Nine Circles ov…Mistakes Made on End of Year Lists

Sometimes you make a snap judgement on an album. Sometimes in the heat of the moment with the hype and the accolades you convince yourself this or that record IS deserving of a place on the list. Sometimes that record takes the place of a record you find yourself listening to constantly years later.

It happens. Even when your annual end of year list(s) top out at close to 50 records after all the hemming and hawing is over with. And so for this edition of Nine Circles ov… in preparation of the 2020 end-of-year ranking I look back at my past lists and find nine albums that, frankly, I made a mistake on.

chapel of disease - as we have seen the storm, we have embraced the eye

Chapel of Disease – And As We Have Seen the Storm, We Have Embraced the Eye: You can firmly plant this atop the WTF Was I Thinking List…I didn’t even include it as a honorable mention, instead relegating it to the 2018 list of things that didn’t make my list but could have. And by “Could Have” I should have said Top 5 because Chapel of Disease has become one of my favorite discoveries in the past few years.

oceans of slumber - winter

Oceans of Slumber – Winter: On the other hand, I’d be hard pressed to tell you the last time I listened to Ocean of Slumber’s 2016 LP. It made #15 on my 2016 end of year list, but despite the still towering vocals of Cammie Gilbert I haven’t found any of their subsequent releases. Nothing bad here per se, but nothing that four years later explains why I ranked it so high. Especially when I have things like the next item pushed back to an honorable mention…

oranssi pazuzu Värähtelijä

Oranssi Pazuzu – Värähtelijä: Yeah, that’s right…I left this stellar slice of psychedelic black metal on the honorable mentions list. I know…any faith you had in my taste is now lost. All I can say is I see my failure and am taking this opportunity to rectify it. And now that I have your attention, please forgive me in advance because as of right now their latest Mestarin kynsi probably isn’t making the 2020 list, either…

morne - rust

Morne – Rust: I admitted in my 2019 end of year list that this was a bit of a cheat, since this is basically an EP of remastered songs from 2009 that appeared on splits. I still love it, but truly this could have been moved to the Honorable Mentions list or even the “didn’t but should have” list. Consider this a small, sheepish apology that if I could do over again, I would move off and replace with…

Fen - The Dead Light

Fen – The Dead Light: I’ve been getting more and more picky and prickly when it comes to black metal and those bands that stretch the definition. Fen really pushes the traditional elements of the genre back in favor of a crushing rock sound that favors melody and arrangements that add to the overall power of tracks like “Labyrinthine Echos” and the two-part title track. So, so good.

mutoid man - war moans

Mutoid Man – War Moans: From the tongue-in-cheek album title to the massive hooks, War Moans is a steady go-to when I want riffs and sing-alongs to bring the day up from the morass of daily life. There are moments when my brain refuses to reconcile the exuberance Stephen Brodsky displays here as opposed to when he was fronting Cave In, but I guess that’s what happens when you put together one of the most fun power trios in modern day metal. More of this, please.

Messa – Feast for Water: Messa got lost in the shuffle of jumping into 2018 and just moving into other waters (sorry). There’s a time and place for music that is this dark and somber, but I’ll be honest: I’ve been looking for music to offset the mindset I’m already in, not drown in it further (again, sorry). There might be a time I go back to Messa and agree with its placement on my 2017 list (which is #13), but right now, I’d move it out of 2017 along with this other album that falls largely in the same vein…

Mord A Stigmata - Hope

Mord’A’Stigmata – Hope:  I wrote in my original ranking (#18) that “Hope is the sound of no hope…each long song slowly building with repetition to a crescendo that breaks into nothing again, having to rebuild.” Which is definitely a thing, and something that would be great depending on your current frame of mind. I can appreciate what Mord’A’Stigmata have done with Hope, but my revisits have been infrequent at best, particularly after really not caring for the followup Dreams of Quiet Places. Hopefully this is an album I’ll be able to come back to.

Eagle Twin - The Thundering Heard

Eagle Twin – The Thundering Herd: And so we end where we began, with another release that has quickly become one of my favorites of the past few years, yet was only given a place on the “Didn’t but should have” list. Eagle Twin are Clutch if they were soaked in the blood of ancient wooly beasts, prehistoric rock that echoes across eras. It’s been too long since we’ve had new music from the duo, so here’s hoping the near future brings some welcome news.

Any mistakes on your lists? If you had it to do all over again, what would you change? Sound off in the comments, and as always…

Keep it heavy.

– Chris

One thought on “Nine Circles ov…Mistakes Made on End of Year Lists

  1. Dan November 17, 2020 / 10:12 pm

    Cobalt on my 2016 list. That thing’s fallen into the farthest recesses of the memory hole.

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