We have arrived at Part 10 of our growing list of last year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. After the three songs I’m adding to the list today, we’ll be up to a total of 27, with about two and a half weeks left to go before my self-imposed deadline for finishing this thing. To check out the songs preceding these three, click this link.
I probably have some kind of twisted reason for grouping these three songs together, but if I do, it has eluded my conscious mind, and at the moment I don’t have time to plumb the murky depths of my subconscious to determine what it is.
On the 20th of last May, In Mourning released the fourth album of their career with Afterglow. My NCS comrade DGR wrote one of his typically lengthy reviews (here), which included a discussion of how the album fits within the band’s evolving discography. I’m going to excerpt his words about the song from Afterglow that I’m adding to our list — “Below Rise To Above“:
“As one of the first tracks released for Afterglow, it does a fairly good job of demonstrating just how much ground (or salt water) the band travel on Afterglow. It shows up about dead-center on the album, after the remarkably infectious ‘Ashen Crown’ with its quietly clean-sung sections that quickly spill over into headbanging chugs like water going over a fall. ‘Below’, on the other hand, builds up before ending on a quiet and almost blues-level guitar solo (one of the heaviest Opeth comparisons will likely be made here; it’s a type of solo that sounds like it could’ve come right out of the Damnation/Deliverance era of that band).
“Listening to ‘Below’ is like listening to a song construct itself. The opening minutes, up to the first real heavy growl, are like watching someone assemble a building brick by brick; you can almost feel the guitar and drum work stacking on top of each other. ‘Below Rise To The Above’ is a fantastic example of a track just naturally evolving into a complete work in front of the listener. Three-and-a-half minutes in, and you can still hear the DNA of the song’s intro sprinkled throughout, and the places where the song goes seem logical.”
This track combines crystalline fragility and haunting beauty with pulsing physical energy and melodies that slither and soar, combining shades of melancholy with the glow of defiance and triumph. As DGR mentioned, it also includes one hell of a soulful guitar solo at the finale, and I suppose needless to say, the song is also highly addictive.
Here’s another example of a song on the list that comes from an album we failed to review in its entirety. It’s also an example of a song that’s only one of several on an album that could easily have been added to this list. In fact, when I solicited our readers for “Most Infectious Song” suggestions last fall, three different songs from the album received support — and I didn’t pick any of those.
The album is In Memoriam, and it’s the second album by the Norwegian band Mistur, which was formed in 2004 and now includes more than a few members who have also performed with Vreid, as well as other groups such as Kampfar and Emancer.
In Memoriam is a very fine album, and the divergence of opinion about which of the songs best deserves the label “Most Infectious” is itself a testament to how good it is. “Firstborn Son” is my own choice because it includes so many infectious elements — from the jabbing riff at the start (later reprised) to the rocking part that begins alternating with the soaring, blast-driven furnace at 2:30 (also later reprised) to the beautifully gripping, melancholy finish in the song’s final minutes. But my favorite of all the song’s memorable passages is what happens between 4:30 and 5:30, ending with a protracted howl of fury.
We don’t have awards at our site for Best of the Year videos, but if we did, I have no doubt that the video created for “Suden Tunti” would be on it. And yes, “Suden Tunti” is the next song I’m adding to this list. It comes from Jumalten Aika, the 2016 album by Finland’s Moonsorrow, which Wil Cifer reviewed for us here.
The song is the shortest one Moonsorrow have done in ten years, but it’s an epic, mid-paced stomp that does justice to the epic tale that inspired it. As Wil wrote:
“‘Suden Tunti’ finds them slowing down, but also becoming more aggressive. At seven minutes this song is more stripped-down, even with some of the folk elements that crop up between some of the punches. The gang chanting could almost inspire a dwarven circle pit, unless you make successful savings throws against enchanted moshing. This is one of the album’s most powerful songs.”
I also love the little fiddle refrain in the song.