Today we resume the rollout of our continuing 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.
The songs I’m adding to our list today come from the two most high-profile “comeback” albums of 2014. Both generated a lot of overheated discussion everywhere metalheads congregated to opine and pontificate. Both generated controversy, and in both cases the controversy stemmed from the inevitable comparisons with each band’s own previous landmark works. By now, everyone has chosen up sides. I’m on the side that thinks both albums are very good, and worthy additions to each band’s storied discography. And they both include some of the year’s most infectious extreme metal songs.
AT THE GATES
Few bands have ever made as indelible a mark on the history of metal as this one. In four straight years they produced The Red In the Sky Is Ours, With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness, Terminal Spirit Disease, and of course Slaughter of the Soul. And then almost 20 years passed before At the Gates delivered their fifth album, At War With Reality (reviewed here). Many bands who have resurrected their careers after a long hiatus would have been better off leaving us only with memories. In this case, we are lucky that At the Gates have come back.
Both our staff and our readers nominated multiple songs to this list from At War With Reality, and it proved to be a tough choice for me — one that I’m sure will provoke some disagreement. But in addition to being an excellent song overall, I’ve found “Eater of the Gods” to be powerfully infectious, like a disease and an addictive drug at the same time — and it doesn’t wear out its welcome. Listen below…
Bloodbath didn’t wait as long as At the Gates before bringing out their latest album, Grand Morbid Funeral (reviewed here). “Only” six years passed after the release of The Fathomless Mastery. But it can still properly be considered a “comeback album” because, in addition to the passage of time, Bloodbath reappeared with a new frontman. He had big shoes to fill, having been preceded by the likes of Mikael Lars Åkerfeldt and Alf Peter Tägtgren, and that made Old Nick a lightning rod.
I was one of those listeners who did not immediately embrace Nick Holmes’ vocals — and I was reticent almost entirely because of the memories of the voices that preceded him. It took me a little while (and multiple spins of the album) to take him on his own terms, and to realize how well his vocals suit the aura of the album’s underlying music. It is evil music, and the malignant wickedness of his grim, raspy voice is a suitable match, a match made in hell, even if it isn’t as deep or powerful as the roars of his predecessors.
The album was the source of multiple candidates for this list. Several of my NCS comrades backed the anthemic title track, but I was more drawn (as DGR was) to the more up-tempo “Unite In Pain”. It’s as raw and grimy as everything else on the album, and it’s a surefire headbang accelerant and mosh pit trigger. Catchy as hell, too.