Welcome to Part 6 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.
Despite the fact that Aenaon’s latest album Extance was released almost 12 months ago, and despite the fact that it was recommended in two different posts at our site, by Austin Weber (here) and KevinP (here), I still didn’t get around to exploring its wonders until this month — and only then after it appeared on no fewer than four different year-end lists published at our site, as well as a bunch of reader lists (collected here). One of our year-end contributors (deckard cain) also nominated one of the album’s songs for this “most infectious” list, and today I’m enthusiastically agreeing.
“Grau Diva” is simply immaculate. Yes, that word means “flawless” and “impeccable”, but although I may be accused of hyperbole, that really is how I think of this song. It rocks really hard, driven by some of the juiciest riffs you could want and shot through with bounding bass notes, acrobatic drum work, and spitfire soloing. And it matches harsh, rasping vocals with a clean-sung chorus that’s an irresistible hook. But that’s not all — the song is also laced with unusual avant garde keyboard melodies (performed by Haris of Hail Spirit Noir) that give the music an almost theatrical air. Like the album as a whole, it’s an eclectic, multi-faceted achievement — and a highly infectious one.
CULT OF FIRE
Some of my favorite music of the year appeared on very short releases, and this next song comes from one of them — an EP by the Czech band Cult of Fire named Čtvrtá Symfonie Ohně (The Fourth Symphony of Fire). Released to commemorate the 140th anniversary of a work by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, it includes two tracks, one of which is named for a Czech river and for that composition which the river inspired: “Vitava”.
“Vitava” is one of the most completely bombastic pieces of music I’ve heard all year. Yet despite how many times I’ve heard it (and I’ve listened to it a lot), it has never failed to get my pulse pounding like an injection of adrenaline. As I wrote in my review:
There is indeed a symphonic air to the music, but not so much because of the presence of orchestral-style keyboards as because of the sweeping, dramatic atmosphere of the music. One of the few overtly orchestral references comes at the beginning of “Vltava, when the sound of timpani and darting strings (which might be created with a keyboard or a guitar) precede the appearance of heavy, slow riffs and then eventually a tornado of blasting drums and guitar distortion, which merge together into a raging storm of sound. That darting strings-like melody flashes throughout the song, often barely audible when the storm is at the peak of its fury — but still an electrifying presence.
The song is both inspired and inspiring, both melodically resplendent and savagely powerful — and by my lights it’s also one of the most infectious songs of the year. Listen below…