OUR LIST OF 2022’S MOST INFECTIOUS EXTREME METAL SONGS (PART 17): OBITUARY, BLOODBATH, REVOCATION
Big-name musical artists usually have big names for valid reasons, because at one time or another they made music that became hugely popular. In the world of extreme metal, I think it’s fair to say that it’s tough to become hugely popular unless, at one time or another, the music was also really good. Pretty faces, stylish clothes, and slick videos are few and far between and they don’t count for much in this world anyway, and active PR machines will only move the needle so far.
But note that I keep saying “at one time or another.” That’s because some bands got hugely popular and earned their big names and then continued trading on that popularity long after the music sunk into mediocrity, or worse. But that didn’t happen with the three bands whose songs are the subject of this Part of our list. They’re still earning their big names, and even though our putrid site doesn’t spend a lot of time applauding bands who don’t need any help from us, we still do it from time to time… and today is one of those times.
Here’s Exhibit A in the proof that some big-name bands don’t forget where they came from and still have the fire in the belly and the songwriting talent to turn out a great album 35 fucking years after they started. Here’s also Exhibit A in the proof that I have a very malleable rule about the timing of songs that qualify for this list.
I haven’t been counting but I’m pretty sure this makes the third time I’ve picked a song for this 2022 list that’s on an album to be released in 2023. Does that mean I should wait a year before recognizing how goddamned infectious it is? You’d have a good argument that I should, but I’m now pretty convinced that I shouldn’t, at least when the song was released for public streaming in the year covered by the list.
Which brings me to “The Wrong Time“, a song that Obituary and Relapse Records fired out of a bazooka back in early November of last year along with the official announcement that they’d release a new Obituary album in mid-January of this year. It was a smart choice as a first single, not because it was the only good song on the album (hell they’re all a blast to hear) but because it was just so damned infectious, and such a good reminder of why Obituary is A NAME.
You’re always best advised to get your neck loose for this one. It brings some hellish and hooky riffs along with the feral grooves, maddened vocals, crazed soloing, and an overarching mood of menace. For a take on the album as a whole (Dying of Everything), you can find Wil Cifer‘s review here.
For today’s second big name we have Bloodbath, whose 2022 album Survival of the Sickest was the subject of one of DGR‘s typically extensive reviews here.
Only nerds like us are likely to remember which songs were rolled out as singles before the album release — “Zombie Inferno”, “Carved” (which featured a guest appearance by Luc Lemay from Gorguts), “No God Before Me”, and “Putrefying Corpse”. But were any of those songs the ones that DGR recommended as candidates for this Most Infectious Song list? No they were not.
Instead, his top choice was “To Die”, followed by “Dead Parade” and “Tales of Melting Flesh”. I guess you can take that as a sign that the album was packed with infectious songs or that Napalm Records needs to upgrade the decisionmaking in their promotional campaigns, or both.
“To Die” definitely is a damned catchy tune, capable of jackhammering a listener’s neck, both rapidly and slowly, and it’s home to a gloriously eerie and miserable guitar solo that goes on and on. I’m happy deferring to DGR on this one.
Andy Synn handled our review of Revocation‘s 2022 album Netherheaven, though DGR also got in on the act with a review accompanying his placement of the album at No. 17 on his year-end list.
Andy praised the album as “easily on par with the band’s very best, and might even be the new standard by which all their work will be judged going forwards”, while DGR found the album to be a welcome surprise, with Revocation “leaning hard on the death metal part of their sound” and “cranking up the intensity”.
Torn between several songs I thought were worthy candidates for this list, I’ve again been influenced by DGR’s recommendation. The song he pushed, “Godforsaken“, also happened to be one that Andy rightly highlighted in his review as one of the album’s “unapologetic crushers”. Plus, it was paired with a very entertaining performance video, which is also something that’s been a frequent tipping point in my tougher choices this year. And, in addition to this one being a big neck-bender, Davidson‘s soloing in an especially grim interlude is splendid.