There’s not much rhyme or reason as to why I grouped these three songs together. Other than the fact that each of them includes some really nasty ear-shredding vocals, they’re very different from each other musically. I guess it’s a matter of me realizing that I’m running out of time to finish this list (though it’s more a matter of making myself stop than really finishing), and I just want to pack in as many of the songs that really grabbed me last year as I can. Hope you like them too.
MAKE THEM DIE SLOWLY
This slasher-film side-project of Anaal Nathrakh’s Mick Kenney, Fukpig’s The Void, and perhaps other members of those bands, certainly struck a chord with listeners last year. Make Them Die Slowly released not one but two albums in 2020 (Ferox and The Bodycount Continues…), plus a hell of a good Christmas single (“Silent Night, Murder Night“), and as far as I can tell, people loved the shit out of all of it. I sure as hell did.
So did other NCS denizens, some of whom put one or the other full-length on their year-end lists, including DGR who gave the second album his No. 8 spot, accompanied by many words of adulation. I also waxed adulatory in my review of Ferox.
Many of these songs were tempting choices for this list, but I settled in on “Hack O’Lantern“. There’s a beautifully jack-o-lantern-like intro to the song, and after that it beats you senseless with bombastic industrial-strength grooves and lights up the brain with tinkling keyboards, meteoric melodies, soaring choral voices, and growls and howls of utmost savagery. It dances and whirls, takes wing toward the heavens, and always returns to jackhammering your flimsy skeleton into slivers. Damned thing left me breathless the first time I heard it, and pretty much still does.
Woe is fucking me, I never gave Rebel Wizard‘s 2020 album Magickal Mystical Indifference a proper review, though I did write about individual tracks and videos as they surfaced. Surely you know by now how thrilled I have been over every last one of this band’s releases, and the latest one was no different. Seems downright churlish of me not to have written more, given how many exhilarating minutes I spent with it last year (and since then). Choosing a song from it for this list seems a very modest way of making amends.
Problem was, I had a tough time deciding which song to add, because I found most of the album tracks memorable. For a time I thought it would be “the mind is not your friend”, a grim but groovesome song for sure. But I have impulsively chosen “dance of the duchess in the pale pink light“. Apart from the song’s body-whumping beats, it’s just such a goddamn glorious guitar extravaganza, and it lifts my spirits so high whenever I hear it… which is something I’ve needed a lot during the long parade of ugly months since I first heard it.
P.S. The man behind Rebel Wizard (nksv) has begun recording live videos of himself performing different tracks from the back catalogue, which are very much worth your time, and you can find them by venturing to the following Facebook page, or to the Prosthetic Records YouTube page here:
Sometimes it takes just one magical riff to seal a song within your head, and that’s what happened with the title track to this Finnish band’s 2020 EP Veren Äänet. Here’s what I wrote when I first heard it:
“The opening riff in the first song on Sielunvihollinen’s new EP, which is the title track, has come back to me again and again since I first heard it. It just pops into my head unbidden. It happened last night, just as I was drifting off to sleep. It happened again this morning as I was gulping coffee. It’s a joyful, dancing sound, backed by a neck-snapping drum rhythm and swirling rhythm guitar. But the song leavens that ecstatic melody with viciousness — demented, feeding-frenzy chords over weaponized drums and barbed-wire shrieks — and with episodes of bleak, anguished melody. But that joyful noise returns, like a welcome friend, and the finale is glorious.”
The other two songs on that EP are also highly addictive, but this one… this one… still comes back to me unbidden but always very welcome.
P.S. The day after I posted this segment of the list Sielunvihollinen announced that they will release an album named Teloituskäsky on April 2nd and launched the first advance track, which you can listen to here.