Not for the first time, and it won’t be the last time, I picked today’s three additions to this list by focusing on song candidates by bands whose names begin with the same letter. That made the selection process less mind-boggling for me. It’s not a recipe for overall success, because I don’t have enough days left to cover every letter in the alphabet, and because not all letters are equally deserving in this context. But it worked well for today, when these three bands jumped out at me as I gazed at the Gs. Or, we could say I managed to find the G spot.
Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven was another album where we could throw a dart at the track list and come up with a song for this list wherever it landed. As DGR wrote in his extensive review, it’s another testament to a level of consistency that has made Goatwhore a “cultural touchstone within the heavy metal music community,” providing “big riffs, big sections, and room-filling music matched equally in terms of heaviness,” and with “just enough surprise to keep things exciting”.
Back to the dart-throwing point: I could have made the pick that way, but there was no need. When both our site’s most ardent GOATWHORE fan (byrd36) and DGR both pushed for “Ruinous Liturgy“, why resort to any other tie-breaker? As DGR commented, it’s further proof that Goatwhore “do have quite a bit of their DNA dedicated to creating a seemingly endless circle-pit,” and if the song “were to pop up live, it would be a surprise if the track shorts weren’t broken out and many a mile run while the band gallop along”.
To quote from Mr. Synn‘s review of Gaerea‘s latest: “If 2020’s Limbo was the sound of a band putting any doubts about their abilities – or their authenticity – firmly to rest, then Mirage is the sound of a band with nothing left to prove to anyone… except to themselves…. [T]hey’ve gained the confidence, unshakeable and unassailable, to let the music dictate its own pace and find its own shape, regardless of anyone else’s expectations.”
It truly was (and is) a spectacularly involving album, and one seemingly un-confined by any preconceived boundaries. It also has moments of emotional intensity that shake you to your core, and perhaps that, above everything else, is what led me to pick “Mantle” for this list. The vocals alone are shattering, and while the music sometimes comes in immense exhilirating waves that reach towering heights, and sometimes in soft haunting reverberations, the emotional affliction in the music is unmistakable.
The videos made for Gaerea‘s songs have always been fantastic, and the one for “Mantle” is no exception. It succeeds in magnifying the song’s spine-tingling intensity, which is saying something.
We had the great pleasure of premiering Gloson‘s 2022 album The Rift last March, preceded by Andy’s review, in which he proclaimed it “by some margin the best Post-/Sludge Metal album I’ve heard so far this year – surpassing even Cult of Luna‘s fantastic new record”. We all had high expectations for the album, but I agree with Andy that it was “still slightly astonishing to hear just how mightily the band have surpassed themselves here”.
In that review Andy wondered aloud whether we would see anything else in this vein over the next nine months of 2022 that would surpass The Rift, but you might deduce the answer from his inclusion of it in his year-end list of the “Critical Top 10“. Gloson earned that accolade “with their absolutely gargantuan guitar sound and equally massive vocals delivering one of the most earth-shakingly powerful experiences of the year, all tinged with just enough moody melody to keep you coming back for more, again and again”.
One more album where fixing on just one song for this “Most Infectious” list was a challenge, but I chose “Windbearer“, maybe because I felt that one still deserves a little more attention in the midst of a very strong track list. It’s a song of juxtapositions, but among those are pavement-fracturing drum blows, gut-plundering bass lines, and uber-thick riffs that heave and hammer, which collectively make this a humongous head-mover. To be sure, it’s also pitch-black in its harrowing bleakness.