Nov 182021

Tomorrow we will officially announce the beginning of our annual LISTMANIA extravaganza at NCS. For those of you new to this orgy, our LISTMANIA blockbuster comes in four parts:

First, we re-print assorted lists of the year’s best albums, leeched from other big web sites and magazines, like the one you’ll see tomorrow. Second, we will provide a post in which our readers can share their lists of the 2021 albums and shorter releases they enjoyed the most (we’ll be asking for those on December 1, so get ready). Third, we will post the year-end lists of our own staff and assorted guest writers.

And fourth, I’ll again roll out my list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs — which seems especially well-named in this latest plague year, doesn’t it? That list is the subject of this request for help.

In case you’ve become an NCS reader since this time last year, here’s what this Most Infectious Song list is all about:

This is about individual songs, not albums, EPs, demos, etc. It’s also not our list of the best individual extreme metal songs of the year — though some of the songs might actually be among the best of the year. Instead, this is a list of the most infectious extreme metal songs I’ve heard this year. Yes, it’s my list, but I do take into account ideas from others — and the idea here is to think of songs that might produce involuntary physical movement, songs that have got catchy melodies or irresistible grooves, or anything else that sticks the song in your head and makes you want to keep listening to it.

To be one of the most infectious songs of the year, it should be something that you revisit often, something you put on playlists, something you mentally replay at unexpected times — songs you go back to repeatedly for listening. “Most played” might be a good synonym.

As is true every year, I do already have my own working list of candidates — and as in every other year, there are a ton of songs on there already. I’ll get more ideas from some of our other writers. But I have no doubt we’ll overlook some songs we really liked from earlier in the year, and there are inevitably a lot more that we just never heard at all. And so here’s where I’m asking for your help:


Please leave comments to this post with your own lists of Most Infectious Songs that you think ought to be on our list — or if you’re bashful, you can e-mail your ideas to me at:

I’ll then pick what I think are the most infectious tracks of the year and start playing those songs for you in groups of two or three as we get closer to year-end. The first year we did this (2009), I limited the list to 10 songs. In 2010, I expanded it to 30. In 2011 it grew to 39. In 2012 it topped out at 56. In 2013 I worked really hard and got the list all the way down to.. gulp… 73. In 2014, life got in the way and I never finished the complete rollout, though I announced 62 songs before I gave up.

In 2015 I stopped at 75. The list for 2016 included 71 tracks, and I included 78 of them in 2017. In 2018 I stopped at 99 (double-gulp!), and in 2019 I partially came to my senses and stopped the list at 60 tracks. Last year I stopped at 47 tracks — again because I simply ran out of time.

As you can tell, I have a really fuckin’ hard time making lists. Of course, I have no idea how many songs we’ll feature this year, because I tend to make it up as I go along.

So, please reflect on the songs you’ve found most addictive this year and let us hear from you. By leaving your list in the comments, you’ll also help make this post a way for other metalheads to find good music from the year that’s now rushing to an end. Thanks for your help.


  1. Alda – Stonebreaker

    Antichrist Siege Machine – Unleashed Hostility

    Backxwash – I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES (I know this isn’t a typical song heard on NCS, but it’s extreme and I couldn’t stop listening to it this year. Makes me want to fucking move.)

    Black Hole Deity – Multiverse Incantations

    Bonded – Into the Blackness of a Wartime Night

    Bourn Ultra – Towers of Fire
    (Heard this gem on y’all’s Gimme Metal show and haven’t stopped listening.)

    Cannibal Corpse – Condemnation Contagion

    Darkthrone – Hate Cloak

    Dead Heat – Age of DH

    Defacement – Shattered

    Dödsrit – Shallow Graves

    Full of Hell – Reeking Tunnels

    Kill Grid – UXO

    God’s Hate – God’s Hate (from the album, God’s Hate)

    Gojira – Into the Storm

    Hooded Menace – Blood Ornaments

    Kanonenfieber – Der letzte Flug

    LLNN – “Imperial” or “Desecrator”

    Mare Cognitum – Antaresian

    MØL – Serf

    Portrayal of Guilt – Touched by an Angel

    Qwälen – Han Ei Tule Koskaan

    Skepticism – Calla

    Spectral Wound – Frigid and Spellbound

    Violet Cold – Pride (CLEAN SINGING ALERT)

