Over the last two months, as I made my way through the hundreds of songs that had become candidates for this list, I fell into the habit of grouping certain songs together for listening purposes, usually because I thought they would complement each other. The first three in today’s quartet formed one of those playlists, and they kind of got stuck together in my head. I enjoyed the trip through them so much (and so often) that I decided all three belonged on this “Most Infectious” list, and that they should stay together here, just as they did when I was trying to figure out this list as a whole.
And then in recent days I found that another song I had already decided to include worked well as an addition to the original trio — which is why this installment includes four tracks instead of the usual two or three. (The songs that preceded these four on the list can be found here.)
When I included “The Aftermath/Beginning” on the list of candidates for this series, I had forgotten that Gloson’s Yearwalker was originally self-released in 2014, because we “premiered” this song from it last February in advance of its March 2015 vinyl release by Art of Propaganda and Catatonic State Records. When I remembered only days ago that the song was from a 2014 release, it was too late for me to abandon it (see the paragraph above about the first three songs in this post being joined at the hip).
Yearwalker is a highly successful union of sludge and post-metal that’s both deeply atmospheric and primal in its bone-rattling power. As for this song in particular, here’s what I had to say when we premiered it:
“Entrancing guitar notes transform into pile-driving riffs, dreamlike melody is overpowered by an avalanche of rumbling darkness, caustic howls scrape against vulnerable flesh. As the song continues to unfold, yet another entrancing guitar melody spirals over the crushing low-end rhythms, like northern lights shimmering over mountain crags. The sludgy power of the song will get your head moving while it casts a spell at the same time.”
When you hear the song, I hope you’ll understand why I couldn’t bring myself to strike it from the list even though it first saw the light of day in 2014.
Loimann are from Torino in the Piemonte region of Italy, and their second album Drowning Merged Tantras was released early last year by Behold the Ruins Records. I was originally drawn to it by the cover art, created by one of my favorite metal artists, Costin Chioreanu. I managed only the briefest of reviews for the album (here) — so brief that I can repeat almost all of it right here:
“The mainly mid-paced music is ridiculously heavy, anchored by transfixing low-end riffs and powerful bass and drum rhythms. The melodies are grim as a pile of corpses, but they have an air of bleak, titanic majesty as well, and the reverberating vocals (which span an impressive range) are strong and impassioned. Top all that off with a bounty of mesmerizing lead guitar excursions, and you’ve got music that hammers really hard and rocks like an avalanche, too — music that’s haunting, menacing, and thoroughly gripping…. It’s one of the best new things I’ve discovered in this new year.”
And “Haeresis” in particular has stood the test of time in my head. Heavy as hell, but very infectious:
I presume that Crypt Sermon need no introduction. It seemed that wherever I looked at year-end lists, Out of the Garden was in the rankings. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of another debut album in 2015 that made a bigger and more wide-ranging impact among metal fans. With success like that, Crypt Sermon are clearly here to stay, though they’ve set a ridiculously high bar for themselves in whatever they release next.
I could have thrown a dart at the track list for Out of the Garden and been satisfied that whatever it hit would be a justifiable addition to this list. But I wasn’t quite that random in picking “Temple Doors“. Not only is it a great song, to my ears it’s the most infectious among a highly addictive group of tracks on this album.
I’ll add that I’m still dumbfounded by the fact that this album is Brooks Wilson’s first outing as a vocalist — there are moments in this song when he reaches Robert Plant levels of awesome. His bandmates absolutely kill it on this song as well.
And now we come to that track that I decided at the last minute would make a great addition to the trio I had already decided to include in this installment of the list. Stylistically, it diverges from them, but I still think it makes a nice finish to an already excellent listening session — and I had decided long ago that I would put the song on this list at some point anyway.
When I went to the Bandcamp page for the album to grab the embed code for the song this morning, I saw this comment from a fan named Hank, which made me laugh:
“These guys tap into levels of speed and ferocity never before experienced by man. Like how do these dudes not spontaneously combust while playing. This is some filthy, sweaty, manly man Black Metal right here, none of that trendy BS getting circle jerked at Pitchfork.”
Funny, but also kind of true. The title of the release is Pedicabo Mundi, and it’s this Rhode Island band’s second EP. I reviewed it here, with such frothy words of enthusiasm as these:
“What grabbed me about the EP (and still does) is the torrential energy that floods the music and engulfs the listener. It’s a devilish, distorted explosion of galvanizing thrash riffs, with pulverizing rhythms that drive like massive pistons, shrieking guitar solos that will leave third-degree burns, and utterly ferocious howls and roars flying through the maelstrom like a demon horde that’s just broken down the gates of hell…. In a nutshell, this is a bloodthirsty, thrashing black/death beast that’s just goddamned irresistible.”
Also, Pedicabo Mundi is yet another release where I could have thrown a dart at the track list and been happy adding whatever it hit to this list. But the one I picked after happily listening to the EP again was this savage skull-pounder: “Ave il Luce“.
P.S. Sangus are at work on a new album. Maybe we’ll get it before this year is out. Hallelujah.