Dec 292012

This is Part 2 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. 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 introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the two we’re announcing today, click this link.

Picking the songs for this list is hard, but deciding how to pair them for these daily posts is a bit of a kick. It provides an opportunity for some small amount of creativity, which is the amount that I have. A small amount.

Sometimes, my creativity may be reflected in nothing more than pairing two bands who happen to be from the same country, or whose names begin with the same letter (see above re small amount of creativity). Sometimes, the two songs may be paired because of the musical contrast between them. And sometimes, they might be grouped together because there’s some kind of kinship the music shares — and that’s what’s going on today.


As in the case of our first two song selections, this one comes from an album that was a big hit at NCS (see our review here). Of course, it was a big hit just about anywhere you looked this year, and it’s now popping up on tons of year-end lists, including our own. To quote from our latest list posted earlier today, Monolith of Inhumanity is “a bona fide classic”.

As in the case of other albums that are strong from start to finish, Monolith includes more than one song that could easily deserve a place on this list. But I picked “Lifestalker”. It begins with a white-hot blast of death-grind, all blistering riffage and meaty slams and Travis Ryan going from horrific rising growls to hair-on-fire shrieks. And then a few bass notes announce a surprising shift into something very different and very, very cool — one of many “what the fuck?!?” moments on this album. And it’s that surprising, slowed-down, soaring clean-vocal interlude that’s part of what makes this song so damned memorable.


[audio:|titles=Cattle Decapitation – Lifestalker]


Anaal Nathrakh’s Vanitas also received a lot of love here at NCS, spawning two reviews (as well as a slew of other notices):

To quote Andy Synn from his post naming Vanitas to the No. 4 spot on his list of the 10 albums that set the highest standards for the past year in metal: “A triptych of lethal execution, creative composition, and blistering ambition, Vanitas may well be the jewel in Anaal Nathrakh’s very own crown of swords, hammering home the band’s mantra of extremity and expression, unfiltered and unaltered by outside concerns. Explosions of grinding cyber-punk collide with eruptions of mechanised blackened deathcrush, all welded together by Dave Hunt’s inhuman vocals and Mick Kenney’s apocalyptic instrumentation.”

As Andy further noted, Vanitas also includes surprising moments of melodic contrast that are a vital part of what makes the band’s creations so distinctive — and so infectious. You’ll hear what I mean in my next pick for this list, “Forging Towards the Sunset” (it was a close call between this track and “A Metaphor For the Dead”, where Dave Hunt’s contrasting clean vox play an especially prominent role). Maybe you’ll discover why I found a kindred spirit in this song and Cattle Decap’s “Lifestalker”.


[audio:|titles=Anaal Nathrakh – Forging Towards the Sunset]



  1. Great picks and nice pairing.

  2. Like Byrd said, the pairing is really good. Meshuggah and Gojira fit together like mud and bad days and Cattle Decapitation and Anaal Nathrakh fit together like ax murderers and the deserts of South Dakota.

    I also think these two songs are excellent picks. Cattle Decapitation’s weird melodic vocals on that album always get trapped inside my skull, and I deathly wish I could sing along with them. And that Anaal Nathrakh song is the first one you’ve picked off an album that is also my favorite song. I really like your album choices but I always have different songs I’d pick off the album. But Forging Towards The Sunset is easily the most infectious song off Vanitas.

    I’m suddenly really looking forward to the rest of this list. It’s funny, last year when I just started reading this website I meandered through your Most Infectious list and didn’t find any of them very interesting. I certainly have evolved over the year.

  3. Niceo!! Those are my favorite songs of their respective albums as well.

  4. Haven’t heard cattle decapitation yet, but I agree on the pick from Vanitas. Forging.. is so damn catchy but also venomously aggressive at the same time that it’s easily the most infectious from the album.

  5. Excellent picks, Vanitas is my personal AOTY and Forging is easily my favourite song on the album. However, the song you linked is “You Can’t Save Me… So Stop Fucking Trying” and not Forging. Might want to fix that .

    • Shit. That will teach me to test what I’ve done before posting. I’ve now substituted the correct song. But “You Can’t Save Me” is pretty damned infectious, too. 🙂

  6. So, Gojira, Cattle Decapitation, Meshuggah, and Anaal Nathrakh…Im not feeling real confident about this list 🙂

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