Welcome to Part 8 of our 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.
I thought this New Zealand band’s self-titled 2011 debut was stunning. The fact that they managed to top it with their second album in 2013 was genuinely impressive. Blood Becomes Fire (which I reviewed here) triumphs on the strength of Matt Hyde’s utterly dominating vocals and a phalanx of compelling, sludgy Clayton Anderson riffs. Add in James Woods’ bass lines, which mimic the grinding of tectonic plates deep in the Earth, and Nathan Hickey’s bone-breaking drumwork, and you get metal that’s as apocalyptically heavy as it is neck-snapping.
This was one of many albums released last year that had more than one song I thought was deserving of recognition on this list, but after many replays of this album, “Dune” has come out on top. I wrote in my review that “Matt Hyde has soul, and when he sings it sounds like he’s hacking up hot, smoking chunks of it.” You’ll understand what I mean when you listen to “Dune”. It’s also marked by massive chugging, a bass guitar that grinds like giant grit-encrusted gears about to lock up, and riffs that punch and rumble. It’s an intense song, but one that’s also physically compulsive.
The video for “Dune” also happens to be one of my favorite music videos of the year, too. Watch and listen below.
Inter Arma’s Sky Burial is another example of a 2103 album I thought was immensely powerful and interesting and yet I failed to review it despite its manifold attractions. However, I did manage to scribble something about the next song I’m adding to this list.
I first heard “‘sblood” in the earliest days of February last year and it made an immediate impact. I wrote this about it then: “‘sblood” is the name of the song, and holy hell is it a crusher. Honestly, I’d have been pretty happy if all I got was the intro. The drum line is a galvanic charge all by itself, and when the guitars come in . . . it sounds like bridges collapsing. Actually, the drumming pretty much steals the whole show from start to finish. The song is like one long drum solo with channel-shifting electronic noise and jagged riffs along for the ride. The vocals sound like a man being boiled alive in oil.”
It may strike some as an unusual choice for this list given the unusual dominance of the drums throughout most of the song’s length, but I think the song is undeniably infectious. It’s one of those rare examples where the song’s contagious attraction derives more from the percussion than the stringed instruments. I also thought that the pairing of this song and the Beastwars track was a natural. They’re certainly not stylistically identical, but they seem to me to share a similar spirit and ambience. Also, they’re both crushers, and the vocals share a similarly anguished passion.