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.
AUTHOR & PUNISHER
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)”.
PROGENIE TERRESTRE PURA
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: