Did you know that RockmusicRaider will also rant about videos and those short blurbs called EPs?1) You probably did. But you didn’t know that our lazy asses finally got in gear to offer a short ranking list for both categories to our readers. As a first-ever in the illustrious career of the RockmusicRaider webzine.
It is true, we focus on full-length reviews and often pay little attention to clips and those shorter concoctions. But 2020 whelped some excellent material, which we found impossible to ignore. So, in this light, it would be a pity not to give them an official mention or three.
RMR’s 2020 Top 3 Videos
#3 – Haken – Invasion
I must have watched that video a felt gazillion of times and it still fascinates me. This clip is a truly intense snapshot from their 2020 record Virus. The piece that – incidentally – also made it to the top spot of our Top 10 record contest. It is astounding how they managed visualize an infection by a virus, complete with the immune reaction. All of that embedded in complicated prog patterns so typical of Haken. And it will take a while to figure out the subtle references to former albums, chiefly The Mountain with its Cockroach King.
#2 – Red Cain – Juliet
Red Cain‘s latest piece of art by no means fits that ubiquitous ‘metal-band-in-the-forest’ theme, where folks madly torture instruments without cables.2) Instead, the extract from Kindred: Act I is a master class in storytelling. An excellent short movie that tells a ghostly tale of a lost soul. A fable that builds tension without one single droplet of blood. They even revived that age-old puritan horror movie saga that sex (without marriage) will get you killed. And they did that without letting their story grow stale or cheesy. This is state-of-the-art movie making. Chapeau, as we say in French.
#1 – Fleshgod Apocalypse – Monnalisa
Ah, what a viciously opulent, almost decadent piece. A sumptuous production so Fleshgod Apocalypse, I would have been disappointed to find it on another band’s beat. This is flawless filmography, gruesome brutality without gore and terror through insinuation. A geeky mastery full of innuendo and darkest urges, one that catches the essence of the track better than the original on Veleno ever could. And I still shudder every time I watch it. Mission accomplished, and a truly worthy candidate for our top 3.
RMR’s 2020 Top 3 EPs
#3 – Sarcoptes – Plague Hymns
If you need your horrors packed in deliciously intense Extreme Metal, the latest blurb of Sarcoptes is for you. This sometimes discreetly blackened something will mercilessly thrash you at every corner of their meager two tracks. But – boy – sometimes I was glad there weren’t too many of them. The record does speak about plagues in all their medieval splendor. And don’t we feel that particularly terrible pyre beckon us as we progress into their story. No pun intended from the band, I am sure.
#2 – Vermilia – Keskeneräisiä tarinoita
Oh, yes. We truly relished Pagan Metal feeding on subtle atmospherics and a multitude of accouterments Black Metal furnishes. The lush and blackened soundscapes that emerge actually go way beyond what Myrkur ever achieved. Less anchored in tradition, Vermilia managed to add a multilayered earthiness to their tune that we haven’t seen often. Dark and ominous with a slightly steely and menacing undertone. That’s earth lore metal just the way we like it3).
#1 – Solemnity – Through Endless Darkness
Once Through Endless Darkness starts somberly waltzing forward, you’ll be hooked. And you’ll have difficulty returning to reality from its darkly opulent soundscapes. Solemnity pretty much re-wrote the way Symphonic and Doom Death Metal ought to sound. Extreme Metal often is about bashing your head in with brutal soundwaves. Yet here, you’ll find an artfully woven net of symphonics, blast beats, tastily blackened meaty riffs, and growls that are meant to coalesce around each other. And you won’t get tired of it. This is one band that we certainly would like to hear more of on a full-length album.
Alright, that’s our top 3 cut of all those short versions we found in 2020. May the new year turn out even better. And in more ways than only one. Stay tuned.