As I explained at the outset of this list, I didn’t have it finished when I began it. I’ve been making it up as I go along, without any pre-set idea of how long it would be. But since we’re now a week into February of 2016, I’m forcing myself to bring it to an end by this time next week. It hasn’t been easy, but I spent hours yesterday going through my still-massive list of song candidates and I’ve now got things in place in my head — or at least these things.
Beginning today and continuing through next Sunday I’ll post three new songs for the list each day. Except for next Sunday’s installment, I know which three I’ll post each day. And at the end, I’ll still have many more songs I’d like to post. But all good things must come to an end, and so this exercise will, too.
For most of the installments in the series up to now, I’ve grouped the songs according to certain themes, usually some kind of genre similarity in the groupings. But for most of the remaining installments, I’m focusing on variety, and grouping the songs together in ways that I think make for interesting listening, moving from one song to the next. To see the other songs on the list up to this point, click this link.
This band is so damned good. I feel that they haven’t yet gotten the widespread and tumultuous celebration that they deserve. I picked a song from their last album (The Bat The Wheel And The Long Road To Nowhere) for the 2012 edition of this list, and I’ve picked one for 2015 as well, because 2015 brought us another great new Zatokrev album — Silk Spiders Underwater…
I had a terrible struggle trying to decide between two songs in particular — “Bleeding Island” and “Swallow the Teeth”. I think “Bleeding Island” is overall probably the better song and the more comprehensive representation of Zatokrev’s talents, but drummer Frédéric Hug’s fantastic star-turn on “Swallow the Teeth” pushed me over the edge — not to mention everything else about the song that’s so gripping and potent.
P.S. I have to mention that Zatokrev’s main man Frederyk Rotter has a solo side project called The Leaving, and last month he released a very good video (made by Milena Kancheva) for a single called “Hurtmachine” that’s gotten its hooks in me. Not metal, to be sure, but for the hell of it I’m sharing the song right after this video for “Swallow the Teeth”.
SWALLOW THE SUN
Songs From The North I, II & III is undoubtedly the longest album we’ve ever reviewed, and fittingly, DGR’s write-up is also undoubtedly the longest review we’ve ever published. Hell, he wrote four paragraphs just about the one song that’s my next addition to this list.
I’ll provide an “executive summary” of what DGR wrote about “Heartstrings Shattering” (and I think he’s right): It’s Swallow the Sun in their comfort zone, practicing the sound for which they’re now best known — but although there are fewer surprises than are to be found elsewhere on this massive album, “the execution is almost flawless and the song is a jaw-dropper”. It’s cold and beautiful, with a lot of clean singing — including a performance in the main chorus by guest vocalist Aleah of Trees Of Eternity — and of course it’s highly memorable, i.e., infectious.
To conclude this trio of new songs for the list, I have a track from a 2015 EP that really caught me off guard. I’ll crib from what I wrote in my review of Beautiful and Damned by the Danish band Slægt:
“While there are moments of high-speed black metal ripping and tearing here and there, along with a medium-weight coating of gritty distortion in the guitar tones and a vocalist who utters the lyrics in an echoing, demon-panther snarl, this is a guitar-driven album that’s loaded with magnetically attractive melodic hooks…. This is an unusually good EP that I have no doubt will draw a legion of fans the more word about it spreads.”
“Move In Chaos” is the song I picked from the EP. I pretty much knew from the first time I heard this genre-bending song that it would be on this list. It still gets my blood racing as much as it did the first time.