For today’s second trio of tracks that I’m adding to our list of 2015’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs, I’ve grouped together songs that strike me as similar in spirit if not precisely in sound — and they complement each other when played back-to-back, too.
To check out the songs that preceded these in the rollout of the list, you’ll find them collected behind this link.
I confess that I was late diving into The Children of the Night, even after reading Wil Cifer’s NCS review of the album, which included these tantalizing words:
“This is very much a guitar-centric album. The riffs are more than hammers that pound your head until you begin banging it, but tools to entrench the dark melodies into your hungering ears. On first listen, certain songs have the brighter epic metal tone that might cause Enslaved comparisons to abound, but the band is setting the stage for something more sinister lurking under the surface, while Enslaved sails their prog power longboats into Norse lore.”
I guess I wasn’t sure I was going to like the course changes I had been reading about — I was quite happy with the band’s last album, The Formulas of Death, which was the source of a song I put on this “Most Infectious” list for 2013 (here). But when I finally did give it a full chance, I understood why it was being so widely acclaimed. And sure enough, it’s the source of another song that I think qualifies as highly infectious — many songs, actually, but my rule is to limit myself to one per album. And so…
Enjoy “The Motherhood of God“:
Last year brought us a new EP by this Gothenburg group of blood-suckers named Cimmerian Shade. And while the EP continues to serve up the mix of death, black, and thrash metal accompanied by horror-strewn lyrics that made their debut album so noteworthy, it also shows some spreading of their (bat) wings in ways that make me even more eager for the next full-length.
This was yet another release that I didn’t pounce on as fast as I should have, and was chastened for my oversight when I read our pal Leperkahn’s write-up about the next song I’m adding to the list:
“The track burns with an occult energy, and reminds me a bit of the newest Tribulation album. It has a certain warmth to the guitar tone that certainly wasn’t present on the debut, though I find it to be a welcome change. Don’t you worry though – the track is still heavy as hell, and that main riff could drive a dead man to march right out of his grave.”
Yes indeed, “Pyre of the Harvest Queen” is a hell of an infectious song, quite capable of raising the dead. And yes, it seemed like a good fit with that Tribulation track.
THIRD REICH SATANS THRONE
I expect lots of head-scratching among readers when they come to this next entry on the list. And unless you happened to catch one of my Shades of Black posts in mid-October, it will come completely out of left field.
The song is “Higher Truth“, and it’s one of only two tracks on the first and only release by this Ukrainian one-man band (now situated in Poland) with a name that will make some people squirm uncomfortably — but which actually isn’t intended to suggest NSBM ideology but instead refers to the Altar of Zeus from the once-great city of Pergamum in Asia Minor, which the Bible referred to as “the place where Satan dwells” (it became the architectural basis for the grandstand at the Nazi rally grounds in Nuremberg).
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve listened to this short release — certainly at least once a week since I first came upon it. I very nearly decided to put the other song on this list, because they’re equally infectious in my mind. But since the other song is a cover track (of Pentagram’s “Relentless”), I thought it might be better to go with the original composition.
“Higher Truth” is a blending of black metal and throwback occult doom that alternates between crushing, dirge-like sections and exhilarating rumbles (with a cool psychedelic solo in one of the slow parts and riffs in the up-tempo sections that are catchy as fuck). Having listened to the song dozens of times, how could I not include it here?
P.S. To get a completely satisfying headbang going, be sure to let the player keep running so you can hear the cover of “Relentless”.