EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION: Our list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs is the only list I personally make for our site each year. As you know, I rely a lot on recommendations from readers in assembling the master list of candidates — which is why I’ve again invited readers to leave their recommendations in the Comments on this post. And because it’s my only list each year, I’ve never posted anyone else’s except to welcome them in that Comment section. But mainly, no one has ever asked to put their own “infectious song” list on the site as a separate post.
However, this weekend I received an e-mail of infectious songs from eiterorm, a long-time NCS reader, commenter, source of musical recommendations, and occasional guest writer, who lives in Norway. He didn’t ask that his list be posted as an article, but he put so much effort into it and it was so well-written (and the list is so good) that I thought I should share it — even though there’s a significant risk that a number of his own selections will appear on my own list when I start to roll it out within the next week. Anyway, here are eiterorm’s selections and explanations:
At long last I finished my list of the worst infections I’ve had in the year 2015. I’m convinced that you already know the infectious nature of most, if not all, entries on my list. Nevertheless I’ve added links to each infection to ease the spreading. Some of these infections have not come alone, but I’ve only listed the most infectious one from each band. I’ve also added necessary comments to each entry.
Mgła – Exercises in Futility V
This is undoubtedly the most infectious track of the entire 2015, and for that alone it deserves a thorough explanation. It also comes off the best and most infectious album of 2015, and if you hadn’t already written a review about the album, I certainly would have. It seemed a bit silly to have two reviews of the same album on the blog, though, so I wasn’t even going to ask permission for that. But I have to at least get some words off my mind about this track
The news about another Mgła album caught me by surprise, and naturally the first thing I did was to place an order for the album. Then, only a short while after, I saw a post on NCS featuring a review of the album, as well as a YouTube video featuring the entire album. I read a few paragraphs of the review before I discovered the YouTube video at the bottom. I distinctly remember reading a sentence saying that Exercises in Futility was even better than With Hearts Toward None, and I immediately thought: “surely, that’s impossible”. After having heard the album, I utterly agree, and I now wonder if we’ll even hear an album that tops this one.
Now, onto the track. When I listened to the album the first few times, I’d reach track number IV and conclude that track IV had to be the climax of the album. The cymbals. The riffs. Everything. Then, once track IV had ended, track V would start and completely disintegrate my previous conclusion. Albeit track V doesn’t start off quite as intense as track IV, the first two minutes of rhythmic guitars are as persistent and unfaltering as an endless mass of smoldering coal. The forceful guitar repetitions adamantly proclaim the arrival of an immense conflagration. Then, at about 2:15, the immolation begins. This — this is where I experience true ecstasy. The undulant riffing, accompanied by the frenetic cymbal work that is so iconic of Mgła, completely entrances me in its all-consuming torrents. This — this is a true infection.
FIN – How the West Was Won
This next track also comes off an album that in itself is one big infection. Initially, I picked the track named “A Man Who Would Be King”, but that one didn’t appear to be available for streaming, so I picked “How the West Was Won” instead. The specific track doesn’t matter too much, seeing as I could have picked mostly any track from the album for this list — the album is just that good… and equally infectious. I guess I should add that it was NCS that introduced me to this band earlier this year, so thanks a fucking bunch for that. Along with Mgła’s Exercises in Futility, this album is one of the most frequently played albums of 2015 at my place.
Misþyrming – Söngur Uppljómunar
It is abundantly clear that the smoldering embers of Iceland are steadily spreading and gaining strength. And out of all the Icelandic embers we’ve seen the past years, Misþyrming’s Söngvar elds og óreiðu is perhaps the one that burns the brightest. Misþyrming’s “Söngur Uppljómunar” instantly reminded me of the screeching guitars on Peste Noire’s “Paysage Mauvais”, only indescribably much better. Along with impeccable rhythm guitars and the deep screams of the vocalist, this parasite of a track is bound to latch onto your brain. And just like the ones above, the entire album is one big infection in and of itself.
Kjeld – Baduhenna
This track comes off yet another album that is immensely infectious from beginning to end. This is solid black metal with excellent riffs and vocals like barbed wire, and I had the pleasure of discovering this band through NCS earlier this year.
VI – Regarde tes cadavres car il ne te permettra pas qu’on les enterre
I promise I didn’t pick this track just because of its long title, and I think the intense, frenetic playing on this track is proof aplenty. Listening to this track has a high risk of seizures, so proceed with caution.
Nadiwrath – A New Humanity
One, two, fuck you! Just like the ones above, Nadiwrath’s entire album is one big infection in and of itself, but the fevers reach the boiling point when this track comes on.
Shrine of Insanabilis – Ruina
Dissonant and gruesome — just the way I like my black metal.
Pale Chalice – Weltering Depths of the Carrion Wave
More of the finest black metal of the year MMXV. The entire album is stupendous, but this very track has an edge that is slightly more plague-ridden than the rest. I guess that explains the carrion wave mentioned in the track tite.
