “infectious”, as we’ve defined that for purposes of this list.

But we also heard many songs that not only carried us away in the moment but also stuck in our heads, and one of them was a song by Finnish black-metal band Sargeist. We discovered Sargeist’s 2010 album Let the Devil In through a recommendation from Johan Huldtgren (Obitus) during our long tribute to metal from Finland, and we included Sargeist in one of our features for that series. What we said about the album then still holds: “While it’s intensely vicious and stripped down in many respects, it’s also melodic, with a dark, brooding atmosphere, and it includes some punkish and rockish rhythms. And Hoath Torog’s vocals are stunningly powerful. . . and yes, it’s really infectious.”

The song is called “Empire of Suffering”, and we’ve found ourselves going back to it repeatedly. It deserves to be on this list — and we have a couple more black-metal songs still ahead of us before the list is finished. Check it out:

Sargeist: Empire of Suffering

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