There is a certain danger inherent in this kind of Babe Ruth-esque shot calling when it comes to mid-year lists. I myself am already guilty of attempting to label something my pre-emptive ‘Album of the Year’ and then almost immediately finding something I like more that takes its place. Twice in this case. But on the other hand, in an effort to buck my natural instinct to focus on only the worst aspects of my existence, I would like to acknowledge the albums that have made the first half of this year worth being present for. It’ll be quick and dirty, and I make no claims that this will represent me six months down the line when AOTY Season rolls around, but if you’re interested in what I’ve been enjoying so far in 2020, read about it under the cut in this Nine Circles ov… edition.
Caspian – On Circles
On Circles was one of the first albums I reviewed this year, and one that has still stuck with me through June. Post-rock and I have a long history together, and after a time spent apart, Caspian reminded me exactly why I fell in love with it in the first place.
Elder – Omens
I really was not expecting to love this album as much as I do, and yet there is almost no point at which the exultant chords of “One Light Retreating” are not stuck firmly in my head.
Envy – The Fallen Crimson
One of the greatest bands in the world proves once again why they are one of the greatest bands in the world. While I initially called this my AOTY back in February, I can’t say that is the case anymore, but this was always going to sit high in my year-end list regardless, and its quality remains untarnished.
Midwife – Forever
Forever perfectly captures the immense gulf of emotions that arise from the loss of someone dear, from grief and hopelessness, to floating nothingness, and finally acceptance and the start of a new chapter. All hail Heaven Metal.
The Mountain Goats – Songs for Pierre Chuvin
Not the album I expected, or ever thought I was going to get again, but unconditionally the album I needed most this year.
Oranssi Pazuzu – Mestarin kynsi
The first time I listened to Mestarin kynsi, I legitimately thought I was hallucinating. I love it.
Stormlight – Natoma
Triumphant screamo featuring a member from one of my favorite bands going now, and some of the craziest drumming I’ve heard on an album all year on top of that. What’s not to love?
Ulcerate – Stare Into Death and Be Still
I spewed a lot of superlatives around this album during our podcast episode it was featured in. I stand by those statements still.
VoidCeremony – Entropic Reflections Continuum: Dimensional Unravel
Perhaps the weirdest death metal album you’ll hear all year. Perhaps not even a death metal album at all. Whatever your take on where this falls in the genre pool, what can be definitively said about Entropic Reflections Continuum is that I can’t stop listening to it.
See you all later,