This is the Hungarian installment of our Most Infectious Song list (to see the songs that have preceded these three, go here). If you’re unfamiliar with the albums from which they come, you’ll discover that two of them include mainly clean singing and are thus Exceptions to our Rule. But the vocals are a significant element in the songs’ appeal. Not only is the singing very good, the singing is in Hungarian.
I suppose there are other ways in which some of us hear music in a way that differs from what others hear, but linguistic differences certainly seem to be an inarguable example. And in my case, as a native English speaker, there is something about the texture of the Hungarian language when used in a song that really resonates with me. But even apart from that aspect of the music, all three of these songs are highly infectious.
I lavished attention on Sgùrr, the latest album by Thy Catafalque, with a premiere, a review, an interview, and other features leading up to its release. I did this because I love the album (I’m not the only one around here who feels that way — Professor D. Grover the XIIIth, who first introduced me to the band, put it at No. 3 on his year-end list earlier today).
In addition to the overall high quality of the album and the remarkable variety of music that it encompasses, Tamás Kátai once again wrote some very memorable songs — so many that I struggled over which one to choose for this list. My task might have been made somewhat easier by the fact that this list is supposed to be devoted to infectious extreme metal songs, and some of the best music on Sgùrr isn’t really metal at all. But I bend that rule sometimes, too (as I’m doing today), so it didn’t solve my problem (plus, the most metal songs on the album are tough to pick between anyway).
The song I ultimately chose is an unusual pick for this list because it’s more than 15 minutes long. “Infectious” usually isn’t a word you think of when considering long-form songs, but I maintain that “Oldódó formák a halál titokzatos birodalmában” deserves the adjective — especially during its first six minutes and its final three. The whole song is also great for other reasons as well.
The next song comes from Zeng, the second album by Perihelion. The first time I heard “Égrengető”, I knew immediately that it would be a candidate for this list — though others from the album eventually joined it, including the track we premiered (“Vég se hozza el”).
I saw a comment that compared “Égrengető” to an Alcest song with a metal climax, and there’s some truth to that. The bass and drum performance at the beginning of the song has plenty of heft (and it’s quite catchy), and the ethereal guitar melody that shimmers and echoes above it is mesmerizing. In time, the music builds in intensity, with the drums blasting, the guitars racing, and vocalist Gyula Vasvári sending his voice into the stratosphere. The video still makes for a great eye-catching companion to the music, too.
There are more connections between this last song today and the first one in the post beyond the fact that both artists are Hungarian. I first heard about Attila Bakos because of his striking vocal contributions to two exceptional Thy Catafalque albums — Róka hasa rádió (2009) and Rengeteg (2011) — and his vocals on a song from the latter album (“Fekete mezők”) are a part of why it’s one of my most-listened-to metal songs ever.
I reviewed his 2015 solo album Aranyhajnal (which means “golden dawn”) here. It’s as spellbinding and beautiful as the artwork by Gyula Havancsák that graces its cover. But the music also sticks hard in the brain.
The first song I heard from the album is the one that has stuck the hardest, and “Életerő” is the next addition to our list: