This is Part 6 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 here.
I was all set to write the introduction to this installment of our list, and then BadWolf did it for me over at Invisible Oranges: 2012 was the year in which often occult-themed classic rock stylings from the 60s and 70s made a big splash in the metal pool. I don’t mean to suggest that there weren’t bands playing that kind of music before 2012 — to the contrary. But it really seemed to take off last year.
I liked quite a bit of what I heard, but I was most partial to the bands who mixed some vocal ugliness into their hook-filled retro stew (I know, what a shocker). And that leads me to our next two additions to this list. Neither of them really quite fits the profile of the bands BadWolf mentions in his IO piece, but they’re related.
On their 2012 debut album Torches Ablaze (which I reviewed here), the Finnish duo known as Arkhamin Kirjasto pulled off a neat trick: combining throwback heavy metal and rock riffs, death metal vocals, atmospheric guitar touches, and Lovecraftian lyrics in a way that was as interesting as it was (and is) irresistible.
Every song was virally infectious, but one in particular has remained steadfastly rooted in my memory. It’s one of the handful of songs I knew months ago would be on this final list. Loosen up your neck muscles and prepare to take a trip to headbang city.
“THE CULT OF NO RETURN”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/01-01-The-Cult-of-No-Return.mp3|titles=Arkhamin Kirjasto -The Cult of No Return]
HAIL SPIRIT NOIR
I heard the debut album of this essentially two-man Greek band last March, and it still spins my head all the way around. As I wrote in my review:
“What makes Pneuma so arresting is the brashness with which it combines dramatically disparate styles of music (and instrumental sounds) without completely losing the thread of cohesion. Cohabiting, more or less cooperatively, under a loose framework of black metal aesthetics are everything from 60′s flower-power pop psychedelics to 70′s prog rock to 80′s New Wave dance beats to melodic doom and cool jazz — and let’s not forget about the strings, the mellotron, and the occasional punk chord progressions.”
It really is the kind of album that has to be heard to be believed. I sure as hell became a believer.
All the songs are infectious, but after much debate with myself, I’m adding the album’s closer, “Haire Pneuma Skoteino”, to this list. It features all sorts of keyboard tones — a concert organ, a Hammond organ, and a mellotron, but at its core it’s a head-bobbing rocker with occult lyrics and a strange atmosphere. And ugly vocals.
“HAIRE PNEUMA SKOTEINO”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/06-Haire-Pneuma-Skoteino.mp3|titles=Hail Spirit Noir – Haire Pneuma Skoteino]