We arrive at the lucky Part 7 of this expanding list. You’ll find the preceding Parts (and an explanation of what this list is all about) through THIS LINK.
Today I’m doing what I did yesterday — choosing songs that I previously picked for a playlist that I and my comrades Andy Synn and DGR shared through one of our Gimme Metal guest DJ appearances last year. I picked them back then because I thought they were damned contagious, and I’m choosing them for this list for the same reason. I also included the last two of today’s trio because I’ve neglected thrash in this list so far, and it’s time to at least partially fill that void.
One positive byproduct of the dumpster fire that was the last pandemic year was the the opportunity that the shutdowns and solitary confinements afforded to many experienced musicians to turn their talents in different directions, no longer wholly consumed by the feverishness of routines that might have marked the pre-pandemic age. One of the projects spawned in that way was Kryptan, the brainchild of songwriter, guitarist, and keyboardist Mattias Norrman, who is best known for his work with October Tide and Katatonia.
Along with vocalist Alexander Högbom (October Tide) and drummer Samuel Karlstrand (Wretched Fate), Norrman recorded a self-titled debut Kryptan EP released last year by Debemur Morti Productions that became a vehicle for channeling the passions inspired by Scandinavian black metal from the ’90s, perhaps especially the influence of such bands as Dissection, Naglfar, and Marduk.
I had the pleasure of reviewing that EP and providing a track premiere (here). The song that got stuck in my head the hardest, and the one I’m adding to this list, is “Blessed Be The Glue“ (the title’s hard to forget too). I’ll repeat what I wrote about it in the review:
“After the ethereal sounds of a brief ambient intro and another cascade of panoramic synths and thundering rhythms, the jolting lead riff compulsively jabs at the listeners’ necks and makes this song the most infectious of the four on the EP. The keyboards deliriously dance in scintillating fashion, while the delirium of the vocals and the skittering fretwork frenzies is of a different and much more fearsome kind, and those celestial synths continue to create an atmosphere of spine-tingling wonder.”
MAZE OF TERROR (Peru)
I’ve been banging the drum for this Peruvian band ever since coming across (and reviewing) their debut EP Skullcrusher in 2014. I count nine NCS articles I’ve written since then which included the band’s music, including a post in which I anointed one of their tracks as among 2017’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. Their second album was released last year by Xtreem Music, and lo and behold, the result of that is the band’s second appearance in one of these annual lists.
The one I chose, “Angels of Acid”, gives you a strong dose of what makes Maze of Terror so good. Morbid and miserable at first, the song ramps up into a thoroughly evil yet hook-laden blood-rush. The riffing switches gears fast, and the deranged, channel-separated, dual-guitar soloing pushes this vicious, hard-driving song even further into the red zone. But the song is intensely menacing and supernatural too, and the vocals are utterly demonic. On top of all that, and to the surprise of no one familiar with this band, the song is also (of course) virally contagious.
It’s not the only highly contagious song on the album (the title of which is Offer to the Fvcking Beasts). I thought seriously about others for this list, including “Starbeast“, but I thought that “Angels of Acid” was a better representation of the band’s talents. Still, I decided to include the video for “Starbeast” below, because it gives you a chance to see the band in action.
Like Kryptan‘s debut EP I also premiered a new EP by these Indiana marauders last year. Its name is Radiated Remains. I tried to sum it up as a drawing together of “the ingredients of ’80s death/thrash, blackened speed metal, and savage rock ‘n’ roll — while also seamlessly incorporating dark and memorable melodies into their blood-rushing onslaughts”. I also wrote this about the song I’m now adding to this Most Infectious list:
“‘All Life Decays‘ is a turbocharged rush, with riffs that jolt, jab, soar, and scream. It’s also a powerfully head-moving barrage, but the racing momentum does briefly slow and stalk, to make way for a feverishly darting guitar lead and another gripping guitar melody that surfaces later in exhilarating fashion”. It gets stuck in the head very easily too.