Feb 052014

Welcome to Part 20 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 songs I’m announcing today, click here.

In an effort to complete this list in your lifetime, I’ve decided to start tripling up, but hopefully not tripping up. From now until I finish, there will be three songs in each installment. As usual, I’m trying to group the songs together in ways that make some kind of sense. Perhaps you’ll decide that today’s songs are collected together because they really don’t fit anywhere else. I think they actually make a pretty cool little 3-part playlist.


For those not in the know, Author & Punisher is the part-band-part-art-project of Tristan Shone, who uses his skills as a mechanical engineer to create unique electronic instruments, out of which he wrings emotionally suffocating industrial doom, with heavy elements of dub and drone music. We have written about A&P frequently, and DGR reviewed the 2013 album, Women & Children here

One song in particular has hammered itself into my head so hard that it stuck, like a spike in the bone. It’s cold, mechanical, and eerie — and it’s pummeling, scarring, and convulsive.  It’s “Melee”:





Vanhelga are a Swedish band, the brainchild of Jacob Ottosson (aka “145188″), who until recently has been the band’s vocalist and sole instrumentalist. With Vanhelga’s most recent EP, Sommar, he was joined for the first time by Johan Gabrielson (“1853″), a former member of the late, lamented Lifelover, as a vocalist and lyricist. I reviewed the EP here.

Trying to describe, much less summarize, the music is difficult. It’s an unusual combination of styles, including (but not limited to) black metal, post-rock, post-punk, and gothic. Its overall atmosphere is melancholy and at times even depressive, with textures of urban angst and desolation — and occasional eruptions of fierce anger — but each song has its own face, its own character.

My favorite track, and one that comes back to me in full after hearing only the first notes is “Another Side (Of Me)”.





In my review, I went on at considerable length about the glories of this Italian band’s 2014 debut album, U.M.A. It was quite different from most of my usual listening, but I was thoroughly captivated by it. Much of the time the music sounds like a soundtrack to one of those beautifully filmed movies about the wonders of the Earth, or more aptly, an aural accompaniment to a trip through the cosmos.

But the album’s slow, shining, and dreamlike moments are broken by rough edges, too — moments when blast-beats erupt and (moderately) distorted guitars begin to grind or jab, moments when harsh howls and roars well up from some cavernous space, distant enough that they seem almost ghostly but still tainting the air with a remnant of black metal vehemence.

I didn’t find many long songs in 2013 that I’d call “infectious”, but this album’s opening track (which shares the band’s name) is one of them. Let it build in your head:



  1. U.M.A. is slowly becoming one of my all time favourite albums.

  2. As soon as I become ‘unbroke’, UMA is on my list, it has that rare gift of conjuring up an atmosphere that I think a lot of ambient-style releases just miss the mark on.

  3. U.M.A. is really great song and that artwork is so damn cool

  4. I haven’t got to any of the bands on this post but I just wanted to say that this is an awesome segment. I’ve been spotifying each day’s bands and have been totally satisfied with everything I’ve heard. One or two albums a day gives me a constant drip of new kick ass music and isn’t overwhelming. I just wish I made more time for metal outside of my commute!

    • Ah, you give me encouragement to forge ahead. I’ve been feeling guilty for letting this thing go on so long! Just too many fine songs that I feel compelled to share. But still, I’m getting close to the end.

  5. I really gotta make time for U.M.A. Author and Punisher is definitely an interesting project; I keep on meaning to see him, especially since he’s a San Diego local, but I never seem to know about any of his performances in time.

  6. Seems like Bandcamp is having a sad-on 🙁

  7. U.M.A sounds like Vangelis doing a collaboration with someone like Enslaved. Come to think of it, I wish Vangelis would do something like that.

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