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.


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.

For this list, I narrowed my Textures choices down to two songs: “Reaching Home” and the dramatic instrumental, “Burning the Midnight Oil” — but there could have been others, too. Though the latter song is the more interesting of the two, I picked the former. Sometimes when I’m in a rare black mood, I listen to music that makes it blacker still. And sometimes I just want to feel better. “Reaching Home” never fails to pick me up.

And yes, this song is an Exception to the NCS Rule, but Daniel de Jongh’s arcing vocals on the song are a big part of what makes it so affecting.

“Reaching Home”

[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/03-Reaching-Home.mp3|titles=Textures – Reaching Home]

And with that, we turn to thaaaaaalllllll . . . .


TheMadIsraeli glowingly reviewed Måsstaden for us (here), and then also interviewed the band’s principal creative force, Daniel Bergström (here).

To be brutally honest, I didn’t immediately embrace this album, but it has grown on me quite a bit. The more I’ve listened to it, the more I’ve found in it. Particularly when heard from beginning to end, it has the capacity to completely drown the listener in a flood of overwhelming, gut-busting riffage and strange, cold atmospherics. The trajectory of the songs is usually surprising, moving from thundering hammer blows to ethereal ambience to blasts of acetylene heat, and the dual-toned harsh vocals add an element of raw bestiality.

As I’ve gone back to the album from time to time, I’ve found myself particularly drawn to “Traces”. By far, it’s the most melodic song on the album, due in no small part to the clean vocals (yep, it’s another partial Exception to the Rule), but it also includes plenty of the instrumental body-blows that have garnered Vildhjarta such a fanatic fan-following. There are also interesting prog-metal influences on display as well.

Perhaps because it’s the album’s most melodic song, it’s also the one I’ve found to be the most infectious — and it’s the latest addition to this list:


[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/06-Traces.mp3|titles=Vildhjarta – Traces]


  1. Masstaden was by far one of my favorite albums of 2011, you know the gut busting chug was coming, but you never knew when, or where from.

    I can never get into Textures though, I don’t what it is, just doesn’t do it for me

  2. One expected “All My Feelings” by Vildhjarta for some reason. Of course, one hasn’t been able to sit through the whole album.

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