Jan 302014

Welcome to Part 15 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.


This Finnish duo’s 2013 album, Below, was one of the year’s best — and most astonishing — surprises. At one level, it is dank, moldering, primitive, highly destructive death metal with an overhang of catastrophic doom. In fact, when I wrote about the album’s first advance track, it was in a post entitled “Horrific”. And yet there is so much more to it than a recapitulation of old-school crypt-born precedents. The music often evolves in unpredictable ways, with strange guitar interludes and off-balance drum rhythms, and the atmosphere is often completely otherworldly, as if we are being treated to death metal from a parallel dimension different from our own.

The production quality is murky and obscure. The vocals become vehement proclamations of damnation when they’re not howling with ghastly malevolence. As TheMadIsraeli put it in his review, “The music of Lantern is really, at its core, an esoteric roar from a cavernous abyss.” And yet I think many of the songs are also strangely infectious. I wouldn’t go so far as to cay they’re “catchy”, but they exert a strong magnetic attraction that has drawn me back to Below many times since first encountering it.

I think “Entrenching Presences” is probably the album’s best song, and the one that most fully encapsulates the qualities that make the album so striking. And for me, it’s also the one whose magnetic field has been the most irresistible. It belongs on this list.






We published no fewer than six posts about this “super group” dating back to our first discovery of its formation, and yet never managed to turn out a review of their excellent self-titled debut. But take it from me — it really is excellent and really is worth your time if you haven’t yet discovered it. And if you’re unaware of the talents who have banded together under the VHÖL name, allow me to repeat their names: John Cobbett (Hammers of Misfortune, ex-LudicraGWAR, and Slough Feg), Aesop Dekker (AgallochWorm Oroborus), Sigrid Sheie (Hammers of Misfortune), and Mike Scheidt (YOB).

The first song from the album that I heard turned out to be the one that I’ve gone back to more than any other. “Grace” is a ripping, rocking, moshing, pedal-to-the-metal fusion of rapid-fire guitars, high-octane drum and bass rhythms, scalding black metal vocals and banshee shrieks, a couple of brain-melting guitar solos, and a quick but oh-so-cool bass solo. And did I mention that it’s also highly infectious? It sure as hell is… and it’s the latest addition to this evolving list. Listen below.




  1. i hadn’t heard the Vhol track before, i absolutely love it

  2. I was really late to the game on Vhol..all the hype kind of turned me off of it, but once I gave it a chance it turned out to be a really sweet piece of music.

    I’ll give part 15 my stoic nod of approval

    • I think most of the hype stemmed from the “supergroup” tag. Not being a fan of the members’ other projects, save Agalloch, I think I was first drawn in by the cover. Once listening, it quickly revealed itself to be a completely different beast altogether and, along with Lantern, became one of my essential releases of the year. Now I just hope it becomes more than a side project.

      • I happen to like the members’ main projects a lot, but like you I really hope they don’t let this album become a one-off thing. They’re onto something too good not to keep going with these ideas.

    • I humbly accept your nod.

  3. I meant to get to Vhol, and just never did. Damn me.

    • Damning is pretty harsh. I suggest self-flaggelation.

      • I’ll have to dig through my garage for my whip. I think I put it in with the Christmas lights.

        • Huh. That’s usually where I keep my whip too. When it’s not in use.

        • Dude, have you ever been smacked with Christmas lights? Those fuckers can hurt, use them instead. Bonus: broken bulbs!

          • There’s a reason I put the two together. Best to keep all your self-flagellating equipment in one place.

            • True, but if one can serve two purposes at once, why have two? Sure, you can’t perform your duties when the lights are put up, but sometimes you need a break to appreciate what you have. Plus, if you live in a colder area and take care of personal matters one last time, you can possibly make mini-bloodsicles if they’re outdoor lights. Work smarter, not harder!

  4. Spot on with Entrenching Presences although Manifesting Shambolic Aura was a good track as well.

    • That was my second choice. In fact, it may actually be the more infectious of the two, but I think “Entrenching” is the more impressive overall — so maybe I bent the rules a bit. 🙂

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.