Ah, too bad — the holidays are behind us. For most U.S. denizens, school and work resume today, and consequently the suck quotient of life will rapidly escalate back into the normal zone. We will do our best to help soften the blow by rolling out the next two entries on our list of 2010’s most infectious extreme metal songs. For a full explanation of what we mean by “most infectious”, read this. And to see the songs we’ve named so far, click the Category link over on the right called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2010.
In a nutshell, what we’re doing is listing, in no particular order, the catchiest songs from a wide range of extreme metal sub-genres — not necessarily the best metal of the year (though lots of these songs would qualify for that kind of list), but the ones that most effectively got our heads and other parts of our bodies moving, and then got stuck in our skulls on mental replay long after they ended.
The two songs we’re adding today are by Germany’s Heaven Shall Burn and Kenos, from Italy. Heaven Shall Burn has been a band whose music we’ve liked for years, and their 2010 album was no exception. Kenos is a much more recent discovery for us, but we immediately got addicted to their music, particularly the song we’ve chosen for this list. To read about the selections and hear the songs, follow along with us after the jump . . .
HEAVEN SHALL BURN
Heaven Shall Burn’s 2010 album was called Invictus, named after a poem by William Ernest Henley, who died in 1903. The poem is reprinted in the album’s CD insert and it features a stanza you’ve probably heard before: “It matters not how strait the gate/How charged with punishments the scroll/I am the master of my fate/I am the captain of my soul.”
As we wrote in our positive review of the album (here), “That poem can be considered an organizing principle for the lyrical themes of songs on this album (the concluding piece of the band’s Iconoclast trilogy), for they tell mainly of people who were victimized and martyred by human cruelty and injustice but who did not surrender their beliefs or their own humanity.”
We also said this about the songs on Invictus: “What has always been distinctive about Heaven Shall Burn’s music is on full display in the new album, except even more so: passionate, politically charged lyrics; a blistering instrumental assault delivered at a furious pace; bludgeoning percussion and headbanging rhythms; irresistible melodic hooks; and Marcus Bischoff’s distinctive, paint-peeling vocals.”
As good as the whole album is, the most infectious song is one called “Combat”, and we’re adding it to our list today. In addition to being an intense, completely ass-kicking song, it also inspired a powerful animated video that was probably our favorite metal video of the year (which we featured in a separate post all its own).
Here’s “Combat” by Heaven Shall Burn. And below the link to the song is that most awesome video in case you missed it the first time around.
Kenos was unknown to me until they appeared on one of the year-end lists we posted at NCS. It was a list prepared by our Dutch blog-brother Niek of the best albums he reviewed at the metal site he founded, DEATH METAL BABOON, and the 2010 release by Kenos, X-Tortion, appeared at No. 3. (Niek’s list is here.)
Niek asked me to comment on his picks when we posted his list at NCS. I listened to the song from X-Tortion that Niek named as his favorite, and I wrote this: “Well, Hail Santa and all his elves! This song fucking rocks! Sounds like a big transformer blowing a fuse, but with a convulsively spastic beat and a superfine guitar solo, and an unexpected rhythmic break 2/3 of the way through. Seriously, this song makes me want to bounce up and down and puts an idiotic grin on my face. Correction: a more idiotic grin. I been listening to this song non-stop. From your description, maybe this isn’t representative of all else on the album, but one song like this is more than most bands can hope to achieve. Big win!”
I’m still listening to that song, so much so that I had to add it to our most-infectious list. Here’s “Revolver Revival” by Kenos: