Feb 092014

We present Part 24 of our list of 2013′s Most Infectious Extreme Metal Songs. For more details about what this list is all about and how it was compiled, read the introductory post via this link. To see the selections that preceded the three songs I’m announcing today, click here.

I’ve grouped the following trio of songs for two reasons, despite the fact that they span different metal genres: First, they share a certain predatory vocal viciousness. Second, they all feature at key moments a kind of very cool swirling sound that I assume is produced by guitar finger-tapping (or maybe keyboards in the last song) — though I’m not a musician, so what do I know?


The first song in this collection is a rarity: It comes from an album by this Swedish band that we never mentioned in any of our regular features during 2013, much less reviewed. Professor D. Grover the XIIIth named the album (The Unholy Communion) to his NCS list of the year’s Top 40 albums, and the album also appeared on several year-end lists posted by our readers. But I didn’t get around to exploring it until early 2014. Continue reading »

Jan 072013

(Wolves stick together. In this post, BadWolf reviews the brand new debut EP by Mourning Wolf.)

I’ve been hearing about Mourning Wolf since the band’s first practices. As a matter of fact, it’s about all that the project’s vocalist, Clint ‘Darkness’ Harkness, talked about for months. Readers may recognize Harkness as the lead singer of Lansing, Michigan’s The Devastator. He’s right to be excited about the project—the Elmhaven EP is rock-solid.

Mourning Wolf blends two disparate, but equally melodic strains of heavy music into a cohesive whole.   In the first place, their music owes a great deal of debt to the kind of melodic metalcore that Headbanger’s Ball peddled in the naughty aughts. For example, the first segment of “Elmhaven Part II” could pass as an unreleased demo by Darkest Hour, or early Killswitch Engage. Wisely, the band avoids the saccharine clean singing and sentimental lyrics, lest the music veer into self-parody. Mourning Wolf diverge from melodic metalcore in another critical arena: the first part of Elmhaven clocks in at almost eight minutes, and its successor breaks the eleven minute mark.

The second ingredient in Mourning Wolf’s music is longform ambient black metal, the kind of music Wolves in the Throne Room and Alcest play. If Mourning Wolf were from California or Washington, someone would have called them Cascadian by now. Continue reading »