Nine Circles ov…Recent Albums I Only Have Time to Review in One Sentence…Part III?

I mean…it may be Part III, but who’s keeping The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 178 (4.24.2021)Nine track? Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and the metals are flying fast and furious enough that there’s a veritable cornucopia of releases worth your time. I mean, not my time…I’ve been busy, you know? Work, um…more work… that one YouTube video I’ve benn playing on repeat forever (it’s this one, by the way).

Really there’s no excuse for not enlightening you, the honorable and erudite Nine Circles reader, on my pithy and concise views of what’s been popping’ on the metal threads the last few weeks or months that our staff haven’t already covered. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… sit down and fasten those seatbelts as I once again provide one-sentence reviews of stuff that’s been floating my proverbial boat.

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Album Review: DVNE – “Etemen Ænka”

Dvne - Etemen Ænka

My first exposure to DVNE came late in the cycle for their sophomore album Asheran, but it was enough to put their crushing blend of sludge and progressive rock/metal onto my end of year list for 2017. It took a few years before appetites were whetted with the Omega Severer single/EP, and now we have the proper follow-up in the form of Etemen Ænka. This one is a little more of a grower, the songs more up front and in your face, but as things start to expand (particularly on the second half) all the reasons I came to love the band in the first place begin to flower.

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Album Review: Demiser — “Through the Gate Eternal”

Demiser - Through the Gate Eternal

You know what you’re getting into when you see that brutal wood-cut cover art, a dripper scythe standing in for an “i” in the band’s name. If that didn’t seal the deal for raucous blackened thrash that South Carolina’s Demiser churn out on their debut Through the Gate Eternal then maybe this description from the band’s press kit will help: whiskey and speed fueled, demon-worshipping metal from hell. This is the sound of a band taking European and American thrash and crushing it into the dirt of black metal with the ash-stained heel of Motörhead. In other words, right up my alley.

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Album Review: Hænesy — “Garabontzia”

The more I listen to black metal, the less I find myself caring about about things like rules or categorization. I’m not looking for black metal to change my worldview, or adhere to a set of parameters that maybe made sense over 20 years ago, but mean little now. I want the music to align to what I need at a given moment, and whether it does that via second wave lo-fi buzzing guitars, symphonic sweeping tremolo lines, or post rock shoegaze, it doesn’t matter in the end. I don’t need it to educate me, I need it to carry me – a weird thing to say about black metal, but there you go. And Garabontzia, the latest from Hungarian band Hænesy does that nicely, channeling post black metal whipped through a haze of reverb and ambient keyboard to deliver a spacious wave of noise that crashes in ever softening reverberations.

Are we still talking about black metal? Does it really matter?

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Album Review: Immortal Guardian – “Psychosomatic”

My tastes tend to to sway when it comes to power metal. Sometimes I want it to be aggressive, heavy and light on the histrionics. Sometimes I want full-blown, costume and role play drama on an operatic level. Back in 2018 when we were doing the Power Metal Album of the Month one of the biggest surprises was Immortal Guardian, who on their debut were more often than not able to successfully merge the two styles into a ridiculously fun outing. If anything, that balance solidifies on sophomore effort Psychosomatic, bringing sharper songs and a beefier production to highlight how in a short amount of time the band has become a force to reckon with in the genre.

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