Feb 102016



It’s conceivable that there are people out there who actually noticed that notwithstanding my earlier promise about posting one of these installments every day this week, I failed to do that yesterday. In between other posts that were more urgent and interference from my fucking day job, I just couldn’t manage it. So, to keep on schedule, I’m posting two installments today!

In case anyone happens to stumble on this post with no idea what I’m talking about, this is my year-end list of 2015’s “Most Infectious Metal Songs”, which will come to an end on Sunday, and there are 20 previous installments you can inspect via this link.


I am so damned happy that Khemmis‘ 2015 album has been so damned successful. Lots of people knew how good they were before I had my first taste of their music at the 2014 Denver Black Sky festival, but I still like to think I was at least hanging around the launching pad before the rocket took off.


Khemmis 2015


The music made an immediate impact, and the people made an impact too, at least insofar as I could judge from a bit of talk over a beer in Denver and an interview over the internet.

If you haven’t yet heard Absolution, I really hope this one last year-end accolade will convince you to do that. Listen to “The Bereaved” — it’s amazing, and if you’re like me, it will get stuck in your head for months on end and become one of those songs you go to whenever you want to send your mind far away from whatever’s fucking with it.








Rivers of Nihil - Monarchy


I think if I didn’t include a song from the latest Rivers of Nihil album on this list, their fans would come for me with torches and pitchforks. When we asked for reader input on the most infectious songs from last year, their 2015 album got a tremendous backing. But honestly, I’m not doing this out of fear for my personal safety. Honest.

And you know why I can prove that? Because I’m likely to get hate mail anyway. There are so many infectious songs on Monarchy that it’s a given that people will prefer tracks like “Perpetual Growth Machine”, or “Sand Baptism”, or the title track, or… well, you get the idea.

But I’m going with “Circles In the Sky”.








Byzantine-To Release Is To Resolve

It’s possible that I’m not completely objective about this band. As a person of color (and by that I mean a person with a lot of grey/white hair on his head and in his beard), I have great admiration for Chris Ojeda’s spirit and determination.

Through the force of his own personality, talent, and the drive that burns within him, he brought Byzantine back from the grave and has persisted in keeping it going while dealing with the daily struggles that come with the travails of life as a working man… of color.


Byzantine live


But I like to believe that as much kinship as I instinctively feel for Mr. Ojeda, I can still listen to the music that he and his talented bandmates made on last year’s To Release Is To Resolve and be able to appreciate it even if I thought it had been made by people in their 20’s.

Except I can’t imagine people in their 20’s making this album. There’s a lifetime of loving metal burned into the album, a life that spans a decades-long range. And it’s full of tracks that put big smiles on my own wrinkled face. This one happens to be the one I have found most infectious — but it had a lot of competition on the track list. Enjoy “The Agonies“:



  1. That Byzantine record really ended up under the radar, didn’t it? It got little if any play in year-end lists. Granted, it’s not as strong as the prior, self-titled release. That thing was a flash of lightning. Still I’m surprised how little attention this record has received in the metal blogosphere. Great pick and glad it’s here.

    (Might have gone for “God Forsaken” myself, if only for that groovy-as-hell second half.)

    • I feel like the problem is is that the self titled was a pretty focused straight forward effort. Now with Tony Rohrbough and his song writing input gone Ojeda wants to strive for more ambitious progressive inclinations and the start of that was “To Release Is To Resolve”.

      Personally I think it’s the bands best since “Serpents…”. “The Justinian Code” is one of the best songs they’ve ever written.

    • I’ve seen it crop up in a couple of places, so it’s not gone totally unnoticed, thankfully.

      The self-titled did set an incredibly high bar though (particularly for what was, essentially, a “comeback” album) and there’s only flashes of the same sort of brilliance on “To Release…”, as too many of the songs feel a little disjointed. That said, there’s some absolute killer tracks too (as we can see/hear here).

  2. That Khemmis album is a goddamned masterpiece. So stoked to hear more from them. If they ever need a place to crash in Chicago, I’ve got room.

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