OUR LIST OF 2021’s MOST INFECTIOUS EXTREME METAL SONGS (PART 23): THE AMENTA, UNFLESH, IN MOURNING, GATEWAY, ZORNHEYM
When I announced that I was blowing past Monday’s deadline for completing this list I wrote that I might possibly continue it through Friday. Now I would say that’s a certainty. Which means I have three days, including this one, to finish the list.
Today’s choices are a musical smorgasbord, wide-ranging in their styles and moods, and “infectious” in different ways. To check out the songs that preceded these four on the list, GO HERE.
THE AMENTA (Australia)
Release-wise, The Amenta had a busy 2021 after allowing 8 years to go by since their preceding album, Flesh Is Heir. They brought forth the new album Revelator, a split with Aborym, and an EP named Solipschism.
We’re big fans of The Amenta around these parts and accordingly devoted quite a lot of attention to them last year, but our man DGR is probably the most devoted fan. He reviewed both the full album and the EP, and so even though I’m solely responsible for this list, I deferred to him in the choice of song (among several that were strong candidates).
That song, “Psoriastasis“, appeared as the fourth track on Revelator. In the main it’s a high-speed battering, eviscerating, and blaring frenzy. But of course, because this is The Amenta, the music gets very strange, becoming hallucinatory as well as psychotic. Perhaps we could be accused of perversion in finding such madness infectious. Guilty as charged.
Also because this is The Amenta, the song was presented through a very weird and disturbing video, which you’ll find below.
We did a lot of catching up with technical death metal in yesterday’s installment of this list, but there’s at least one more band in that sphere we want to recognize here, and that’s New Hampshire-based Unflesh, whose second album Inhumation came out last April.
In this case Nathan Ferreira provided our album review. He wrote:
Whether it’s the acrobatic bass-heavy verse in “Holocaust of Stars”, the unusually catchy atonality of “Inhumation”, which evolves into flourishes of beautiful little licks guaranteed to induce air guitaring, or the hook-laden progression of “Vast Forest of Impaled Cadavers”, which throws punchy yet abundantly melodic guitar leads at you one by one, the memorable moments are aplenty. And despite the abundance of skill clearly present in each member of this power trio, the songs never push themselves harder than is required…. Inhumation is simultaneously mindboggling and infectious in that very specific way that elevates an album from good to great – from an occasional stop in the journey to a staple in the listening rotation.
DGR got in his two cents too when he put the album at No. 9 on his year-end list, and he wrote this about the song I’ve picked from Inhumation for this list:
“If you checked out one of our more recent Gimme Metal appearances I may have tipped my hand a little early as to one of my favorite songs on Inhumation. It’s the early-in-the-run high-speed shredder of “Vast Forest Of Impaled Cadavers”. “Vast Forest” is one of those songs that will brick-wall a listener because it’s so damned good that you’re bound to just go back to it before going through the rest of the disc again. That it appears so early in Inhumation‘s runtime is a hilarious byproduct.
IN MOURNING (Sweden)
DGR gave us a detailed review of In Mourning‘s wonderful latest full-length, The Bleeding Veil. I’ll excerpt his comments about the next song I’ve added to the list:
“At The Behest Of The Night” is easily an early album highlight (on a disc full of them though) and one that actually has a lot of shades of the much – personally-beloved Monolith-style of songwriting. Nearly every moment is great. The clean-sung chorus is the sort that makes you jealous that you don’t have a voice like that; the heavy segments are wonderful; and each of the leads in that song are likely to scratch marks into your brain that’ll last for some time. It is one of those songs where all the way up to its closing you can recognize why it was one of the two so far to get a music video.
I’ll add that the song’s evocative lyrics are well-worth reading (you’ll find them beneath the video here at YouTube), and perhaps provide some clues to what the video depicts.
At 12 1/2 minutes, the next song I’ve added to the list is another very long one (I’ve probably included more long-form tracks this year than ever before), but it’s still one that plows such a deep furrow in the memory that I think it qualifies as infectious.
The song I chose is the title track to this monstrous Belgian monolith’s 2021 EP, Flesh Reborn. The music is a death/doom nightmare trance. It’s absolutely immense in its heaving, pile-driving, earth-shaking heaviness, and the searing impact of eerie, discordant, high-flying leads and abyssal roars adds to its apocalyptic atmosphere. The song is stunningly crushing, toxic in its tones, and thoroughly cold and hopeless, but its monumental grooves are physically compulsive, and it’s tough to shake off the brain-needling intensity of its twisted melodies.
By now you may have realized that DGR‘s hands are pretty much all over this installment of the list, especially when I remind you that he also took the review of the Zornheym album that’s the source of today’s last selection, even though I’ve usually been the NCS guy who trumpets the horn for these dudes.
“We do love a spectacle around these here parts”, DGR wrote, “and the recent release of The Zornheim Sleep Experiment is certainly one of those”.
The group’s second album takes us back within their concept-album universe, guiding us into the darkened halls of a comically evil mental asylum and the psychological-horror-movie events that take place within it…. If you detect a little bit of frustrated theater-kid energy within the bounds of the Zornheym music here, you’d be pretty close, as the band are providing the soundtrack for the previously mentioned evil world….
DGR also correctly noted that “Zornheym are infectiously catchy despite the constant veil of ‘evil’, that moves throughout each specific musical scenario”, and he specifically called out “Slumber Comes In Time” as one of those that were “criminally good at clawing their way into your skull”.
I definitely agree, and thus that track goes on the list. When it was first released the band said: “The epic chorus of ‘Slumber Comes in Time‘ is based around a folk tune from the 16th century that the Wallons brought to Sweden. The male choir and the epic orchestral parts present a new side of Zornheym’s crushing sound.”
Unflesh not only make killer music, the dudes are excellent people off stage. I had the pleasure of sharing the stage with them twice, maybe three times. It’s nice to see some NH based death metal!
Flesh Reborn was indeed THE song of the year.