And now we have arrived at the lucky 13th Part of this list, which happens to demonstrate three different ways, out of a great multitude of ways, in which extreme music can be highly infectious — though it must be said that all three of these create the effect with some damned potent grooves (some more punishing than others). But the ability of the songs to vigorously apply a crowbar to the crest of your lizard-like head isn’t all that goes on here.
Over the course of a decade working on NCS I’ve developed a pretty good idea about the tastes (even as they have evolved) of our longest-running writers, along with my own of course. If I imagine them as a grouping of Venn diagrams, there are definite regions of intersection, and Poland’s Koronal happens to fall within one of those. Which is to say that all of us old-timers thoroughly enjoyed their 2020 album, A Gift of Consciousness.
Andy Synn happened to grab the main review for this “post-Meshuggah” band’s latest full-length (though DGR penned one of his own when he named it to his year-end list), and concluded his write-up, which called out the many ways in which Koronal have distinguished themselves from both their predecessor and their peers, with these words:
“[T]his really is one incredibly intense, irresistibly engaging album, which doesn’t hide or shy away from its influences, but instead wears them loudly and proudly, confident in its ability to transform and transubstantiate them into something more”. (More words of praise can be found in Andy’s “Personal Top 10” list for last year, which included A Gift of Consciousness.)
The grooves and hooks are potent throughout the album, but by my lights “Sunken” is the most infectious track (even though the all-’round best song is probably the title track). If you haven’t checked out this record, hopefully “Sunken” will be the inducement you need.
I think it’s safe to say that, like Koronal, Germany’s Cytotoxin are another band that fall within a Venn diagram intersection of our longest-running writers’ tastes. Once again, Andy happened to snag the review for their latest audio detonation, 2020’s Nuklearth, but this time I’m going to borrow from DGR’s mini-review that accompanied his naming of the record to his year-end list:
“Cytotoxin like to go crushingly fast and have written everything for the sheer purpose of destruction…. They are in the business of generating an endless torrent of music that is written to rip your head from your shoulders. Listening to this new record is often like being thrown into an industrial-sized clothes dryer with a couple of cinder blocks as your only company…. [T]he music is ceaseless, the riffwork endless, and the combination of the two with some of the finest in wall-punching chug segments makes for an apocalyptic time…. [W]hat Cytotoxin have here is a relentlessly fast, terrifyingly accurate and technical beatdown that was one of the more common adrenaline hits to the system for me this year.”
If you didn’t already have a mental picture of Nuklearth, surely you do now. It was a hit with me too, and perhaps especially the song I’ve chosen for this list: “Lupus Aurora“.
DESTROYED IN SECONDS
Lo and behold, here we have another album that the core cadre of NCS writers all loved, despite other divergences in our tastes. Divide and Devour made the year-end lists of DGR and Andy Synn, and I have little doubt would have made my own if I had a mind more comfortable with list making. This time I’ll quote from both of my friends’ write-ups:
Andy (from a Synn Report devoted to DIS): “It may have taken them a while, but Destroyed In Seconds have finally clawed their way, through sheer grit and determination, to the head of the pack, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing the band’s name mentioned far more frequently, and far more widely, after this”.
DGR (from his year-end list): “Pulling in various metal influences alongside the group’s hard-driving core is a great idea, so when Destroyed In Seconds deviate and get a little thrashy it’s an exciting experience. Shifting themselves back to the punk-side of things is also great. But their core foundation remains unchanged throughout Divide And Devour‘s run, which means you end up with a half hour of solid-as-hell circle pit music that is super easy to headbang along to.”
Lots of potential picks for this song list on Divide and Devour, but the one I’m going with is “World War When“. As Andy wrote, it goes hard and heavy, “with some of the thickest, meatiest riffs and punishing drums on the entire record, while Jon Tomala continues to stamp his presence all over the album with an authoritative delivery not a million miles away from Tomas Lindberg’s throat-bursting snarl”.