After taking an extra day to collect my thoughts about what should come next on this list, which is sort of like trying to collect hummingbirds, I’m prepared to resume.
This is Part 11 of our list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. Each day (almost) until the list is finished, I’m posting at least 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 I’m announcing today, click here.
2012 was a banner year for what could be broadly termed technical death metal. I do think that’s a broad term, which could encompass everything from Hate Eternal or the ephemeral Necrophagist to Atheist, from the brutal and largely atonal to the melodic and experimental. But across that range, 2012 was a great year.
I will say that as much as I enjoy “tech death”, “infectious” isn’t a word I would often apply to the music. It can be galvanizing and even intellectually involving without being memorable. But the songs I’m adding today were both.
The basic verdict on this band’s self-titled album is that Cryptopsy are back, with a vengeance! The album made many of the year-end lists we’ve posted, including those of our staff scribes Andy Synn and TheMadIsraeli (who reviewed it for us here). It was indeed a striking return to form.
The song I’ve picked for this list is the first one I heard from the album in advance of its release, and for me at least it has proven to be the fattest ear worm on the record. “Two-Pound Torch” combines unrelenting brutality and jaw-dropping technical proficiency with mighty grooves and a nasty little recurring melody that’s sticks like velcro, not to mention a very tasty guitar solo.
“TWO-POUND TORCH”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Cryptopsy-Two-Pound-Torch.mp3|titles=Cryptopsy – Two-Pound Torch]
This French band’s 2012 album A Perfect Absolution has also made many year-end lists, both at NCS and elsewhere. It was reviewed for us (here) by our pal GroverXIII.
Talking about Cryptopsy and Gorod in the same context is certainly one vivid illustration of the breadth of music included within what might be called “tech death”. Where Gorod might be forced to give way to Cryptopsy on the brutality scale, they have few (if any peers) in the genre when it comes to exuberant creativity , technical mastery of their instruments, and the incorporation of diverse musical influences (and melody) into their music.
I know I will get arguments about the song I picked for this list. But as much as I loved other tracks such as “Axe of God” and “Birds of Sulphur”, “Varangian Paradise” is the one to which I’ve returned most often.
I get such a fuckin’ charge out of listening to Gorod’s surprisingly seamless melding of metal heaviness, funk, several different flavors of jazz, and a whole shitload of technical acrobatics into this one, very memorable song.
“VARANGIAN PARADISE”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/07.-Varangian-Paradise.mp3|titles=Gorod – Varangian Paradise]