Nov 182014

It’s that time of year again, when we start preparing for the frenzy of year-end Listmania. As explained in this post last week, our Listmania extravaganza comes in four parts. First, we re-print assorted lists of the year’s best albums, leeched from other web sites and magazines. Second, we collect our readers’ lists of the 2014 albums and shorter releases they enjoyed the most. Third, we post the year-end lists of our own staff and assorted guest writers. And fourth, I’ll roll out my list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs.

And that last list is the subject of this request for help (we’ll be inviting you to give us your lists of the year’s best albums as we get closer to the actual end of the year — so start thinking about that).

In case you’ve become an NCS reader since this time last year, here’s what this is about:

To repeat, this isn’t a list of the best metal albums of the year. It’s not even our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year — though some of the songs might actually be among the best of the year. Instead, ours is a list of the most infectious extreme metal songs we’ve heard this year. We’re talking about songs that might produce involuntary physical movement, songs that have got catchy rhythms, memorable melodies, sweet grooves, or anything else that sticks the song in your head and makes you want to keep listening to it.

To be one of the most infectious songs of the year, it’s got to be something that worms its way into your brain to such an extent you can’t get it out (and wouldn’t want to) — you mentally replay it at unexpected times and you go back to the song repeatedly for listening. “Most played” is probably a good synonym.

I’ve already got my own working list of candidates — there are almost 200 songs on there at the moment — and I’m going to collect suggestions from all of our regular writers. But no doubt we will overlook some gems, so, here’s what I want: Please leave comments to this post with your suggestions — or e-mail them to:

I’ll then pick what I think are the most infectious tracks of the year and start playing those songs for you in groups of two or three as we get closer to year-end. The first year we did this (2009), I limited the list to 10 songs. In 2010, I expanded it to 30. In 2011 it grew to 39. In 2012 it topped out at 56. And last year I worked really hard and got the list all the way down to.. gulp… 73.

As you can tell, I have a really fuckin’ hard time making lists. I have no idea how many songs we’ll feature this year.

So, reflect on the music you’ve really been enjoying this year and please let us hear from you. By leaving your favorite songs in the comments, this post will also become a way for other metal fans to find good new metal.


  1. Diocletian – Beast Atop The Trapezoid
    Blut Aus Nord – Hùbris
    Bölzer – Steppes

    These three infected me more than any other releases. Their bloated play counts in itunes is proof enough for me.

  2. Sinmara – Verminous
    Falls of Rauros – Waxen Voices
    Mare Cognitum – Weaving the Thread of Transendence

  3. Machine Head – Now We Die
    The symphonic elements in this song are a great dynamic with Machine Head’s usual sound. While it’s not the first time for metal as a whole, it is for MH. I like the pace and tempo of this song, it proves that you don’t have to play 300 bpm with constant double-kicking to be “heavy.”

    Obituary – Visions In My Head
    When the band first released this song, I must have listened to it at work close to 30 times. It’s so bouncy and groovy! It’s “catchy” for death metal and doesn’t try to bludgeon the listener to death.

    Below – Portal
    One of my first journeys into doom metal. Excellent mix and production quality for a virtually unknown band. Creepy, haunting, lumbering riffage. Drums and bass sound organic and low. The instrumentation makes the band really feel like a unit, instead of just a bunch of guys backing up the frontman.

    Aceldama – Tortured
    I forget exactly how I found this band. They’re from Costa Rica and they play old school death that defies a lot of the ‘core of the modern era. Simple, straightforward, brutal.

    Sleep – The Clarity
    Until we get more sludgy thrash from High On Fire, this will definitely do. At 9:51, this song is an epic and ambitious return to form for Pike & Co. Very reminiscent of “ Sleep’s Holy Mountain,” but with modern recording quality. New drummer Jason Roeder has no problem filling Chris Hakius’ shoes. If you’re looking for a heavy, slow, laid back tune with loud low end, this is for you.

    Falconer – There’s A Crow On The Barrow
    I just found this band within the last year or so. Why I hadn’t heard of them before, I have no idea. Those looking for a classical vocalist, look no further. Plus, drummer Karsten Larsson can hold his own easily against any modern death metal drummer. Superb folk metal from Sweden.

