OUR LIST OF 2018’S MOST INFECTIOUS EXTREME METAL SONGS (PART 35): ABORTED, AFGRUND, WAKE
I feel like I should subtitle this installment of the list “The DeathGrind Bloc”, or at least “The DGR Bloc”.
Heretofore, I haven’t included much grindcore, of the deathly variety or not, on this list. It’s not that I don’t enjoy grind. In fact, as a mechanism for achieving a cathartic release through the kind of violent fury that would land me in jail if I tried to act it out myself, it’s hard to beat. But for some reason I don’t often encounter grind songs that have the kind of catchiness and distinctive memorability that would make them “infectious”, as I conceive that classification.
In the case of the three songs below, I think they pass that test. Or maybe I’ve just fallen too far under the influence of my comrade DGR, who recommended each of these songs for the list, and reviewed two of the three albums that include them — hence that other subtitle.
I think it’s likely that during the more than 9 years NCS has been in existence, we’ve written about Aborted more than any other band (and by “we”, I mean every one of the longest-standing writers for our site). I count 36 articles, which include premieres of songs and full albums, interviews, show reviews, commentary about a host of advance tracks, and even a previous appearance on the 2014 edition of this Most Infectious Song list — not to mention appearances on year-end lists, which I didn’t attempt to count.
So yes, we have a soft spot in our hearts for Aborted, or at least a soft spot in our skulls, which becomes softer and more worn-down with each new Aborted release.
The latest skull-softener from Aborted (reviewed here by TheMadIsraeli) is Terrorvision, which (as our reviewer observed) continued the trend toward more refined and disciplined songwriting that began with Global Flatline, while also attempting some small bits of experimentation and reflecting even more vocal diversity from the band’s commanding frontman. It’s an album that was also loaded with groove — and yet also more atmospheric than we might have expected.
DGR put the album on his 2018 Top 50 list, and actually recommended two songs for this list, calling the choice between them a “toss-up”. One was “Squalor Opera”, and the other is the one I chose — “Terrorvision” (the title track). It’s a blast of shrieking mayhem that happens to include skin-splitting, ear-rupturing vocal enhancements courtesy of Seth Siro Anton as well as a dose of hammering groove and an eye-popping solo by Mendel bij de Leij (who has recently become the latest in a long list of guitarists to exit the band).
The Swedish/Finnish grind band Afgrund splintered into disputes among members about who owned the band’s name, but one of those competing groups, consisting of founding members Andy, Pat, and Panu, surfacd in the early days of 2018 with the first new Afgrund album in half a dozen years, a fiery 23-minute blast named The Dystopian.
DGR reviewed it for us, and put in on his Top 50 list for the year. As he wrote:
There is a sense of familiarity in the way the album moves…. It’s dark and apocalyptic for sure, but it also feels like the most “Afgrund” that the band have been in some time. Returning the line-up to founding, long-time members tends to have that effect, as that reunites songwriting talents that helped forge an early version of the band and built on it from there. In that way, The Dystopian looks backward in order to move forward. It is Afgrund well within an admittedly dark comfort zone, yelling at the world about the state of society and checking off plenty of grind staples along the way. As a long-time fan, seeing the band back and as furious as ever is delightful, mostly because the group are well-primed to take a look at the world as it is now and mine that awful subject material for years to come, hammering blasts and fiery guitar work around all of it.
The song that DGR recommended for this list is “Crossfire Agent“, and I’m happy to defer to him, especially since the song has been kicking my head like an angry mule ever since I first heard it.
DGR also reviewed Misery Rites, the latest album by the Canadian grind hurricane named Wake. He called it “surgically fast and targeted; adrenaline rush as an art piece”, and continued:
Wake bash out nine songs in quick fashion and then immolate the whole affair by the time the last song wraps up. It is partially album, partially rage-filled mood. And despite the fact that it has a song called “Rumination” on it, the record spends no time devoted to that, choosing instead to go for the sheer destruction route, the band building from song-to-song up to the final slowdown and that misery-warped closer, “Burial Grounds”.
It really is an explosive album, spastic and chaotic and seemingly fueled with pure distilled rage. It’s all so scathing that calling anything on it “infectious” might not be the first word that comes to mind, no matter how electrifying it is. But the band do have a tendency to inject their songs with quick doses of groove, as well as snare and vocal patterns, that prove to be increasingly memorable the more you listen, and “Rot” is a good example of that — and one of the two songs DGR recommended for this list (a toss-up with “Rumination”) — and here it is: