Welcome to the 22nd — and final — part of
our my list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. In each installment, I’ve been 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 six I’m announcing today, click here. And in the near future I’ll compile all the songs in a single post.
That’s right — six songs, because 666. Have you figured out yet that I’m really terrible at making choices among things I really like? Do you begin to understand why I don’t compile my own year-list of the best albums? I mean, shit, this thing has grown to 22 installments and the only reason I’m finally stopping is because the month of January is over today and even I realize that it’s getting out of hand.
But we’re going out in a blaze of glory — a blaze of death metal glory, with six songs representing six different flavors of the genre, beginning with who else but . . .
TheMadIsraeli reviewed this legendary band’s latest offering for us (here) and included this summing up: “Torture is the latest crusade in Cannibal Corpse’s tyrannical campaign to rule over everyone and everything with audio carnage so visceral that simply listening creates a serious risk of blood-vomiting convulsions. But Torture? Torture is officially the best album of the Corpsegrinder era yet.”
“Infectious” is not only an apt word for this list’s next song, but for Torture as a whole. And for me that’s a big part of what made the album so special — it’s both eviscerating and amazingly, convulsively catchy.
In the first minute of “Sarcophagic Frenzy” you get the sound of a hellish locomotive, followed by the sound of a giant, swarming bee hive, followed by . . . headbang city! And the journey is accompanied by the serenade of a big barking mastiff. And that’s just the first minute. It gets even better before it ends.
“SARCOPHAGIC FRENZY”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/02-Sarcophagic-Frenzy.mp3|titles=Cannibal Corpse-Sarcophagic Frenzy]
This is the second year in a row that I’ve picked a song by this Finnish band for our “Most Infectious” list — and in both years the songs came from EPs, because that’s all they’ve produced so far (though they’re hoping to finish a debut album in 2013). I reviewed the 2012 EP (Apparition of Ending) here last April, and wrote this about the next song on this list:
“The EP’s title track, ‘Apparition of Ending’, is definitely a candidate for this year’s edition of that NCS “most infectious songs” list. In fact, I’m tempted to just put it on the list right now, without waiting until the end of the year. The verse riffs are physically jolting, and the hook-filled chorus features a combination of lead guitar and bass that’s a sure-fire winner.”
These dudes really know how to harness together the low-slung viciousness of old school death metal and memorable, head-bobbing melodies. I really do love this fucking song.
“APPARITION OF ENDING”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Apparition-of-Ending.mp3|titles=Magenta Harvest-Apparition of Ending]
I had every intention of reviewing Sophicide’s debut album Perdition of the Sublime after hearing and then featuring (here) the first track to begin streaming from it. I fucked up. Despite how truly remarkable the album is, I didn’t give it the attention it deserved.
Part of what makes the album so remarkable is that it’s the work of single person — Adam Laszlo — who is now all of about 22 years old. The music is technically masterful and just bursting with exuberant creativity, without ever losing a pleasing aura of carnivorous brutality.
Last year was a banner year for technical death metal, and Sophicide still managed to hang with the big dogs at the front of the pack, in part because the music is as catchy as it is head-whipping. Here’s my favorite song on the album and one of the year’s most infectious.
“FREEDOM OF MIND”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/07-Sophicide-Freedom-Of-Mind.mp3|titles=Sophicie-Freedom of Mind]
This band’s 2012 album Illusions of Grandeur caught me a bit off guard. As a stalwart fan of their past albums, I was expecting (and wanting) one thing and I got something different. Instead of classic Swedish death metal smoking with the effluent of a chainsaw and stinking of corpse meat, they took a more pronounced turn toward Gothenburg-style melodic death metal. I’m probably exaggerating the contrast, because the band have always had a deft hand for incorporating melody into their carnage, but I also think the change is undeniable.
I’m not saying the result was bad by any stretch — Evocation are still powerfully good songwriters and performers — but some of the songs on the latest album sound less like Evocation and more like other well-known bands who already more or less own the sound.
Take the next song on this list — “Divide and Conquer”. I’m sure Evocation are tired hearing this, but it really does sound remarkably like something off of Amon Amarth’s Twilight of the Thunder Gods. Is this a bad thing? Fuck no! I happen to love Amon Amarth . . . and this song.
“DIVIDE AND CONQUER”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/03-Divide-And-Conquer.mp3|titles=Evocation-Divide and Conquer]
I’m down to the last two songs on this list, and I want to go out hard, beginning with a song called “Grimorium Verum” by Rattenfänger.
Rattenfänger are a new band from Ukraine, but the band’s four members have already established their kvlt cred: They are also the four members of Drudkh and Old Silver Key (along with Neige from Alcest), and three of them are also members of Blood of Kingu. Their 2012 debut album Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum didn’t get near the attention it deserved (and shit, I failed to review it myself, even after writing this laudatory introductory post).
This next song is also the first one from the album that I heard, and it has stayed with me. It’s horrifyingly dark and virally infectious, with a catchy, occult guitar melody appearing here and there amidst a phalanx of massive, stomping riffs and bone-snapping percussion. Needling tremolo leads also make an appearance, as if boring through craniums to get at the soft tissues inside. Apart from the grim melodies, what really gives the song that horrifying aura are the vast, cavernous, bestial vocals of the über-talented Roman Saenko.
“GRIMORIUM VERUM”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Rattenfanger-Grimorium-Verum.mp3|titles=Rattenfanger-Grimorium Verum]
Well, as raw and punishing as that last track was, Ævangelist ups the ante. I discovered this band through friend of the site Utmu (who wrote about it here), and I’ve become a rabid addict of their 2012 album De Masticatione Mortuorum in Tumulis. One song in particular has racked up a lot of plays on my iPod — “Blood and Darkness”.
It’s a malignant, remorseless, unstoppable assault of blackened death metal. Yet for all its destructive power it exerts a hypnotic hold on the senses, one coupled with the irresistible command of a very dark lord: THOU SHALT HEADBANG!
“BLOOD AND DARKNESS”[audio:https://www.nocleansinging.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/07-Blood-Darkness.mp3|titles=AEvangelist-Blood and Darkness]