Jan 312019


Don’t worry, I’m not going to make a habit of jamming four songs together in these installments of the list (tomorrow, there will only be two more). But I was convinced that putting these four tracks together was exactly the right thing to do. Apart from being infectious (duh), they’re all lethal forms of death metal savagery, with spectacular soloing, excitingly malignant vocals, head-cracking rhythms, and killer riffs discharged through a certain kind of chainsawing guitar tone that many of us lap up with glee.

Not coincidentally, I wrote about all of them when they first appeared, and even premiered three of them, so this gives me plenty of chances to quote myself, which is always a real pleasure.


Nick Keller created the album art for the new second full-length by the Austin-based death metal band Morgengrau — and he did his usual spectacular job. Only part of his creation is shown above. More is visible here: Continue reading »

Jan 302019


I may have made a mistake with this 17th installment of my expanding list of infectious songs — not in the choice of the two tracks, because I do find them damned infectious, but in the decisions to pair them in a single place instead of dispersing them among different Parts of the list. Because, as you’ll see, they seem like fraternal twins — closely related though not monozygotic (there, maybe some of you just discovered a new word). The two tracks do share a parent (Mick Kenney), which may have something to do with the sonic kinship.

By the way, we’re now 42 tracks into this list, and based on past experience we’re more than halfway through. I will continue doing this through the impending end of this month and at least a couple weeks into February. If you’re one of those ornery types who thinks the list is already excessive, that’s tough, because I don’t care and you can’t stop me. If you want to check out the preceding 40 songs, they’re collected here.


My pal DGR was a big backer of this band (and I do mean BIG) from the moment when he first heard of its existence (“a band made just for me”). Born To Murder The World was started by Shane Embury (Napalm Death, Brujeria, etc.) and the afore-mentioned Mick Kenney (Anaal Nathrakh/Mistress), joined by vocalist Duncan Wilkins (Fukpig, Mistress), and their debut output, The Infinite Mirror Of Millennial Narcissism (ouch!) was released last August. Continue reading »

Jan 292019


Unlike some people I know, I have zero problem with current bands slavishly devoting themselves to the sounds of black metal from the early-mid ’90s, as long as they’ve got the talent to express their devotion in credibly cold and grippingly hostile fashion.

But it so happens that the black metal songs I’ve added to the list today (which are among my favorites of the last year) aren’t of the slavishly old-school variety, yet no one would accuse any of the bands of being new-school posers either, with merely a trim-picked riff or two as the basis for claims of “blackened” sound. The albums in which these tracks appeared were also uniformly excellent.


Unbound was the creation of an (almost) entirely new incarnation of Sargeist, with only mainman Shatraug remaining from the line-up which gave us such gems as Disciples of the Heinous Path and Let The Devil In, but it too turned out to be brilliant. Given that the new line-up included a guitarist from Nightbringer, a bassist who dwells within the Saturnian Mist, and two members who provide bass and vocals for Desolate Shrine, all of whom (along with Shatraug) stand out in the sharpened production of this record, that should have come as no surprise. Continue reading »

Jan 282019


The two tracks I’ve added to this list today are diabolically inventive, and in different ways they awaken primal fears and desires. They also happen to include lyrics of rare eloquence and evocative power.


“Built around a core of discordant, dissonant Black Metal, but embellished and expanded by a freakish array of jazzy elements and avant-garde ingredients, Vile Luxury is an album which revels in its own chaotic contradictions as a way of challenging and exploiting the expectations of its audience.”

Those were among the impressions my friend Andy provided in his review of the 2018 album by New York’s Imperial Triumphant. “By turns unsettling and off-kilter, moody and malevolent”, he wrote, “its warped blend of jarring juxtapositions and stark contrasts sees the group… making purposeful use of both harsh shifts in tone and smooth segues between styles to keep the listener on the edge of their seat and to maintain an aura of potent unpredictability”. Continue reading »

Jan 252019


At least to my way of thinking, a song can be infectious for different reasons. It might have a melodic hook or a rhythmic pattern that gets stuck in your head. Perhaps a guitar solo calls you back to its siren song. The particular mood or atmosphere of the music might create its own mesmerizing and memorable effect. But particularly in the case of metal, perhaps the most primally appealing quality is the one that wrecks your neck, the one that gets heads banging hard. And that’s the quality that unites the three songs I’m adding to this list today, even though the genre styles are different.

