Welcome to Part 12 of our continuing list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. To see the other songs I’ve named to the list so far, click this link.
The albums that were the source of today’s two additions were death metal favorites among readers of our site, and I’m a fan of both of them as well. I decided to group them together because one or both of them seemed to appear just about everywhere I looked in perusing year-end lists at other sites and print zines, and because both bands come from the UK and have names that end in TUM.
I wondered whether Sarpanitum’s new album Blessed Be My Brothers would be remembered on year-end lists, given that the album was released way back in February. As noted above, that proved to be a needless concern: the album seems to have appeared everywhere, even on the YE lists of those “big platform” sites whose lists I half-jokingly include in our LISTMANIA series. In this case, all the accolades have been well-deserved — it’s a fantastic album.
By my lights, the two strongest contenders for this list were “By Virtuous Reclamation” and “Glorification Upon the Powdered Bones of the Sundered Dead”, though I’m sure many of you would have other songs you would also include. I chose the latter.
Like much of the rest of the album, “Glorification” rips, tears, and swarms in an explosion of technically immaculate chaos, with gargantuan vocals that are as slow and measured as the instrumental music is unhinged. Yet where Sarpanitum really excel is their ingenious ability to weave into the maelstrom of sound a sequence of seductive guitar and keyboard melodies that not only plant the music in your head but also achieve a kind of grandeur in this wild hunt.
Charnel Passages was an album I really looked forward to hearing last year. It’s Cruciamentum’s debut album and was their first new music since 2011. It proved to be well worth the long wait.
Though I strongly considered other tracks from the album for this list, the one I picked is “Piety Carved From Flesh”. When I discovered the song after its premiere in advance of the album release, I scribbled these words:
“When I first saw the song’s title, my scrambled brain read it as “Piety Carved From Flies” — and it does sound like a swarm of flies, if flies were the size of Great Danes. The drilling riffs are thoroughly morbid, giving off a powerful stench of decay as the grisly melody rises and falls through the whirring haze of sound. The song is punctuated with booming grooves, it features an excellent drum performance, and the vocalist’s howling tirades are a perfect accompaniment for this gruesome offering of death metal illness.”
Even after hearing the rest of the album, “Piety” is still the one that has stuck in my head most firmly.