    Woman is the Earth – Emerald Ash

    Worm – Murk Above the Dark Moor

    Wormwitch – Canadian Denim Mountain Attack

    Zao – Ship of Theseus

    200 Stab Wounds – Tow Rope Around the Throat

  2. Great Year For Extreme Metal… Here’s My List Of 20 Killer Tracks
    1. Abscession – Rat King Crawl
    2. Asphyx – Botox Implosion
    3. Baest – Genesis
    4. Celestial Sanctuary – Soul Diminished
    5. Evile – Hell Unleashed
    6. Filth Is Eternal – Zed
    7. Gojira – Amazonia & Sphinx
    8. Grand Cadaver – Soul Infestation
    9. Hate – Rugia & Sun Of Extinction
    10. Hellborn – Uroboros
    11. Mnhg – Revelation
    12. Morbid Breath – Ancient Beasts
    13. Mortal Vision – Forced Extermination
    14. Fallensun – Searching For Darkened Skies
    15. Revulsion – Last Echoes Of Life
    16. Ruach Raah – Skulls Cracked
    17. Black Hole Deity – Razed Earth Addict
    18. Gloomy Grim – Blood, Monsters, Darkness
    19. Unflesh – Among The Horrors Must I Dwell
    20. Vorvan – Superscum

  3. in order of preference :

    1. Non Serviam – Le Coeur Bat

    2. Gaahls WYRD – Awakening Remains – Before Leaving

    3. FLUISTERAARS – Het overvleugelen der meute

    4.Non Serviam – Something In The Way (Nirvana Cover)

    5.Paysage d’Hiver – Geischtr

    6.Lamp Of Murmuur – Deformed Erotic Visage

    7.King Woman – Morning Star

    8.Portrayal of Guilt – The Sixth Circle

    9.Zao – Ship of Theseus

    10.Non Serviam – I Watch You From Afar

    11.Full of Hell – Reeking Tunnels

    12.LLNN – Tethers

    13.Portrayal of Guilt – It’s Already Over

    14. Amenra – Voor Immer

    15. Lamp Of Murmuur – Dominatrix’s Call

  4. I’ll get a track on here eventually…
    Chat Pile- “Brutal Truth”
    Mental Cruelty- “Abadon”
    LLNN- “Imperial”
    Defacement- “Disenchanted”
    Nature Morte- “Beautiful Loss”
    Putrescine- “Devourer of Gods”
    Agvirre- “The Letting Go”
    Spectral Wound- “Mausoleal Drift”

  5. Hooded Menace- Chime Diabolicus
    Archspire- Drone Corpse Aviator
    Spectral Wound- Frigid and Spellbound
    Craven Idol- Even The Gods…
    Demon King- Transmutation of the Artilect

  6. The Zenith Passage – Algorithmic Salvation

    Ophidian I – Diamonds

    Archspire – Reverie on the Onyx

    Atvm – Sanguinary Floating Orb

    Alustrium – The Accuser

    Mastodon – Sickle and Peace

    Spirit Adrift – Wake Up

    Thy Catafalque – Köszöntsd a hajnalt

  7. 1- Non Serviam/ Le Cœur Bat
    2- WITTR/ Mountain Magick
    3- Succumb/ Smoke
    4- GYBE!/ A Military Alphabet
    5- Spectral Wound/ Frigid and Spellbound

  8. Song of the Year:
    Gateway – Flesh Reborn

    Also Fantastic:
    Kommodus – Sacrifices to Jupiter
    Lace Shawl – The Secret Botanist
    Beastlor – Ignorant Sin
    Mare Cognitum – Antaresian
    Suffering Hour – The Abrasive Black Dust Part II
    Worm – Empire of the Necromancers
    Valac – The Depths of Despondency
    Craven Idol – Venomous Rites
    Bonehunter – Dark Blood Reincarnation System
    Mortiferum – Eternal Procession

  9. In order:

    Emptiness-Gatecreeper (Nothing else comes close…)

    Episode/Maybe One Day-Rivers of Nihil
    Us Against December Skies-Harakiri For The Sky
    My Immolation – Portrayal of Guilt
    Become Eternal-Majestic Downfall
    More Than I Could Chew – Mastodon
    Het Gloren-Amenra
    Dismantling-Impure Wilhelmina
    Omega Severer-DVNE
    Kin – Whitechapel
    Neon Teeth-The Lion’s Daughter
    Swordsman – Këkht Aräkh
    R.I.P.W. – Zao
    Survive – Aerosol Jesus
    The Foundations of Servitude – Suffering Hour
    New Measures… – Black Sheep Wall
    Rotten Garden – Grima
    Mirror Horizon – Ghastly
    Through The Depths – Vokonis

  10. Eisenhand – The Engine

    Frozen Soul – Crypt of Ice

    Molten – Zombie’s Curse

    The Silver – Vapor (clean singing alert)

    Stake Driver – Engorged Remains

    Outre-Tombe – Cenobytes

    Benothing – Absurd Malignancy Within

    Graveripper – Atoms Divide

    Dungeon Serpent – Necroscope

    Fugitive Wizard – Necropants

    Tyrann – Djavulens Musik

    Wharflurch – Celestial Mycelium

    Worm – Murk Above The Dark Moor

    Gabestok – Traek Stikket

    Skeleton – II

    Tension – Hellfight

    Paranorm – Critical Mass

    Qwalen – Viekaa Minut Pois

  11. Grandeur -Acatalepsia

    This is the one song this year that worms itself into my head every time I hear it