To check out the previous installments of this expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


When I reviewed and premiered Deeds, the 2018 album by this Danish band, I called it “a sonic super-weapon, one that operates on multiple levels, inflicting both psychic and physical trauma on a shattering scale. It fires the imagination on multiple levels as well, bringing to mind terrifying vistas of apocalyptic obliteration as well as unnerving diaphonous visions that gleam with astral light.”

Not surprisingly, given the vast scale of the music and its relentless intensity, the band explained that the overarching theme of Deeds was “about births and downfalls of civilizations in other worlds throughout the universe, from creation to final decay, the depletion of the host….” Continue reading »

Jan 242019


In this lucky 13th Part of our Most Infectious Song list, I’m doing what I’ve done a few times before — picking tracks from 2018 albums that were widely enjoyed among the ranks of our nefarious writers (and large swaths of our readers). This isn’t always the case, of course, since I’m just as likely to pick songs the other writers might not have even heard before, but that I relish. But not today.

To check out the previous installments of this expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


The fact that all (or nearly all) of us were especially high on an album from last year doesn’t necessarily mean that we would all coalesce around the same track from the album from this list. I don’t know for sure, because the rest of our writers don’t all weigh in with their thoughts about what the list should include — not that I would necessarily bow to their wishes anyway. I do pay attention to what our readers have suggested, but there was quite a bit of scatter in their urgings with respect to Rivers of Nihil‘s latest album — which isn’t surprising. Continue reading »

Jan 232019


On we go into the 12th installment of this list, in which I’ve added three more songs. To check out the previous installments of this expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


Well, you had to know there would be an Alkaloid song on this list. We devoted a lot of attention to Liquid Anatomy (and of course so did the rest of metaldom), including Andy’s review of the album and premiere of a song, his subsequent placement of the album on his Critical Top 10 list for all of 2018, and DGR’s positioning of the record at the No. 2 spot on his own year-end Top 50 list, accompanied by an extensive write-up. Continue reading »

Jan 222019


I got kind of carried away with my own verbiage in the three premieres I wrote earlier today (I know, shocking isn’t it?), and that plus a visit to the dentist has caused the latest installment of this ongoing list to appear later in the day than I would have preferred. But I’m determined to keep this going as a daily habit until I force myself to stop.

As for today’s installment, you might guess that I organized my collection of song candidates for the list in alphabetical order — and you would be right. I do skip around in making choices, but today I’m solidly embedded in the H’s.


We gave quite a lot of attention to the 2018 album by the Norwegian band Horizon Ablaze, The Weight of a Thousand Suns (which was released last February) — most of it penned by Andy Synn. He introduced our premiere of a song from the album, reviewed the whole record, and then put it on both his list of 2018’s Great Albums and his Personal Top 10 list. NCS scribe TheMadIsraeli also put it on his own year-end list posted at our site, and even I got into the act by covering one of the advance album tracks in an edition of SHADES OF BLACK. So, it’s fair to say that we’re VERY HIGH on this record. Continue reading »

Jan 212019


After a weekend break, I’m resuming the rollout of this series, which will continue every day this week (and beyond). Today I decided to group together tracks from some of the bigger names in the corpse-strewn battlefields of our beloved ear-gouging genres. There are some other well-known names scattered among the rest of this week’s episodes of the list, along with lesser-known names that deserve a lot more attention.

To check out the previous installments of this expanding list, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


I suppose Northern Chaos Gods surprised more than a few people, and at least provided a resounding answer to the questions about what Immortal might be able to accomplish if and when they re-surfaced following the acrimonious departure of Abbath. If there was a surprise (and for me there was), it was that the band’s ninth album, arriving nine years after All Shall Fall, would turn out to be one of their best in such an unusually long career. Continue reading »

Jan 182019


Welcome to the 9th installment of this growing list, in which I’m turning back toward death metal with the two songs added today. To check out the previous installments, you’ll find them behind this link, and to learn what this series is all about, go here.


The title of The Crown‘s latest album — Cobra Speed Venom — is so damned good. I’m not sure it really means anything, but the combination of those three words, especially in the context of The Crown‘s brand of music, just sounds metal AF. Very cool cover art too. Continue reading »