Welcome to Part 5 of my list of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs. 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.
2013 was a banner year for the ongoing revival of old school death metal. Two of the standout releases in that vein are the sources of today’s two additions to this list — but they won’t be the last.
HAIL OF BULLETS
Hail of Bullets returned to the battlefield in 2013 with their third album, III: The Rommel Chronicles. TheMadIsraeli reviewed it for us (here) and it has subsequently appeared on many of our year-end lists. It’s a masterful fusion of scorching-fast death metal and abysmal, suffocating doom. To quote from TheMadIsraeli’s review:
“It doesn’t get much better than this. In fact, III: The Rommel Chronicles is a perfect album. It is brutality personified, but more than that, it’s brutality mixed with human emotion, tangibly capturing a frantic fanaticism to survive, to win, even on the brink of death and defeat. No one captures the horror of their subject matter better than Hail of Bullets, and it’s hard to imagine that anyone ever will.”
I’ve been a big fan of this album since the first listen, and I’ve kept several songs from it on my list of candidates for these “most infectious” honors, including “Swoop of the Falcon” and “Pour le Merite”. But after going back and forth multiple times in my thinking, the song that I’ve picked for the list is “DG-7”. Not only is it an irresistible headbang trigger, it includes an affecting melody that has a way of infiltrating your head and staying there. Listen below.
JUST BEFORE DAWN
The debut album by Sweden’s Just Before Dawn — Precis innan gryningen — was one of the best old-school, Swedish-style death metal albums I heard last year. I attempted to explain why in this review. In a nutshell, it includes lethally infectious riffs and grim melodies that give each song a distinctive and memorable personality; the production makes it sound massive; and the top-shelf instrumental chops of JBD mastermind Anders Biazzi are matched by the horrible roars of an impressive line-up of guest vocalists.
I like the whole album, from start to finish, but the title track is the one that has stuck in my head the most persistently, perhaps in part because the vocalist on that song is Rogga Johansson. It’s the latest addition to our “most infectious” list, and you can hear it below.