Jan 122022

Welcome to Part 6 of this expanding list. You’ll find the preceding Parts (and an explanation of what this list is all about) through THIS LINK.

All three of the songs featured today were included in my part of the playlist that DGR, Andy Synn, and I put together for a September 2021 guest DJ appearance on Gimme Metal (and speaking of which, we three are doing another guest DJ appearance on January 25th). I included these three songs for a reason — because all three are so damned infectious. They had all gotten stuck firmly in my head by that point, and I was eager to infect other people with them. Obviously, I still am.

FIAT NOX (Germany)

Last year we had the honor of premiering a new EP by this German band (In Contemptuous Defiance) in advance of its October release by Personal Records. In an accompanying review I wrote that this new release “further elevates the place of Fiat Nox as a band capable of creating marvelously dynamic and multi-faceted music that gets the blood racing with its muscular, hard-charging aggression but also creates wholly enthralling atmosphere through its emotionally powerful melodies”. Continue reading »

Jan 112022


As I’ve remarked before about this series, the songs many of us find highly infectious are not necessaruly truly great artistic achievements, nor is there any necessary connection between an infectious track and a great album. But as it happens, I truly do believe that all three songs I’ve chosen for this Fifth Part of the list are great songs and they come from great albums.

Of course I’m far from alone in thinking these three albums are great ones — all of them achieved high praise when they came out, and made frequent appearances on year-end lists across the interhole, including those at our own dank hole.


Earlier today we posted a 2021 “List of Lists” that aggregated 97 year-end lists from 26 international critics, magazines, blogs, and other publications. In what was undoubtedly the biggest surprise (except for people who’ve actually heard it), Worm‘s album Foreverglade took the No. 6 spot, and only narrowly missed placing in a very closely packed Top 5 that included much more well-known names. As the person who compiled that list proclaimed, Worm “made funeral death/doom cool again”. Continue reading »

Jan 102022


The theme of this fourth installment of the list is… groove! To be sure, there are other themes and ingredients in today’s trio of tracks, because they are significantly different from each other in just about every other way. But these songs will get you moving, and because they’re all so damned infectious they’ll likely get quickly stuck in your head if you’re encountering them for the first time.

If you’re stumbling into this series for the first time, you’ll find the preceding Parts (and an explanation of what this list is all about) through THIS LINK.


This is the first of two bands in today’s installment whose 2021 records I paid attention to as a result of my colleague Andy Synn‘s enthusiastic recommendations. In the case of Thundering Hooves‘ debut album Vestiges he praised not only the band’s name but also anointed this precocious duo as “the UK’s answer to Necrophobic“. And yes, that got my attention. He further wrote: Continue reading »

Jan 072022


Way back in Part 1 of this series (two whole days ago) I explained that before I began winnowing down the list of candidates it had 630 entries on it — a combination of my own ideas, suggestions from readers, and nominees from NCS writers DGR and Andy Synn. I also noted that among that enormous number of songs only 11 bands had four or more entries. Two of those bands — 1914 and Archspire — are responsible for two of the picks I’m announcing today. And it happens that both of those bands did very well for themselves in the 2021 YE list sweepstakes as well, not just here but in other lists I’ve seen around the web.

The third selection in today’s installment flew much lower on the radar (or beneath it), despite the record being the work of a very well-known musician. Hopefully, mentioning it today will help spread the word a bit more, because it’s great. Continue reading »

Jan 062022


The first installment of this list orbited the cratered moon of black metal, and in this one I decided to chart a course through the death metal asteroid belt, sustaining destructive collisions along the way. These three songs differ significantly in their stylistic inclinations, which is just one small sign of how diverse death metal is, but of course what they share is a significant degree of… infectiousness. All three bands also happen to be from the U.S.


This Philadelphia band’s 2021 album The Consumed Self made at least three of the year-end lists prepared by NCS writers. One of those (Andy Synn) also gave the album a thorough and nuanced review (here), another (DGR) also included a review when he put the album at the No. 15 spot of his YE list; and a third (Gonzo) anointed it as his album of the year, writing (here): “In a year with so many incredible technical death metal records, Burial in the Sky have created something that shakes itself loose from the rest of the pack. Their brilliant musicianship and airtight songwriting is a sonic killing machine that just puts them squarely into elite territory.” Continue reading »

Jan 052022


We seem to pick up new readers every year, even as some older readers finally give up and bid us an adios, with or without middle fingers raised. So I guess it’s still worth telling people what they’re getting themselves into with this series.

This is traditionally the last part of our annual LISTMANIA extravaganza, though I do know of one more year-end album list that we still want to post whenever it arrives. This particular series isn’t about best albums or best shorter releases, and it isn’t even about best songs. As the title says, it’s about “most infectious” songs. Some of those might be among the year’s best songs, but in every year there are stand-out songs that aren’t immediately infectious, and actually might never be. Conversely, there are some highly infectious songs every year that most people wouldn’t critically acclaim as great works of art.

The process of compiling this list is a bit bizarre, or at least very poorly planned. Let me explain: Continue reading »

Nov 182021

Tomorrow we will officially announce the beginning of our annual LISTMANIA extravaganza at NCS. For those of you new to this orgy, our LISTMANIA blockbuster comes in four parts:

First, we re-print assorted lists of the year’s best albums, leeched from other big web sites and magazines, like the one you’ll see tomorrow. Second, we will provide a post in which our readers can share their lists of the 2021 albums and shorter releases they enjoyed the most (we’ll be asking for those on December 1, so get ready). Third, we will post the year-end lists of our own staff and assorted guest writers.

And fourth, I’ll again roll out my list of the year’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs — which seems especially well-named in this latest plague year, doesn’t it? That list is the subject of this request for help.

Continue reading »