Another day, another pair of songs for my list of highly infectious tracks from 2018 releases. Without further ado, here they are (you can check out the preceding installments of this series here):
The first track I’m adding today is “Lightless“, from the 2018 album Shed by Denver-based Mire. A choice of something from this album might have seem fore-ordained, since it made Andy Synn‘s “Personal Top 10” year-end list, as well as No. 33 on DGR’s year-end list. But not so. I don’t always agree with my colleagues’ views about albums, and even when I do (as in fact I do here), that doesn’t mean the album will necessarily be home to one or more genuinely infectious songs. But I do think this one is.
To quote DGR:
“The pairing of Ryan Glisan and Benton McKibben has managed to create one of those rare releases that you have to keep listening to after it starts; one song feels incomplete without the others following it. It’s an almost-perfect encapsulation of what is happening with the proggier side of tech-death on this side of the world, yet with such a sense of hammering groove that the group can at times channel the bellowing low-end of bands like Dyscarnate and Gojira. Over the course of Shed, Mire somehow manage to find a way to the part of the brain that makes you instinctively nod along to just about everything that they do. Never anything hyper-fast, Shed’s songs all have a rhythmic quality to them that make them headbanging masterworks.”
Shall I quote Andy, too? Oh hell, why not? He summed up the album as:
“A fearless mix of chunky, chugging riffage and subtly progressive melodic touches, all arranged in an extremely dynamic form which balances hooky heaviness and subtle technicality in equal measure, and topped off with an intriguing blend of barking harsh vocals and moody clean-sung melodies.”
Oh hell, I’ll quote him one more time (from his review of the album), since he’s talking here about the song I picked for this list:
““Opener ‘Lightless’ is as strong a statement of intent as any I’ve heard in quite some time, galloping out of the gates in a fearless display of chunky, chugging riffage and subtly progressive melodic touches, all arranged in an extremely dynamic form which balances hooky heaviness and subtle technicality in equal measure, and topped off with an intriguing blend of barking harsh vocals and moody clean-sung melodies which reminds me quite a bit of God Forbid at their best.”
If you’re a fan of this Finnish band’s latest album, The Burning Cold (which all of our site’s core group of writers definitely are), I figure there’s a 50/50 chance you’ll prefer “Refining Fire” for this list, which isn’t the one I picked, though there’s probably a 50/50 chance you’ll approve of the one I did select. Actually, that might be an exaggeration, as I suspect that “Over the Battlefield” would also get a lot of votes.
It was just that kind of album, one that was home to a bunch of very catchy (and “audaciously anthemic”) tunes. That quote comes from Andy Synn‘s review, in which he concluded that the record was very nearly the best thing the band have ever done.
The album made one of Andy’s year-end lists (“The Good“), and it also showed up on the Top 50 list from DGR, who praised it as a return to form — and packed with the kind of guitar-and-keyboard interplay that can make for some of the catchiest melodies in melodeath.
There was a 50/50 toss-up in my own head when it came to the song I thought best merited a position on my own list (the one you’re reading), and so I tossed a coin, and it came up “Gods Go First“.