Happy Friday, everyone! To welcome in a new weekend, I would like to present the first ever edition of Nine Circles’ Receiving the Evcharist. The rundown is as follows: Here at The Nine Circles Blog, many of us like to imbibe in a wide assortment of adult beverages when we are winding down at the end of the day or during the weekend. Naturally, this practice goes hand in hand with the work that we do for Nine Circles. Combining drinking and metal really is the best use of time as far as I’m concerned. So, to get everyone primed for the weekend, each Friday we will choose one album and one drink, meant to be consumed together, and chat about them. Not too complicated, right? Right. Let’s begin. The metal: Katatonia’s Viva Emptiness. The booze: Monkey Shoulder, Batch 27.
We are all getting excited for the latest from the gothic death metallers out of Sweden to drop, but unfortunately we are still two weeks away from The Fall of Hearts. Of course, there is plenty of Katatonia lying around that we can revisit to fill that void. Viva Emptiness was one of my favorites when I first picked it up but, sadly, it has fallen a bit off the radar in recent years. When you play this album through, which is a 53 minute listen that moves along fairly quickly, you need to be impressed by the diversity in Katatonia’s song writing. No, this isn’t an album that features the darker moments of either of the next two albums (The Great Cold Distance and Night is the New Day). Nor does it have the weight of the earlier, more strictly death metal years. But start to finish this album is filled with memorable tracks. From the more aggressive (angsty?) “Ghost of the Sun” to the airiness of tracks like “Burn the Remembrance” and “Complicity”, it’s just an easy album to get lost in. And it would be unwise to not mention one of my favorite Katatonia songs of all time in “Evidence.” Viva Emptiness is, in my opinion, an incredibly overlooked album. (Perhaps just by myself? Who knows). It’s perhaps lighter in the Katatonia discography, but there’s plenty of depth in the way every note resonates beautifully. This album still hits your soul in a way that only a Katatonia album can.
The Booze: Monkey Shoulder, Batch 27 (Blended Malt Scotch Whisky)
I don’t usually find myself exploring the world of blended scotches all that often. You’re more likely to find a rye at my Nine Circles working station on a given night to be completely honest. Regardless, this was a gift from this past weekend’s festivities and for a new discovery I was certainly impressed. A blend of three Speyside whiskys, Monkey Shoulder offers a mellow, smooth finish with a sweet taste that offers hints of spiced vanilla. As a fan of smokier products, I find myself curiously enjoying the sweeter complexities. And it seems that with each sip there is a little bit more to be uncovered; fruit, honey, a certain oakiness… There really is quite a nice range. As an aside, it’s also really nice being able to sit down and actually enjoy this. I woke up Sunday morning to a bottle (this bottle) that was down to about 1/3 despite vaguely remembering consuming any of it the night before. I’m going to assume I shared, but that’s never a given. Oh. And I also woke up with that 1/3 bottle next to me in bed. Fortunately, upon researching a bit further, this is a very fairly priced bottle at about $30.00 a pop. While this probably isn’t going to find a way into my regular rotation of bottles, I must say that it is well worth the light investment. I’m sure that’s an investment I’ll be making again at some point in the future, and I encourage you all to give it a try as well. A very decent whisky blend for the money. How can you go wrong?
And in conclusion, I must say that Viva Emptiness combines very nicely with the Monkey Shoulder. The lighter, delicate sounds emanating from my speakers pair up with the mellow, sweeter notes of the whisky. Very relaxing indeed. Have a good weekend, everyone! I’m gonna go get weird.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”