    Abysmal Dawn – Inanimate
    This tune works so well because of its midtempo groove that begs one’s head to bang. It sticks out from the rest of the tracks on the album for that reason. Back to back listens are a must.

    Unearth – The Swarm
    This song was a breath of fresh air for metalcore. With AILD falling by the wayside and ATR having an identity crisis, Unearth have made breakdowns exciting again. Trevor Phipps’ vocals seem extra fiery on this release.

    Metallica – Lords Of Summer
    Hate if you want, I love this tune. One of Lars’ best drum performances in recent years, especially live.

    Witch Mountain – Your Corrupt Ways (Sour The Hymn)
    This song needs to be in the soundtrack for a horror film. It’s eerie and epic doom with raspy female vocals. Think Janis Joplin meets Black Sabbath.

    Dust Bolt – Soul Erazor
    Along with Evile, these guys are one of the more promising thrash bands in recent years. A lot of the new thrash bands get hate because they sound “too much” like older bands. I’m ok with that, because I love thrash metal and hate that it fizzled out in the 90’s. If you’re a thrash fan, give this one a spin.

    Opeth – Eternal Rains Will Come
    Proggy, jazzy, goodness like only Opeth can deliver. Sure, it’s not “The Leper Affinity,” but if I wanted that I’d listen to that song. ‘Nuff said.

    Massacre – As We Wait To Die
    This one was a darkhorse for me. I listened to it on a whim and really dug it. Dumb, meatheaded, and old school Florida DM. Too bad the rest of the album wasn’t as good as this song.

    Seprevation – In Torment They Burn
    Speedy, grating, shrill deathrash in the vein of Pestilence, Possessed, and old Sepultura. Bass enthusiasts should really dig this band. If you need your metal to push the bpms, check this band out.

    Saving Grace – +0
    Along with the Unearth release, this band did something new for metalcore and made it exciting again. Harsh and vitriolic vocals spewing forth venom and rage. This song would make a great alarm for waking up in the morning. Listen to the first 15 seconds and you’ll see what I mean.

    Demon Hunter – Artificial Light
    I know this band gets a lot of flack for their theological worldview, but we’re talking about infections songs. And this one definitely is. I’ll admit, I’m a fan.I love this band and everything they do. But I can’t get this song’s chorus out of my head.

    Dragonforce – The Game
    New(er) frontman Marc Hudson really came into his own on the new DF album, and this song proves it. If meth was music, it would be Dragonforce. Had this in my head for days.

    Black Label Society – Fields Of Unforgiveness
    I heard the new BLS on Spotify and bought it. I love this whole album, and this song in particular. It’s somber and heavy. Zakk Wylde’s one of the few that really understands that you don’t have to play faster or brutal-er to be “heavy.”

    Sabaton – Night Witches
    Another random one. Checked this out on a whim and this song blew me away. Their music should be used in war films.

    Alestorm – Walk The Plank
    How a pirate-themed metal band waited until their fourth record to include a song about “walking the plank” is beyond me. But it works really well. The death vocals in the chorus are something new for Alestorm, and this one is sure to be a fan favorite at shows.

    Accept – Stampede
    I liked the last 2 records with Tornillo. And I loved this song. It’s great for a workout playlist.

    Hammerfall – Live Life Loud
    This riff is something straight out of an 80’s sports montage. Cheesy? Perhaps. But it’s power metal and that’s ok.

  4. Trenchrot – Death By Trenchrot
    Sexcrement – Salt Peter (after being turned on to this by this site, I can’t stop listening to this song)
    Nunslaughter – Blood Drinker
    Vader – The Eye Of The Abyss
    Fistula – Smoke Cat Hair And Toe Nails
    Hyelish – Enferma Humanidad
    Hyelish – Sabor A Muerte
    DIckless Tracy – Remnants
    Jute Gyte – Mansions Of Fear, Mansions Of Pain

    I haven’t seen these mentioned yet.

  5. I feel sure we will continue to get more lists/comments, so I’m not trying to cut that off — just wanted to say thank-you to everyone who has contributed so far. There’s an amazing amount of fantastic metal in these lists, and so many discoveries for me — which really is the whole point (not just to point me in new directions, but to point anyone who comes here in the direction of wonderful music they haven’t heard yet)..

