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 »

Feb 202021


There’s always a kind of random quality about these weekend round-ups, mainly because what I choose to investigate in my listening is itself a very random process. This one may be more random than most because I jumped around in my listening list to make sure I included some groups I knew nothing about, and wound up picking some of those for the last four items in the following collection. I also decided to throw you a big curveball at the end.


I easily could have saved this first song for tomorrow’s SHADES OF BLACK column, but it put such a thrill in me when I first heard it this morning that it would have pained me too wait. It’s such a glorious bonfire of sound, a racing whirl of exultant harmonized riffing, scorching vocals, and jet-speed drumming (which occasionally shifts gears). There’s a brief (and unnecessary) interlude in the middle, and then we’re right back in the midst of this brilliant spinning pillar of fire. Ironically, the name of the song is “Frigid and Spellbound“. Continue reading »

Jul 262015

Spectral Wound-Terra Nullius


Yesterday afternoon, just as I was about to finish writing a “Shades of Black” collection of new and newly discovered black metal that I posted earlier this morning, I took one more glance at our e-mail box and found a message that had just arrived from a label called Media Tree Recordings. It announced the release of Terra Nullius, the debut album by a Montreal band named Spectral Wound (whose ranks include two former members of Ensorcelor).

I impetuously decided to listen to one song, thinking I might add it to that “Shades of Black” post. Without intending to, I listened to the entire album from start to finish — and began writing what you’re reading now before the album had even ended. It deserves a more carefully considered and meticulously crafted review than the one you’re about to read, but given how stretched I am for time and how limited I am in my abilities, I’m afraid the following impulsive words of praise will have to do. Continue reading »