Yesterday’s Part of this list was pretty blackened. Today I decided to become enshrouded by death (metal). The first band is now up to their third album, but the other two made their debut releases last year (though one of those has a veteran line-up whose members are attached to a much more well-known band, who themselves released a new album in 2019 that may also make an appearance before I finish this list).
As in the case of yesterday’s list, I’m beginning with a band whose discography was the subject of a SYNN REPORT last fall (here). That band is the UK group Vacivus, whose work Andy recommended to fans of Incantation, Teitanblood, and Sulphur Aeon. But he mentioned some other names as reference points as well. He wrote:
“If you’re a dedicated disciple of Death Metal overlords like Incantation, Immolation, and Morbid Angel, a lover of more modern upstarts like Sulphur Aeon, Blood Incantation, and Tomb Mold, or the sort of person who enjoys wallowing in the Death/Black hybrid horror of bands like Abyssal, Portal, or Teitanblood, you owe it to yourselves to check these guys out.”
Of the band’s 2019 album Annihilism, Andy opined that although it “may incorporate more cold, bone-chilling melody than ever before, it’s lost none of its raw power and soul-crushing atmosphere in the process”. And that is most certainly true. I whole-heartedly agree that the forward movement reflected in the album made it the band’s best work yet.
I was very tempted to name “Shards” to this list, which I would guess is Andy’s vote since he named it one of his favorite death metal tunes of the year, but in weighing it in my own “infectiousness” scales, I found that “Indignus” tipped the balance slighty in its own favor.
Deathswarm’s debut album Shadowlands of Darkness is now almost 11 months old. To make sure I didn’t forget about it, I put a bunch of asterisks alongside it on my list of Most Infectious Song candidates, though as it turns out I didn’t need to do that. Just seeing the name brings back the good memories (and muscle memory of a sore neck), which is a pretty good verification of its infectious qualities.
This is the band I mentioned in the introduction whose line-up includes veteran members — three of them from the venerable Swedish band Sarcasm, as well as an overlap with the band Imperial Domain. And their debut album turned out to reflect all that skill and experience in spades. What they created is an album that’s spectacularly electrifying and persistently neck-wrecking — a sinister and putrid amalgam that brings to mind a titanic hybrid of Bloodbath and Bolt Thrower, of Repulsion and Death, of Autopsy and Master, of Grave and Dismember.
To repeat what I wrote when we premiered the album last February:
“It’s a fearsome and frightening experience, a combination of bombast and brutality, of crawling wretchedness and cadaverous putrescence, creating the intermingled atmospheres of moldering graveyards and carnage-strewn battlefields. They bring to bear an endless array of massive riffs guaranteed to vibrate your teeth (and to get stuck in your head damned fast), mountainous bass tumult, eye-popping drumwork that provides a guaranteed high-potency rhythmic drive but also detonates in bursts of head-battering extravagance; and a smorgasbord of neuron-firing solos.
“Of course, music like this demands plenty of horror in the vocal department, and Deathswarm have that, too, in a vocalist whose cavernous roars, carnivorous growls, scorching howls, and blistering shrieks will put the hair up on the back of your neck”.
In case you couldn’t tell, I loved the album, and still do. You could almost throw a dart, blind-folded, at the track list and come up with a song that would deserve recognition on this list, but the album opener is the one I’ve chosen. To repeat what I wrote in the premiere:
“‘Let the Flames Devour‘ delivers ripping, ravaging, drilling riffs and gunshot drum cracks that get your head moving immediately. The guitars discharge tremolo’d swarming fueled by a feverish cruelty, joined in harmony by the fiery ripple of frenzied leads and augmented by eruptions of astonishing drum acrobatics”.
Now we come to the second song today from a 2019 debut release, though instead of boasting a veteran line-up this Czech quintet who call themselves Sněť (which seems to mean gangrene) appears to be a group of (very precocious) newcomers.
That 2019 release was just a two-track untitled promo offering, but it made a memorable impression on me, as I wrote here, and I guess that’s obvious now. I’ll quote myself (always a pleasure) concerning the song I’m now adding to this list:
“‘Obří kat‘ is a brute-force crusher, but the shrieking, whammy-barred lead near the outset forecasts something more deranged, and sure enough, the song soon becomes a rampaging juggernaut of obliterating bass- and drum-work, searing and sickening chainsaw-toned riffage, and absolutely horrifying vocals, which range from cavernous and grotesque to wild and savage. In addition to being tremendously destructive, at the level of a shock-and-awe assault, the song is a huge headbang-trigger, too.”
I’ll also repeat the wish I expressed last September: “I sure hope these dudes are working on a follow-up to the demo, because even just these two songs show they’re a force to be reckoned with.”