Welcome to the 19th installment of my list of 2016’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. I’m beginning to feel stressed about this list, because I swore to myself (and may have promised you) that I would bring this to an end on January 31, and yet I still have dozens of worthy candidates. That means there’s going to be an arbitrary cut-off, with a lot of worthy tracks being neglected. But I figured that would happen when I started this list… I’ve never been very good at list-making.
Anyway, here are four more songs. You’ll never guess why I chose to group these four songs together. It will just have to be my little secret.
In his NCS review, my colleague Andy Synn called Dreamless the finest of Fallujah’s three albums so far — a creation that “could very well be a game-changing, life-altering release for these Tech-Death titans-in-waiting.” He praised the songwriting, which gave each track its own distinctive personality despite the presence of common ingredients — “nuanced, technical drums, strobing, rapid-fire riffs, dreamy synth waves, and soaring, extravagant lead guitar work” — and the positive direction of the band’s continuing evolution.
“The Void Alone” is as good an example of these strengths as any on the album, and at least for me, the most infectious of many memorable tracks. And despite my very general aversion to clean vocals in extreme metal, I confess that Tori Letzler’s singing on this song is a big reason why it has stuck with me.
I was finally induced to explore Veilburner’s new album The Obscene Rite based on Austin Weber’s consistent support for this Pennsylvania duo’s music at NCS over a three-year period and by the album’s appearance on Andy Synn’s list of 2016’s Great Albums and on his Personal Top 10 list, in which he described the music as “an alchemical blend of extra-dimensional Death Metal and abnormal Black Metal mysticism that doesn’t sound quite like anyone else out there”. “It takes everything that made The Three Lightbearers and Noumenon so special and makes it bigger, better, and, above all else, stranger.”
I wish I hadn’t waited so long to fully explore The Obscene Rite, but better late than never. It really is a vibrantly inventive and constantly surprising album, and yes, it is indeed strange. One song in particular lights me up like a torch every time I hear it, and so I’m now adding the massively infectious “In the Revelations of Bloodstained Void” to this list.
And yes, like Fallujah’s song and one more coming below, this track includes clean vocals — and some really nasty harsh ones, too.
I included this next song in a Sunday round-up of new music last September. It hooked me then, and I still really enjoy revisiting it.
The name of this song is “Void“, and it was released last year as a stand-alone single by the Polish band Dahaca, roughly four years after their only other release, a debut album named The Pure Misanthropy. I’ll borrow here what I wrote before about “Void”:
“The sound is overpowering. The jolting grooves are like industrial-strength pile-drivers. The vocals are insane. But the song is also a memorable one. Perhaps because I’ve been listening to Heaven Shall Burn’s new album, it reminds me of that band’s talent for successfully blending melody and ferocity (and here, the band do that in part through both judicious use of keyboards and a scintillating solo near the end). Great song.”
There’s no clean singing on this one, but the vocals manage to carry the melody despite their harshness, a feat that I always enjoy when someone pulls it off successfully.
Occasional NCS contributor Alain Mower introduced me (and perhaps others) to ColdWorld more than three years ago when he praised the album Melancholie² in a feature devoted to music made for listening in a long, cold winter season:
“Nothing says it’s Winter quite like one-man black metal projects, and ColdWorld is head and shoulders above the rest. One of my all-time favorite albums, I cannot give enough praise to the mastermind, German George Börner, who is only as reclusive as he is brilliant.
Last year — eight years after the release of Melancholie² — ColdWorld finally released another album, this one called Autumn. In his NCS review, Wil Cifer commented on the changes in ColdWorld’s sound as compared to the previous releases, “which have made this more of an atmospheric black metal album than a depressive black metal album”:
“The mood has changed; something hopeful lies within the chords propelling the scowling vocals. Things become even more refined when clean vocals appear in the first song…. Though the shades have changed, the songwriting benefits, and if this project had simply picked up where it left off 8 years ago it would have felt stale. So the changes might take getting used to, but they represent growth….
“Perhaps this doesn’t fit as neatly into the sub-genres you might be expecting, but once you are able to sit back and listen to this with a fresh set of ears, it is easy to hear this album as the project’s majestic step forward into a more epic sound…. It might indeed take some getting used to, but at the end of the day it’s a pretty stunning album that has been laid at our feet.”
I couldn’t agree more. It is indeed stunning, and there’s one song in particular that deserves a place on this list. You’ll never guess its name.