OUR LIST OF 2010’S MOST INFECTIOUS EXTREME METAL SONGS: PART 9
So far, our list of most infectious songs has been heavily weighted with music from European bands. But today we’re adding selections by two bands from the good old U.S. of A (though the word “band” is a misnomer in the case of one of the artists). And if you happen to be tuning into this series for the first time and wonder what we mean by “most infectious”, read this. To see the 16 songs we named to the list before today, click the Category link over on the right called MOST INFECTIOUS SONGS-2010.
Here at NCS, we were latecomers to the musical phenomenon known as Cloudkicker. But late is better than never, and when we had our eyes opened, they opened wide. NCS co-founder and occasional contributor IntoTheDarkness put Cloudkicker’s 2010 album, Beacons, at No. 3 on his personal list of the year’s Top 25 releases, calling it “the best instrumental album all year.”
Our regular contributor BadWolf had it at No. 6 on his list of the year’s best, calling it “one of the first pieces of genuinely brilliant metal-as-art to be released not only outside of the label system but outside of capitalism period.”
And another of our frequent contributors, The Artist Formerly Known As Dan, assigned it to the No. 8 position on his best-of-2010 list, with these words: “He doesn’t need a label because he can already do everything he needs to by himself. And he’s beyond talented.” (more after the jump . . .)
And in my own partial review of the album, I compared Beacons to a previous Cloudkicker release as follows: “The songs still display polyrhythmic intricacy and a mesmerizing reliance on repeating riffs, but the guitar work is even more technically adept, the keyboard-driven ambient sounds seem less in evidence, and there’s an even more experimental sound to the guitar leads. Less Meshuggah and more intense, avant-garde proggery.” I thought the music was simply excellent (though I goofed in thinking there were any keyboards in the previous Cloudkicker release).
Of course, we’re not the only metal bloggers to sing the praises of Cloudkicker, but just in case you still don’t know what we’re talking about, Cloudkicker is one multi-talented dude by the name of Ben Sharp, who creates this stuff because he’s driven to create music — and he makes everything he creates available for free at his Bandcamp page — where, as it happens, you can now download a brand new 2011 track.
And on top of everything else, many of the songs he created for Beacons were downright infectious. The one we picked for this list is linked below. And just so you understand the title, every song title on Beacons was drawn from cockpit voice recorder transcripts from airline accidents — usually the last words uttered in the cockpit before impact. That’s fucking metal.
I didn’t listen to deathcore as much in 2010 as I have in the past, but of the albums I heard, America’s Most Haunted by King Conquer (reviewed here) was in my top three. My NCS collaborator IntoTheDarkness, who has apparently listened to very deathcore album ever made, had a similar reaction. He named America’s Most Haunted to his list of the year’s 25 best albums, and pronounced it the best deathcore release of 2010.
In our review, we wrote that King Conquer “are a howling horde of barbarians on a rampage, swinging downtuned axes and blast-beat mallets straight for your head — but there’s more to their musical attack than the usual blunt instruments.”
In addition to the usual subterranean riffing, hammer-blast drumming, and skull-cleaving breakdowns, the album’s songs include memorable bursts of melodic lead guitar and a couple of surprisingly inventive instrumentals which show that these dudes are capable of even greater things in the future.
There were a couple of songs from America’s Most Haunted that were on our master list of “most infectious” candidates, but in the end I deferred to IntoTheDarkness on this call. You might want to get into the fetal position before streaming this one.
And if you’re interested, here are the other songs that IntoTheDarkness gave me on his short list of the year’s best deathcore songs:
In The Midst of Lions: Reborn
Impending Doom: The Great Fear
Suffokate: Force Fed
Thy Art is Murder: Soldier of Immortality
We Butter the Bread with Butter: Der Tag An Dem Die Welt Unterging
Vegas In Ruins: Endless Days
These were both supremely good releases, but for different reasons. The musical merit of Cloudkicker is somewhat obvious, though he still deserves all the credit people give him. King Conquer brought me back to deathcore. The album has everything that I enjoy about deathcore and none of the gimmicks.
That sums up my feelings about King Conquer, too. As a genre, deathcore has become a punching bag for so many critics, and for those listeners, King Conquer probably won’t change many minds. But I really get a charge out of their album, and I’ve got high hopes for what they’ll do next.