In an effort to make up for failing to post an installment of the list yesterday I’ve posted two today, this being the second. All the other installments are collected HERE. As you can see, I’ve also included four songs in this segment instead of the usual three. There ain’t much time left before I need to stop adding to the list, and I’m trying to get as much into it as I can before the clock runs out.
Speaking of which, I’m planning to post another installment on Saturday and one on Sunday, leading up to the last grouping on Monday. Pretty sure I’ll add four songs in each of these three remaining segments. Twelve more to go, and it’s going to be a struggle to figure out the last eight of them (I already know what I’m doing tomorrow).
DORMANT ORDEAL (Poland)
It should come as no surprise to anyone who frequents NCS that there is (finally) a Dormant Ordeal track on this list. Most of us around here don’t agree on everything, but there was a pretty emphatic consensus among us that Dormant Ordeal’s The Grand Scheme of Things was one of the best albums of 2021.
It made Andy‘s list of Great Albums and his Personal Top 10 for the year; DGR ranked it at No. 1 on his year-end list; and it also ranked high on other year-end lists we published, including To the Teeth‘s “List of Lists”, where it landed at No. 34 based on his survey of 97 year-end lists from 26 international critics, magazines, blogs, and other publications. In writing about individual songs, I made clear that I loved it too. (If you’d like a relly detailed take on the album, you can find DGR‘s review here).
Even on a first listen, “Bright Constellations” floored me, even though I was already on the floor as a result of the two songs that precede it on the track list. It’s an absolutely blistering and blaring song that moves jet-fast. There’s a shrill pulsing sound that runs through it like an accelerated warning siren, and that’s part of its infectious appeal — along with its sheer adrenaline-fueled ferocity. Wonderful solo near the end too….
FUNERAL MIST (Sweden)
Funeral Mist’s Deiform dropped without much warning, much as the previous album Hekatomb had done, and I dropped everything to listen to it and rush a review into print. Hurried as I was, I mainly provided immediate impressions — which were wildly enthusiastic. The album came out in mid-December, and I ended my review this way:
Yes indeed, year-end list-makers, or at least those with an affinity for black metal, will need to reconsider. At first blush, Deiform is a stunning achievement. It also has the hallmarks of an album that will reward continued listening and whose blazing brilliance won’t soon fade.
I guess it may still be too soon to declare that its brilliance will never fade, but it has definitely continued to reward further listening. It’s a long album and a lot happens within it. Like peeling the proverbial onion, it continues to reveal hidden layers. In terms of “infectiousness”, it also has many memorable moments — memorable for different reasons. But the song I’ve chosen sticks in the head in part because it is just so terrifically intense. I’ll parrot what I wrote in my review: “Fire-storming chaos ensues in the utterly electrifying ‘Apokalyptikon‘, whose crazed, super-heated riffing turns out to be as infectious as it is fascinating….”
ALTERED DEAD (Canada)
When NCS contributor Nathan Ferreira put Altered Dead’s Returned To Life on his year-end list he began his write-up this way:
OSDM revival is in full swing, with albums by Sněť, Galvanizer, Hyperdontia and Cadaveric Fumes turning a few heads over the course of 2021. All solid releases in their own right, but to my ears, the most ripping and potent death metal throwback this year was put out by a couple of deathpunks from British Columbia.
I was also really taken with the album, and it happened that I was able to premiere a track from it that I’ve decided to put on this list now. By way of further introduction I’ll include what I wrote about “Thrawing In Agony” at that time:
Wasting no time, the band set loose an attack of battering drums and a jagged, jabbing, viciously distorted riff. The assault soon gives way to dismal, groaning, oppressive chords but then surges ahead again in even more savaged and deranged fashion. Accompanied by a tandem of imperious guttural roars and flensing screams, the music continues to morph, ranging from sensations of cold, drilling cruelty to sounds of angular, darting mania and blaring feverishness, as the drums whip around between tumbling fills, outbursts of blasting ferocity, and neck-punching back-beats.
The entire experience is savage, punishing, and freakish, with enough mangled hooks to make it stick in your head and just enough filthiness in the production to give the music a feeling of abrasive ugliness and a corrosive impact.
DIE APOKALYPTISCHEN REITER (Germany)
The first three song’s in today’s installment were damned intense in different ways. I don’t mean to suggest that this last one is not-intense, but it’s definitely a change in the flow of things (and includes some singing). So I’m not quite sure why I included it in this group, other than just not wanting to forget to include it before the list ends.
Die Apokalyptischen Reiter released a new album named The Divine Horsemen last year (and they’ve already got another one slated for release in April of this year), but the song I’ve chosen for the list didn’t come from that album. It was first released as a stand-alone single in mid-December, and I now see that it’s on the track list for the 2022 full-length, Wilde Kinder. Even though the album that includes it isn’t a 2021 album, I still feel okay putting it on this 2021 list because it first took the form of a single late last year.
The song is “Volle Kraft!“. When you need to thrash your reproductive organs off, this will do the job nicely, and the fantastic multi-toned vocals and pinging keyboards make it an especially diabolical way to neuter yourselves. It’s really damned catchy, and the wave-tossed video that accompanied it is lots of fun to watch too. Also, whales….