OUR LIST OF 2018’S MOST INFECTIOUS EXTREME METAL SONGS (PART 31): ALLFATHER, APOPHYS, IRREVERSIBLE MECHANISM
Apart from the main criterion for this list (“infectiousness”), there’s no stylistic organizing principle to the three songs I chose for today’s installment. The genres represented here are all different from each other, though on second thought maybe there is something in common: They’re all electrifying, with explosive energy bursting through the speakers when you listen.
By the way, I guess it’s worth mentioning that I haven’t ranked the songs as I’ve rolled out the list. The fact that I’m posting songs at this point, near the end of the list, rather than closer to the beginning, doesn’t mean I think they’re less infectious or less good than the tracks which preceded them. I’ve been figuring out the list as I go along, and so the ordering is pretty random.
Britain’s Allfather delivered a polemical and sonic powerhouse of an album last year, And All Will Be Desolation. As Andy wrote in his NCS review, “the band’s Sludge-injected, Hardcore-inflected, proto-Death Metal sound remains as potent and punishing as ever, and invites praiseworthy comparisons with the works of High On Fire, Crowbar, and early Sepultura at their very best…. If you like your Metal heavy and heartfelt and not too polished… and you’re looking for an album where you can practically feel every ounce of blood and sweat and tears which went into its creation… then this one is for you”.
As Andy also noted, the band did expand their creative palette in this latest offering, especially over the course of the song’s longest and most intricately arranged numbers — the brooding opener “Black Triangle”, the ominous “By Sword, By Famine, By Plague”, and the epic closer “Lampedusa”. If I had to rate one song as the best on the album in all respects, it might well be one of those. But it was “Citadels” that I found one of the year’s most infectious tracks.
A damned ferocious song, it’s got blazing and blaring riffs galore and extravagant drumwork that make an immediate and lasting impression, along with absolutely furious vocals. However, the searing and soaring leads which leap out when the song enters a slower and bleaker phase are also a big part of what made the song so memorable –and the massive headbang sequence in the song’s back half seals the deal.
DGR reviewed the latest — and unfortunately the last — album by the mainly Dutch band Apophys last year (Devoratis) and then put it at No. 31 on his year-end list. He characterized it as “a monstrous album whose subject matter goes galactic quickly, with a healthy dose of apocalyptic songwriting to match”. He also underscored one significant feature of the songwriting that made the album a prime source for this Infectious Song list:
“Apophys make good use of each rhythmic groove throughout Devoratis and launch into a ton of them with mathematical precision, making Devoratis one of the most headbangable tech-death albums out in some time without going full beatdown-core breakdown”.
DGR did pick out one of the tracks from Devoratis that he thought was best-suited for this list, and I agree. “Deadlock” is a fast-moving demolition job, jackhammering and battering at high speed while the vocalist roars and screams like a beast off his leash and blaring melodies erupt like fireworks. The song does have its fair share of insectile fretwork, but it’s those grooves-in-overdrive that really made the song a prime candidate for this list.
For the last selection in today’s installment, I’m staying in DGR territory with a track from this Belarusian death metal band’s latest album, Immersion. It’s his territory in the sense that he lavishly reviewed the album and then positioned it at No. 8 on his year-end list. In his assessment, the band moved from “the ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ style of writing in their debut album” toward “something that sounds like a head-on collision of Fallujah, Rivers Of Nihil, and a handful of other post-metal groups currently working on the fringes of the tech-death scene”.
The album is massive, not only in its length but also in its near-constant all-out assault on the senses, so densely packed with ideas that it lends itself to new discoveries every time you dive back into the hurricane. Given that the songs also tend to flow into each other, it’s also an album that’s probably best experienced in a single session, and it’s tough to carve out individual tracks from the one that preceded or followed it.
For all the above reasons, it’s also an album that I didn’t think would be a source of something for this list, at least on first listen. Impressive the music is, but “infectious”? That wasn’t my immediate reaction. However, the more time I spent with “Existence II: Collision“, which was DGR’s recommendation for the list, the more addicted to the song I became and the more convinced I became that it belonged here. There are so many different (and contrasting) elements that wind up getting stuck in the head, including the grand and dreamlike melodic sequence that occupies the song’s mid-section.
Take a deep breath, and press Play.
Mechanism is very impressive.