  6. Sorry to be tardy to the party. I am sure some of these have been mentioned, but I figured I would throw in my two cents.

    Abysmal Dawn-“Inanimate”
    Black Crown Initiate-“Purge”
    Cannibal Corpse-“Kill or Become”
    Dark Fortress-“I Am The Jigsaw of a Mad God”
    A Hill To Die Upon-“O Death”
    Machine Head-“Night of Long Knives”
    Aborted-“Coffin Upon Coffin”
    At The Gates-“Order From Chaos”
    Archspire-“Lucid Collective Somnambulation”
    Insomnium-“The River”

  7. Mechina – Terrae
    “Only titans remain!!”. The chorus is great, and then the song morphs into an entirely different beast towards the end.

    Aversions Crown – Hollow Planet.
    When I first saw this video I thought ‘okay, another deathcore band’. Somehow they just end up sounding so ‘samey’ to me most of the time. But then this strangely paradoxical ‘melodic chorus that’s not a melodic chorus’ kicked in and I was hooked. Hell there’s even crabcore in that video and I love. Those dudes can seriously play too. Throw in some sci fi concepts and it’s all I need.

    Machine Head – Now We Die

    Trepalium – Voodoo Moonshine.
    It makes me want to drink, pull out the cards with the boys and start gambling. Which is bad.

    Signs – United in Tragedy

    Xerath – Bleed This Body Clean & Veil Pt 1.
    Although I was lukewarm on this album at first, over the last few weeks I’ve come to love it. ‘Bleed This Body Clean’ has a great combo of being one of the heaviest tracks and a great catchy chorus. ‘Veil Pt 1’ is such a fascinating track – high pitched high vocals, not what I expected out of Xerath, but it works. And the spoken/whispered 2nd half ‘When I’m dead….’ makes me want to sing along… which kind of means whispering along 😉

    Allegaeon – Biomech II

    Septic Flesh – Order Of Dracul.
    Sorry Andy, I love this album 🙂

    Babymetal – Megitsune
    I would rate this as the strongest track on the album. It has everything Babymetal all in one song.

    Siegewyrm – Devil’s Dance
    A great mix of heavy, esoteric sounding chorus and mellow interludes

    .. and there’s probably a bunch I can’t remember and will kick myself later for not thinking of them.

  8. Hello. IDK will it be helpful (interesting) or not but here is my list of best albums of 2014:

    Akrotheism – Behold the Son of Plagues (2014)
    Dead Congregation – Promulgation of the Fall (2014)
    Destructive Explosion of Anal Garland – Tour de Anal (2014)
    Enabler – La Fin Absolue Du Monde (2014)
    Exordium Mors – The Apotheosis of Death (2014)
    Fossils – Flesh Hammer (2014)
    Horrid – Sacrilegious Fornication (2014)
    Khroma – Collapse (2014)
    Malhkebre – Revelation (2014)
    Mysticum – Planet Satan (2014)
    Nausea – Condemned to the System (2014)
    Skinfather – None Will Mourn (2014)
    Plebeian Grandstand – Lowgazers (2014)
    Ne Obliviscaris – Citadel (2014)
    Nocturnal Breed – Napalm Nights (2014)

  9. Picked 15 that have grown on me over the year:

    Agalloch – Celestial Effigy
    Allegaeon – 1.618
    Behemoth – Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
    Bloodbath – Famine Of God’s Word
    Cannibal Corpse – Kill Or Become
    Crowbar – Symmetry in White
    Down – We Knew Him Well
    Entombed A.D. – Bedlam Attack
    Equilibrium – Wirthaus Gaudi
    Mastodon – The Motherload
    Misery Index – Conjuring The Cull
    Opeth – Cusp of Eternity
    Primordial – Where Greater Men Have Fallen
    Triptykon – Boleskine House
    Vallenfyre – Scabs

  10. Nasheim has gotten too few listing across the metal blogosphere this year. The song I can’t get away from is Tragedie des ombres by Grimoire.

  11. PRIMORDIAL – Wield Lightning To Split The Sun

 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.