Jan 122023

The Otolith

I don’t need to say this to longer-term readers, but somehow we still pick up new ones, so for their benefit: Despite the name of our site, which has always been somewhat tongue-in-cheek rather than absolutely literal, we do write about metal that includes singing rather than exclusively growling, gagging, and shrieking. Mind you, the exceptions must be earned.

In light of the foregoing, it should not be a huge shock that this Most Infectious Song list includes songs with singing. I’ve added three of them today, and not only with singing but all of them with women singing. I found all three songs to be highly memorable, and the kind that I’ve enjoyed revisiting.

And for those of you who (like me) don’t have a high tolerance for singing in heavy music, the singing is not only very good here, it’s also paired up with more extreme voices in two of the songs.




“Isn’t it wonderful when a band with a pedigree like this one – four of the band’s five members were part of the inimitable SubRosa, while bassist/vocalist Matt Brotherton also plays in prestigious US Power/Heavy Metallers Visigoth – lives up to all your expectations (and then some)?”

That’s how Andy Synn began his review of The Otolith‘s debut album Folium Limina, and yes indeed, it was wonderful, both the satisfaction of expectations and the music itself. Given how often The Otolith appeared on year-end lists around the web, we clearly weren’t the only ones who thought so.

One song in particular from Folium Limina made such a powerful emotional impact on me — and does so every time I listen to and watch the video for it — that I felt compelled to include it here. To borrow again from Andy, “’Andromeda’s Wing‘ proceeds to lavish your eardrums with a variety of colossal riffs, keening strings, and vibrant, visceral vocals (indeed, the vocal variety – courtesy of three distinctly different deliveries by Pendleton, Brotherton, and Pack – seems to have taken on increased importance here)….”

I’m not ashamed to admit that I get choked up every time I go back to this one, and the video for it just makes the effect all the more powerful.




MESSA (Italy)

We failed to review this Italian collective’s 2022 album Close, but that wasn’t for lack of interest. I thought it was a great album, and so did my comrade Mr. Synn (who indeed put it on his list of the year’s Great Albums). Sometimes we just run out of time. Picking a song from Close for this list is a modest way of making amends.

The one I picked, “Dark Horse“, digs in the hooks in different ways, through almost relentlessly hammering drums, thick bass riffs, and the distressing ring and write of the guitar, but the ringing of Sara Bianchin ‘s sublime and stricken vocal melodies are equally vital.

Dark Horse” pumps the listener’s heart, and scars it too, and its dreamier moments are both seductive and unsettling. All those aspects of the song are infecting, as are the many (many!) gripping and grievous instrumental maneuvers.




LAUDARE (Germany)

This last song today is fresh in my head – very fresh, because I “premiered” the song and the video for it on December 29th (in quotes, because I had a brain malfunction on the day I was supposed to premiere it and then tried to make up for that after the video appeared). So, it just barely snuck in under the wire before the year made its last gasp. But the song is such a captivating experience that I’m pretty sure I’d still remember it now even if it had been released in January 2022.

At the time of the “premiere” I wrote at length about “Her Enchanted Hair Was The First Gold“, partly because I do have a tendency to run on at the mouth and partly because so many different things happen within the song, and because the video is such a wonderful depiction of the many performers in Laudare doing their many things.

There’s poetry in the song, in both the lyrics and the music, and some of that poetry is violent. At other times it’s haunting and hypnotic, or turbulent and tormented. The song forms and transforms, twisting the mood from glimpses of hope to bitter anguish and gloom-ridden resignation. If you haven’t heard it before, you’ll probably understand now why I keep thinking about it.



  1. Agree on Andromeda’s Wing. Show stopper.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.