Feb 012023

In compiling my list of 2022’s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs I cut back significantly from last year, when I pushed the 2021 list through 25 parts and 99 songs. This year I limited the rollout to weekdays during January, with three songs per day (except only two songs the first day, which I made up for with four yesterday). And the result is a list that includes 66 songs.

As I explained yesterday, and as I explain every year when I halt this list, I’m still not really finished. I began this exercise with a list of candidates that stretched to 564 songs, assembled from recommendations by readers and some of our other writers, as well as a list of my own that I compiled as the weeks and months of 2022 rolled along. Even subtracting 66 tracks from all those recommendations, the balance is still enormous. Inevitably, I had to draw the line somewhere. Continue reading »

Jan 312023


I began rolling out this list day-by-day on January 2nd, promising that I’d force myself to stop at the end of the month. The end of the month has now arrived, and sadly for me, today is the final installment. I mean, it would seem odd to continue a year-end list into the second month of the next year, but I easily could have kept the list going for another month.

That’s because many worthy songs still remain on my list of candidates, and in fact many are just as worthy as the 66 I’ve included through today. I readily admit that, and I only regret that I couldn’t name more before running out of time. So please hold your fire because a bunch of your own favorite tracks didn’t make it.

Tomorrow I’ll have a “wrap up” post that lists all the songs in one place, with links to each of the 22 installments. Here are the final four: Continue reading »

Jan 302023


We’re getting down to the wire for this list. I’ve used that expression many times in many contexts without knowing precisely what it means or where it came from, but having checked the dictionary today I find that it’s an apt expression here. It means an outcome that’s unclear and unsettled until the last minute, the very end, and thus also means “full of suspense”.

Another source reports: “This term comes from horseracing, where it was long the practice to stretch a wire across and above the track at the finish line. It was extended to figurative use about 1900.”

With only tomorrow left to bring this list to an end, I feel suspenseful myself, because I have no fucking idea how to end it. Well, tomorrow is another day. Today I picked these three songs: Continue reading »

Jan 272023

Mother of Graves

For the 20th Part of this still-escalating list ,variety is the name of the game, because I’ve chosen three songs that don’t have much in common. I guess you could say they’re all in sub-genres of death metal, but there the connection mostly ends.

Well, not quite. I’ll mention a few more connections: The first two bands both make their homes in Indianapolis; Todd Manning reviewed both of them for us; and all three albums arrived with eye-catching cover art. Continue reading »

Jan 262023

Once again I’m racing due to diminishing time, but still determined to continue posting an installment of this list every weekday, especially because the number of weekdays left before I call a halt is now down to a very small number. And so the only preview I’ll give you about the three I’ve chosen today is that they are all black metal songs that are all glorious in different ways. (I wrote about each of them when they surfaced last year, and I’m generously borrowing from those write-ups in the introductions below.)


The first song in today’s collection, “Au Blason Brûlé“, is one I premiered at NCS in the run-up to release of the new Véhémence album Ordalies. In that context I explained why the song had such a strong impact — and that impact hasn’t diminished over the year that’s passed since I first heard it: Continue reading »

Jan 252023

Unlike in a few past years, this year I’ve had time to complete and post a new installment of this list every weekday since I started rolling it out. What I’ve got ahead of me today created a serious risk I wouldn’t get this 18th Part finished in time. So, in a hurry, I’ll truncate the intro:

OK boys and girls, it’s time to tear off your clothes and go running wild into the streets! Unless you’re over 40, and then it might be best if you kept your clothes on, out of consideration for the neighbors.


If you’ve never seen SpiritWorld live on stage I strongly encourage you to beg, borrow, or steal whatever you need to buy a ticket and get to a show, even if the closest venue is Siberia. I saw them play Northwest Terror Fest in Seattle last year, and man, what a fucking revelation that was. I’d only heard a few songs off their first album, and their second one (Deathwestern) wasn’t due out until five months later, so I didn’t have a very good idea of to expect. I sure as hell didn’t know how they’d be dressed. Continue reading »

Jan 242023


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. Continue reading »

Jan 232023

We have seven weekdays left before the end of January, which marks my self-imposed ending of this list. Seven days before I ought to stop, and like every other year, the impending end adds to my anxiety levels because I know I have so many more songs I’d like to include and not enough room to include them all. To begin this final seven-day stretch I decided to concentrate on shades of black metal.


Seemingly out of nowhere this indigenous black metal project from the Adirondacks made a big splash in 2022 with a debut album denominated I. The size of the splash was measured by how often it appeared on year-end lists, both here and in many other locations across the web. For those of you who somehow missed the album despite all the attention and acclaim it received, I’ll borrow some words from Andy Synn’s NCS review: Continue reading »

Jan 202023


You see what I did today? I guess it’s not very subtle.

Believe me, it’s not easy to pick the songs for this list, because so many are deserving. When things jump out like these did as I was frantically scrolling up and down through my alphabetized list of candidates, it’s very easy to give in to impulse rather than yield to insanity.

Mind you, these songs were on the list of candidates for a reason, and they jumped out not only because of the bands’ names appearing in fairly close proximity to each other and with phonetic syllabic kinship. I remembered the songs and mentally exclaimed THERE! THAT’S IT! PART 15 IS DONE!


Three years ago I picked a song from Disllusion’s comeback album The Liberation for the 2019 edition of this list. Three years later Disillusion returned with another album, Ayam, and here we are again. Continue reading »

Jan 192023

We have made our way up to Part 14 of this year’s Most Infectious Song list, and for the second day in a row I don’t have a coherent organizing principle for why I put these three tracks together, other than the infectiousness of the choices.

I think I can accurately say that these songs are all infectious in the sense of being intensely memorable. They’re so dramatic and often daunting that calling them “catchy” doesn’t seem quite right. But are they the sorts of songs you’d gladly put on a playlist so you can listen to them over and over again as time passes? I think so!

KAMPFAR (Norway)

Some songs are so stunningly dramatic, so vast in their scale, so frightening in their intensity, that they send shivers down the spine no matter how many times you hear them. Kampfar‘s “Urkraft” is one of those songs. Even right after I heard it for the first time early last spring, I wrote: “I haven’t committed to memory all of Kampfar‘s tracks spread across an 8-album discography. I’ll just say that I can’t recall any song in their repertoire that stunned me on a first listen like ‘Urkraft‘ did. Listening to it this morning, I was stunned all over again.” Continue reading »