November 2018 Power Metal Album of the Month: Dire Peril – “The Extraterrestrial Compendium”

PMAOTM november 2018 dire peril - the extraterrestrial compendium

Taking over the reins of this column has been an experience.  As I dove deeper into the ever-evolving mass that is power metal and its many offshoots, I’ve begun to tap back into those things that made me fall in love with metal when I was a kid.  The deeper narratives and mythologies, the technical prowess, all in favor to the all-mighty chorus – these were the things that shielded a troubled awkward kid growing up afraid and uncertain.  And as my life as a 45-year old man takes another sharp turn to the afraid and uncertain I’ve been leaning hard into those things that provided comfort before.  Since getting the promo for The Extraterrestrial Compendium, the debut full length from power metal super-duo Dire Peril, I’ve been struck with just how effective the album is at balancing grace and power, despite the pedigree behind.  For that and so much more it was a no-brainer it would be the November Power Metal Album of the Month.    Continue reading

Album Review: Master – “Vindictive Miscreant”

Master - Vindictive Miscreant

It’s all right there, before a single note is played.  It’s there in that extra syllable Paul Speckman injects at the end as he bellows “You’re nothing but a vindictive miscreant!” It’s a burst of disgust, dripping with vitriol tagged onto “miscreant,” a venomous punctuation before the guitars burst in.

It’s all right there, but what is it?  It’s Master, doing what they’ve been doing for 30 odd years, and not losing a step with new album (in case you couldn’t guess) Vindictive MiscreantContinue reading

The Nine Circles Audio Thing: Beyond Creation was October 2018’s Album of the Month!

Nine Circles Audio Thing

We are cutting it *waaaaaay* close on this one.  But we did it, folks…by golly we somehow picked ourselves up by our bootstraps and delivered another edition of our Album of the Month series. This time the gang got together to discuss the technical chops and marvels of Beyond Creation and their latest offering to the technical death metal world, Algorythm — our album of the month pick for October! Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…Clearing Out the Promo Pile, 2018 Edition

9C ov...Promo Pile

Every leaf that falls from a tree, signaling the beginning of winter and the end of the year feels like it lands as yet another promo I haven’t had a chance to get to yet.  The end of November also marks the time I start flushing out my various end of year lists, creating playlists of contenders and engaging in the massive purge of albums from my computer, releasing albums I’ll never come back to and freeing up precious space on the old hard drive.

But those lost, deserted promos call out to me, begging for another chance to be consumed, to be measured and contemplated.  So think of this edition of Nine Circles ov… as part of the process (or just a cheap sequel to my last post), digging in the dirt for those glints of promise that  – even this late in the year – can change a mind. Continue reading

Album Review: In the Woods… – “Cease the Day”

In the Woods... - Cease the Day

Most bands coming out of an extended period of inactivity are applauded for not missing a beat…in other words, sticking firmly to the formula that worked for them.  If Norway’s In the Woods… had a formula at all, it was moving adventurously forward, mixing death, doom, folk and black metal in a way that didn’t sound like anyone else at the time. Since reuniting and coming back with 2016’s excellent Pure (an album that made both Corey’s and my Best of 2016 lists) the band feels completely revitalized, honing their progressive mix to larger extremes.  New album Cease the Day further refines that sense of exploration in extremes, to fantastic results. Continue reading