Welcome to Part 4 of our list of 2014′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. For the other songs we’ve previously named to the list, go here. Today we add two more songs, from two rising stars in the firmament of metal, both of whom match technically impressive instrumental skill with songwriting prowess.
BLACK CROWN INITIATE
At the moment, I can’t remember a current band whose fortunes have risen so far, so fast, as Black Crown Initiate from Reading, PA. On the strength of one four-song EP — Song of the Crippled Bull (glowingly reviewed here by TheMadIsraeli) — they landed on a slew of high-profile, kickass tours, the first of which was headlined by Behemoth (I reviewed the Seattle stop of that mega-tour here). That EP also landed them a spot on the roster of eOne Music, which released the band’s debut album this year — The Wreckage of Stars.
The album proved beyond doubt that Song of the Crippled Bull was no fluke. As DGR wrote in our review of the album:
“They are a young band who succeeded in finding the almost perfect combination of songwriting talent, musicianship, and artistic bravery to stretch well beyond their own genre conventions…. Their songs have so many different elements to grasp onto: If you happen to really like ambitious music, they’ve got you covered. You want that strong, arena-rock-worthy chorus? Black Crown have it in spades in six or seven of the songs on Wreckage Of Stars. You want the groove-happy, ultra-heavy death metal on which the North American scene has built its foundations? Black Crown have that, too….
“The Wreckage Of Stars is a remarkably impressive label debut for Black Crown Initiate and one that I hope will be enormously successful for the band — because if the material the band have out now is an accurate portent of the future, we have an impressively creative group of individuals sitting in front of us and we need to get as much material from them as possible.”
The band’s three-pronged vocal attack is an integral part of their appeal, and as DGR pointed out in his extended write-up, there are some ridiculously catchy choruses sprinkled throughout the album. Though a strong case could be made for “A Great Mistake”, DGR and I agree that the most infectious one lies within “Withering Waves” — and that’s the song I’m adding to our list today. Of course, the track has a lot of other good things going for it as well. Listen below…
P.S. The band are continuing their string of appearances on impressive tours: next up will be their road jaunt with Napalm Death, Voivod, Exhumed, and Iron Reagan. We re-printed the schedule here.
For our second song in today’s installment of this series I’m jumping half the world away from Reading, PA, to Iran, where Azooma make their home. They haven’t made the kind of immediate splash that Black Crown Initiate have made, but their talents are deserving of equal recognition.
2014 brought the appearance of their debut EP, A Hymn of the Vicious Monster. When I reviewed it in June, I called it “hands-down the best technical death metal album I’ve heard so far this year”:
“In a nutshell, this album is a huge surprise, an impressively mature and sophisticated work created by a group of top-shelf musicians. If they were located in a place more visible in the metal world than Iran, I would bet serious money their name would spread like wildfire among devotees of progressive and technical death metal. I certainly hope it will anyway, because this band deserve a wide audience.”
Six months further on, and my enthusiasm for this album hasn’t waned. It remains one of the brightest discoveries of the year, and well worth hearing in its entirety. But there is one song in particular that I’ve gone back to repeatedly, the one I heard as an advance track before hearing the entire work — “Encapsulated Delusion”. It’s heavy as hell, it’s instrumentally extravagant, and it’s also highly infectious. I think it has earned its way onto this list.