One week of this list behind us, a new week ahead, and we begin it with a trio of songs from albums that made blockbuster impacts on many of us who toil away at this site.
MISERY INDEX (U.S.)
More often than not when you have an album as good as Complete Control, you’ll have more than one song that might qualify as “infectious”. That is certainly true of the latest full-length by Misery Index. No shock there, because this band has so much talent in the ranks that it would be unfair if extreme metal bands were in competition with each other (at some brutishly rudimentary economic level, you might think they’re in competition for limited consumer dollars, but if any underground bands think that way I’m pretty sure Misery Index isn’t one of them).
And so I had a struggle making just one Misery Index selection for this list. I wasn’t the only one in that fix. When DGR provided his suggestions to me he wrote: “‘Administer The Dagger’ is such a strong goddamn opening track. ‘Necessary Suffering’, ‘Complete Control’, and ‘Rites Of Cruelty’ are also crazy strong. ‘Reciprocal Repulsion’ for late album banger.” And on top of those, I was also partial to “The Eaters And The Eaten“.
In his review for us, Andy Synn rightly called Complete Control “the band’s leanest, meanest album in years”, and although he still hasn’t sent me his own ideas for this list, he did characterize the title track as “instantly infectious (and unexpectedly melodic)”.
I mention that because “Complete Control” is the song I picked for this list, perhaps partially influenced by the fact that it was presented by a hell of a good video that shows this group in action, and revived lots of my own vivid memories watching them lay waste to live venues.
Andy also grabbed the NCS review for Wake‘s Thought Form Descent. He observed that the album “feels more reflective – though still blisteringly intense – than anything they’ve ever done before… because they’ve finally taken the time to take stock of who they are, where they’ve come from, and what they might become”, and he acclaimed the album as one that stands “as the band’s most poignant, yet punishing, record yet”.
It was indeed a very accomplished and very memorable album, and not surprisingly there were four different songs from it that were recommended for this list by DGR and our readers. It’s one of those albums where I could quite easily wake up over a sequence of 4 or 5 days and make a different choice each time. Yet something about “Venerate (The Undoing of All)” still hits me the hardest.
It’s a longer than average song (second longest on the album’s track list too), and Wake make fantastic use of the time. The rippling guitars and thunderous drum booms at the outset of the song create a gripping introduction, and the drums remain a riveting (indeed jaw-dropping) force throughout. The soaring chords, which are both momentous and stricken, are themselves equally gripping, as are the song’s instrumental convulsions and contortions, and the absolutely spine-tingling vocals.
The song is elaborate and constantly changing, revealing musical visions of daunting splendor and harrowing intensity, but also creating just a few softer introspective sensations. At its zeniths of speed and chaotic intensity, the song is breathtaking, threatening to blow apart at the seams. However, it’s tremendously hard-hitting too, and eventually spreads out in a panorama of glory.
I was surprised to realize that no one here ever reviewed Daeva‘s 2022 debut album Through Sheer Will And Black Magic,,,, even though it grabbed a lot of early attention because Daeva‘s lineup overlaps significantly with that of Crypt Sermon. Granted, it came out relatively late in the year (mid-October), but I still had it in my head that we’d written about it.
Maybe I was only remembering my own scribbling about an advance single from the record, or perhaps some dream in which I reviewed the album (I actually do dream writing reviews, really impressed by some of my insights, and then wake up and forget what record my subconscious had been pondering).
Fortunately, some of our readers weighed in with a song choice from the album even though we didn’t pay as much attention to it as we should have. As it happens, the one that was recommended was the one I had hooked most firmly in my memory, “The Architect and the Monument“.
There, Daeva earn the commonly used epithet “black thrash” — they ferociously race, rip, blast, and scream to electrifying effect — but they take it to another level with unhinged cries and roiling and writhing guitar work that creates a genuine since of maniacal delirium, while also making room for some punchy, head-hooking grooves and an absolutely wild screaming guitar solo. Just when you think the song can’t get any more explosive, it does.