Ghost – From the Pinnacle to the Pit
Now for something that isn’t black metal. With a bass line and chants like this one, how can you possibly resist?
Régiment – La mort du nègre
From what I gather, this is the correct title of the track, although the meaning is essentially the same (“the death of the negro”). What really makes this track so infectious is the impeccable guitar work, with galloping heavy metal riffs in an otherwise much darker composition that makes the guitars even more outstanding. I was truly disappointed to discover that the rest of the album was a lot less interesting than this particular track.
Dalkhu – Accepting the Buried Signs
From the first second, this track had my head in severe spasms… and they still haven’t ceased.
Pentagram – Misunderstood
This one is a rather straightforward heavy/doom metal song, but no less infectious. Every time I listen to Pentagram’s latest album, this song is the one that still plays in my head long after the album has finished playing. An amusing thing about this song is the way Bobby Liebling sings the word “misunderstood”, which makes him sound like Bill Nighy (the English actor).
Outre – Chant VI – Vengeance
The dissonance and the intensity of the instruments along with the agonizing vocals grasp you by the throat and won’t let go. Halfway into the track, you get a small gasp of air, and then the grip closes again. Can you resist the Polish plague?
Blaze of Perdition – Into the Void Again
More Polish black metal with agonizing vocals. This infernal blaze sucks you in like a maelstrom. The best thing to do is to simply embrace what awaits you in the deep.
Blaze of Sorrow – La Madre
More blazing (and amazing) black metal. Well, it’s not pure black metal, but that doesn’t make it any less contagious. The rhythms in this track makes me want to dance violently. Considering how much I dislike dancing, this is solid proof of how captivating this track is.
Virus of Koch – Voro: Forma Mentis
The rest Virus of Koch’s repertoir hasn’t really convinced me, but this particular track truly is a virus like few others (pun obviously intended).
Sunset in the 12th House – Desert’s Eschaton
Black and doom metal are not my only addictions — post-rock is also one of my vices. Thus, it should come as no surprise that the rhythms in this track have never left my head since I first heard it.
Ghost Bath – Death and the Maiden
It was either this one or “Golden Number”, but “Death and the Maiden” stuck slightly longer. The wailing guitars still echo in my head. And the tune at the very end of the track is one that I’ve been whistling on and off since this album was released.
Finsterforst – Mann gegen Mensch
Well, this one ain’t available for streaming neither on YouTube nor on Bandcamp, so I guess you better harass Napalm Records if you want to feature this track on NCS. The drum work on this track induces involuntary movements of the entire corpus. Although these are symptoms that are typical of Finsterforst, the tom rolls on this track linger in my brain like a resilient parasite. Infectious? Yes, indeed.
Editor’s Note: I am good for something! I found the track:
Alkaloid – The Malkuth Grimoire
With an opening like this track has, what’s there not to like?
Tengger Cavalry – Соёмбо (Hymn of the Mongolian Totem)
Although their album of 2015 was a re-recording of their debut album, the opening track is a new one. It is short (not even two minutes long) and almost purely instrumental (the only vocals on the track are wordless chants), but the rhythms are a maelstrom that immediately pulls you under. Once submerged, all you can do is flail your arms at the percussive currents.
Vargnatt – Allein, in mir
The melody and screams in this track are both haunting and addictive — a perfect combination if you want the shivers.
Mephorash – Riphyon-The Tree of Assiyah Putrescent
Although the entire track is great, it is particularly the introduction that I find most infectious. When I hear the chanting and the drums in the opening, I simply cannot keep my hands still, and I also simply have to chant along.
Necrosy – Drown into Perdition (at 320 bpm)
GraveCoven – Summoning Vengeance (and Contagion)
This one is a nice blend of elements from black, doom, and death metal. The deep guitars, the guttural vocals, and the intense drums, followed by that pulsating black metal makes this track a beguiling experience.
Katavasia – The Chariot of Emperor
This track is simple. I don’t know how else to put it. And although I like this track, just like the rest of the album, I wouldn’t place it on the top of a “best of 2015” list. Nevertheless, the refrain in this track really sticks — specifically the words “long live the emperor”, along with the simple guitar melody. So for that reason alone, it’s a perfect candidate for this list.
Shining – Last Day
Although their latest release is not as good as their Blackjazz album, Shining still know how to make sticky tunes.
Human Bodies – Resolution
This is filthy, and I like it!
Tempel – Carvings in the Door
“Carvings in the Brain” would be a better title after this track has left its mark.
Lucifer’s Child – Spirits of Amenta
I don’t know exactly what to put my finger on with this track, but it sure is infectious.
Ogotay – Entering the Void
The riffs and rhythms on this track reminds me of a steam train — a steam train on collision course with the brain. That even rhymed.
Vredehammer – Spawn Tyrant
Appropriately intense and aptly infectious.
Considering I have to sum up an entire year of infections, there are probably a few I have forgotten. But the most important ones are here, at least.
I’m looking forward to reading your final list in the beginning of next year.