  12. Kanonenfieber – Grabenlieder (Song of the year, I’d say)
    Craven Idol – Venomous Rites
    1914 – …And A Cross Now Marks His Place
    Violet Cold – Pride
    Nebula Orionis – Cascade
    Forlorn Citadel – Memories of Old

    • 1914. – Don’t Tread on Me
      Gojira – Another World
      Cannibal Corpse – Inhumane Harvest
      Carnal Savagery – Shredded Flesh

  13. Mastodon – Peace and Tranquility
    Zao – Ship of Theseus
    Gojira – Amazonia
    Carcass – Kelly’s Meat Emporium
    Andrew WK – Babalon
    1914 – FN .380

    • I thought about it a bit more –

      Zao – Croatoan (the 2:40 mark where THE RIFF starts)

      Carcass – Dance of Ixtab

  14. Alioth Borealis – Alioth Borealis 3

  15. Alustrium – This Hollow Ache
    Iron Maiden – The Writing on the Wall
    Oldskull – None Shall Live
    Cognizance – Hymns

  16. Gabestok – En gang radden, altid radden

    moved to comment to make sure that they got mentioned at least. I would take maybe three songs off their album for sure, for this category. but this one is the catchiest for me.

    it’s been a year of stuff that I’ve loved, but most of it just isn’t sticking with me. everytime I put on this Gabestok record tho, it takes me to the same place. almost like i start smelling the music. so it’s not the ‘best’ or the most interesting to talk about, but it’s the one that sticks around the longest.

  17. 1. Archspire – Bleed the Future
    2. First Fragment – Pantheism
    3. Suffering Hour – Strongholds of Awakening
    4. Sentinels – Albatross
    5. Vildhjarta – Den Helige Anden
    6. Knocked Loose – God Knows
    7. Throne – All Creation Wept
    8. Replicant – Caverns of Insipid Reflection
    9. Spiritbox – Yellowjacket
    10. Aenigmatum – Fracturing Proclivity

  18. 1. Wormwood: Overgrowth

    2. Yoth Iria: The Red Crown Turns Black

    3. Groza: Elegance of Irony

    4. Fear Factory: Recode

    5. Cannibal Corpse: Surround, Kill, Devour

    6. Inhuman Condition: Tyrantula

    7. Los Males del Mundo: Falling into Nothing

    8. Iron Maiden: Hell on Earth

    9. Head for the Dead: Halloween

    10. Mānbryne: Pustka, którą znam

  19. Most of my “infectious” songs come from my workout playlist. They tend toward strains of death metal, deathcore, and metalcore. That said, I’m certainly open to recommendations from other NCS readers and contributors. I’ll dig into some of the above lists during the holidays. Without further ado, here’s my list.

    Infiltration – Ravenous Void
    Benighted – A Personified Evil
    Traitors – Menace To Society
    Internal Bleeding – Overthrow Creation
    Year Of The Knife – Dead At 29
    Carcosa – Vermin
    Sunfall – Quiet Kid
    ROT AWAY – Hang Low
    Phinehas – Eternally Apart
    Veil Of Maya – Outrun
    Wage War – High Horse
    Bound In Fear – Cutthroat
    Upon A Burning Body – Snake Eyes
    Bodysnatcher – King Of The Rats
    Kublai Khan TX – Resentment
    Inferi – Simian Hive
    Allegaeon – Into Embers
    Venom Prison – Judges Of The Underworld
    Bleed From Within – I Am Damnation
    We Came As Romans – Daggers
    Pyrexia – Rule Of 2
    Impending Doom – Culture Of Death
    Whitechapel – Lost Boy
    Fit For An Autopsy – Far From Heaven
    Shadow Of Intent – From Ruin…We Rise
    SION – More Than Just Myself
    Justice For The Damned – Sever What Makes Me Like Them
    Of Mice And Men – Pulling Teeth
    Obscura – When Stars Collide
    Frozen Soul – Arctic Stranglehold
    Dying Wish – Hollowed By Affliction
    Replacer – Dejected
    Lorna Shore – To The Hellfire
    Asphyx – Botox Implosion
    Acranius – Rule Of Seven
    Wretched Tongues – Into The Nothing

  20. After reading through the comments, I’ve become quite concerned for the mental health of my fellow metalheads. No one has mentioned the year’s most infectious song – Laihem’s Golden Pits by Iotuun!

  21. Honestly, just about any track off of Krallice’s “Demonic Wealth” or off of the Fluisteraars for me.

    Ruins of Beverast “Kromlec’h Knell”
    Mol “Itinerari”
    Bongzilla “Space Rock”
    Frozen Soul “Crypt Of Ice”
    Monolord “I’ll Be Damned”
    Mastodon “The Crux”
    Wode “Serpents Coil”

    • Thanks for the Krallice mention. I was beginning to think I was crazy, what with almost no mentione of this album in any year end list.

  22. Anything off Replicant’s latest

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