I’m mainly putting these two songs here so that, six months from now, when I include them in our list of 2014’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, I won’t have to cringe in shame and admit that I never wrote about them.
This New York band’s debut album The Archer Takes Aim was released in March by The Ajna Offensive. It’s “only” four tracks long, but those songs add up to nearly 50 minutes of music. The opening song is “The Tower Falls”. It’s 12 1/2 minutes long and still ends too soon, as far as I’m concerned.
I don’t need to tell you that some of the best metal songs in creation are long-form creations. But our Most Infectious list isn’t necessarily about the best songs. The songs have to be good, mind you, but the main criteria is that they have to be catchy, hard to forget, addictive — and those aren’t the first qualities that principally come to mind (or at least my addled mind) when you think about epic-length music.
No doubt, long jams can have more powerful and lasting effects on your mental and emotional states than short blasts of hook-filled, neck-throttling energy. But you often live in them “in the moment”. They don’t necessarily drift back into your mind and start replaying themselves without any conscious volition of your own. But “The Tower Falls” does that.
It does it in unusual ways, too, by employing rising, dissonant notes that repeatedly surface through stormfronts of black metal vehemence, unexpected dreamy digressions that thump along like springtime strolls beside sun-dappled streams, galloping romps accompanied by the chiming of guitar bells, d-beat rhythms paired with hazy chords, clarion-call melodies that shimmer like auroras, and scalding vocal harshness mixed with vibrato clean voices.
The music verges on the experimental, never remaining in one space for very long, yet its exuberant creativity becomes a beacon that has pulled me back over and again.
Funereal Presence is the embodiment of a single soul, Bestial Devotion, who is also a member of Negative Plane. The album should still be available from The Ajna Offensive here. All four songs are wonders.
SHORES OF NULL
Quiescence is the name of this Roman band’s 2014 debut album on the Candlelight label. As in the case of the album by Funereal Presence, I didn’t write about it, despite making many mental notes to do so. My excuses: Life is short, music is never-ending, I am a douchebag.
If you want to read a review, read this one at Angry Metal Guy. In particular, read these words about the album’s post-intro opening track:
“After a short introduction, ‘Kings of Null’ kicks off sounding like a modernized take on Tales from the Thousand Lakes-era Amorphis. You’ve got energetic drumming, a few simple-yet-catchy melodies on guitar, and the feeling of majesty and urgency bleeding out almost immediately. And then the vocals kick in. Davide Straccione has some fucking pipes, man! He sounds like an interesting mix of Amorphis‘s Tomi Joutsen and Alice in Chains‘s Jerry Cantrell. His voice brings this song from ‘catchy and addictive’ to ‘STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND LISTEN TO THIS RIGHT NOW/ territory, and could easily be at the top of my year-end list of Best Songs of 2014.”
Mr. Grymm has a few bones to pick with the album as a whole in his review, which don’t happen to stick in my throat, but I’m with him about this song. It’s bursting with energy, anchored by powerfully addictive riffs, and propelled to great heights by Davide Straccione’s remarkable vocals (and yes, they’re CLEAN!).