Here we have Part 12 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.
Today’s installment of the series is brought to you by the NCS Department of Bombastic Brutality, with an assist from the Division of Wretched Excess. Those segments of the NCS bureaucracy are just full of suggestions, but as much as I like bombast and excess, I find that although such forms of metal expression are fun in the moment, they often lack that contagious quality that’s necessary for selection to this particular list. But today’s two songs are both infectious AND capable of causing epileptic seizures.
I’ve been such a slobbery fan of these Italian maestros that I had a running joke in my posts years ago that I would pay them enough to come live with me and serenade me whenever I wanted, just as soon as those Nigerians who were always offering me bags of gold dust and stacks of cash paid up on their promises. Except I wasn’t joking.
I’ve gotten a huge kick out of every FA release, their live shows (and I’ve seen three so far) have always been deliriously over the top, and they are about the nicest people in person that you could ever want to meet. I suppose I might have been predisposed to name them to this list, but how would I know?
Andy Synn is possibly more objective about the band than I, and in his NCS review of 2013’s Labyrinth he wrote this (with which, of course, I agree):
“Fundamentally a brutal and brilliantly punishing listen, Labyrinth is actually far cleverer and more delightfully esoteric in places than the band are often given credit for. And, despite the devastating shock and awe on display, it’s also more interested in leaving a lasting impression, rather than simply impressing, and is all the more impressive for it.
“Once you’re past the initial shockwave, you’ll find that the key to the band’s success is not just a product of their blitzkrieg sonic assault, but an often underappreciated ability to find a balance point between operatic pomp, symphonic melody, and death metal brutality, allowing the subtle undercurrents of each song to insinuate themselves into your subconscious.”
Insinuating into the subconscious… why I do believe that’s another way of saying “infectious”!
The song I picked from Labyrinth for this list is “Pathfinder”. It’s a titanic, head-spinning, head-exploding extravaganza that showcases the band’s exuberant talents and the growing confidence with which they employ them. It also insinuates itself into the subconscious.
P.S. FA have made a music video for “Pathfinder”, which will be released on February 3, and below the song you’ll find two teasers for it, the second of which just appeared today.
On the other side of the globe and considerably south from the home base of Fleshgod Apocalypse you will find Australia’s The Amenta. Their 2013 album (the first full-length in almost five years) was Flesh Is Heir, and DGR reviewed it for us (here), characterizing it as “adrenaline-fueled rush at the end of the world”.
“Flesh Is Heir is a massive and incredibly dense album packed into forty-five minutes, with moments ranging from calculated ferocity to sheer chaos in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t sound polished; it sounds distorted and disgusting. Man, what it does offer though is a crushing bit of extreme music that whiplashes from industrial, to death metal, to black metal, to every spectrum the band could come up with in between – so long as they could blast and scream over it.”
In many respects, Flesh Is Heir is a challenging listen, but as ugly and oppressive as it often is, it is also fascinating. And one song in particular has gotten its hooks into me. It’s the closing song, “Tabula Rasa”. I decided to pair it with the FA song because it displays a similar bombastic extravagance (as well as comparably insane drumming and vocal explosiveness). It flays the senses, and yet its jolting bursts of machine-gun percussive power will get your head bobbing, too.
The Amenta have announced that they will stop performing live, and it’s not even 100% clear that we will see more studio recordings under The Amenta’s name. I hope we will see more from this creative group, but if not, this was a fine way to go out.