Well, I did it again. I let two days go by without posting a further installment of our growing list of Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Unfortunately, I don’t have time at the moment to double up, as I did the last time I fell behind. If the day goes well, I might be able to add Part 17 before the day ends.
Once again, I perceive a sense of musical belonging between the three songs I’m grouping together, although there are important differences among them and I’m not sure I could articulate the connections even if I had more time.
The self-titled debut album by the former frontman of Immortal landed very early in 2016, and I think it convincingly answered the questions and doubts of most fans who had been left with a bad taste in their mouths from the public squabbling among the former Immortal brethren — because the album is damned good.
I’ll excerpt a particularly relevant passage from Wil Cifer’s review of the album for this site:
“Having enlisted Creature (aka Kevin Foley, who also drums for Benighted) and Gorgoroth bassist King ov Hell, the latter’s influence can be felt in the intensity of the first song. It bites like the artic winds, and it’s not until the second song ‘Winterbane‘ that you are able to notice more of the nuances and hear the ice-coated black metal Immortal once made. Half-way into the song, you will already find it hard not to headbang along.”
I have to disagree with Wil: I start headbanging to “Winterbane” long before I get halfway through it. Apart from the mighty groove in the song, it includes an addictive, pulsing melody, fine drumwork by Creature, and a very cool dramatic finale heralded by an acoustic guitar interlude.
And so yes, my choice from the album for this list is “Winterbane”. On the off chance that this is the first time you’re hearing the song, I think you’ll understand immediately why it’s here.
Guess what? I now have the chance to add two tracks at the same time from the same album! As I’ve explained, my self-imposed rule is not to pick more than one song from an album for this list (which often increases the difficulty of the selection process), but here I think an exception is very well justified.
What you’ll find next is “Derangement Zone pt. 1” and “Derangement Zone pt. 2“. They’re paired together on the album We Had It Coming by Poland’s Dormant Ordeal, and they clearly must be heard together, although they’re defined as separate tracks. Together, they make for a fantastic piece of music from a fantastic death metal album.
By way of further introduction, allow me to quote this passage from Andy Synn’s review (you don’t actually have a choice), after he compares Dormant Ordeal to Decapitated, with a touch of Ulcerate in the mix:
“They blast and burn, twist and turn, grimace and gurn, with such furious enthusiasm and fearsomely infectious ferocity that you can’t help but be dragged along for the ride.
“And oh, what a ride, what a rush! You can mark this one down as one of my favourite discoveries of the year, no doubt about it.”
P.S. To hear Part 2 of this song, just let the Bandcamp player continue to run.
If there’s any part of your skeletal structure that remains intact after those last two tracks, the next one will finish the dismantling job, with a furious flesh flensing and swirling dreams thrown in as a lagniappe.
The next song is “Clavicula Salomonis“, which is the opening track from The Canticle of Shadows by the Italian band Darkend.
My attention was first drawn to the album when I learned that it included performances by Sakis Tolis, Labes C. Necrothytus, Atilla Csihar, and Niklas Kvarforth as guest vocalists — and saw the choice of cover art by the master Zdzisław Beksiński. And then I discovered that the music had much to recommend it wholly apart from those other attention-grabbing facets of the record.
It’s a truly jaw-dropping display of instrumental wizardry and bombastic compositional flair, an explosive display of symphonic black metal that left me breathless when I first heard it. Perhaps because the band come from Italy and also prize speed and a turbocharged drum attack, I found myself comparing The Canticle of Shadows to the works of Fleshgod Apocalypse. There are, of course, important differences between the two approaches, but Darkend also succeed in melding symphonics with extreme metal violence in a way that’s electrifying.
And this song in particular still has its hooks in my gray matter.