Words are useless, but here’s the gist: Trevor Strnad lived and breathed metal in a way we can only dream of. Even if he wasn’t the frontperson for The Black Dahlia Murder, a band whose consistency and commitment to crafting some of the best death metal to infect your brain are unparalleled…even if his vocal timbre wasn’t unique in the field, and his lyrics a masterclass in how to craft a metal narrative…even if none of that was true (and it was, folks…it was) few people who had a mouthpiece in the scene used it as passionately and effectively as Strnad did to champion bands, to champion metal, to champion the cause for what this music means to so many people. His death is a tragedy we haven’t come to terms with yet. It hammers home how hard it can be to see the pain in others, and how fucking essential it is that we reach to see, to know, to embrace each other to keep the darkness from consuming more vital flames.
Capping off the playlist this week we’ve included Symposium of Sickness #2 featuring Trevor alongside Schuler (DeathMetalRadio) and Crypticus who discuss Vader among other things death metal related.
Sometimes too much time can go by, and you forget just how damn good something is until you finally get that taste again. Sometimes it’s just the freshness of something you haven’t consumed in forever, and maybe after a few indulgences the flavor begins to fade. Conversely, sometimes it’s Alive, the long awaited sophomore album from Atlanta’s Dead Register and I want to go back to their debut to see if it was as good as I remember but I can’t because that would mean I have to stop listening to this album, and that is not something I’m willing to commit to.
Hello you filthy bastards. I’m listening to metal again. Mainly metal that gatekeepers and other nitwits like to complain about, like the new Ibaraki project from Matt Heafy. So here’s a hearty middle finger to them, and to naysayers that have written off Cradle of Filth who (though sadly losing guitarist Richard Shaw) are 3-for-3 with killer records since signing to Nuclear Blast. And to the folks who continue to bitch about the second phase of Opeth: they’re going to HATE Mikeal Akerfeldt‘s soundtrack to the Swedish crime series Clark. I love it, so let’s kick off the 30th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist with some.
Elsewhere in the 9C realm Anton kicks us off with a triptych of lengthy killer tracks, including In Twilight’s Embrace, the newest tracks from Bedsore off their split with Mortal Incarnation, and Haunter. Josh has been raving about Scars of the Flesh, so we have some for you in here along with a bevy of new music including Vølus, This Is Oblivion, Candy, and Morbid Cross. Vincent provides a brief respite with his beloved Mountain Goats, but quickly pulls you back under the waves with some righteous Wolfbrigade, Au-Dessus, and the first single from the upcoming Wake album. Ian reaches into the past with tracks by In Flames, Dawes, and The Bouncing Souls while Angela somehow channels my inner spirit (must have been in the cards) with some Black Sabbath, followed up by Electric Wizard, some BongBongBeerWizards, and Citizen which, as far as I can tell, is bereft of wizards, electric or otherwise. Finally Buke wraps us up nicely with a host of classic metal cuts, including King Diamond, Whiplash, Forbidden, Sodom, and Sabbat.
Do we expect too much out of our metal? Or are we too easy on it? If a band comes in and executes on its mission statement, is that enough to make it great? If the music is derivative of other bands, albums, or styles, is it to be condemned? Or is it upholding a tradition and to be commended? I had all of these thoughts listening to III: Chaotic Lethal, the third album and first release from neo-thrash (man is that a sore genre label) outfit Demiricous in 15 years. I think the band does exactly what they want to do on this comeback album. It’s up to you to decide how that fits in your construct of metal and what you want out of it.
Happy Walpurgisnacht. That’s a thing with the metal community, right? I can’t keep up with your predilections. I think I hit the wall a few days ago listening to new music, stuff bouncing off me with little to no connection. Does everyone go through this? I’m sure it will come back, but for now I think I’m going to leave the 229th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist to the staff who have been going slow, hard, and deep into the metals for your weekly listening pleasure.
Vincent takes the lead this morning with some new Terzij de Horde and a little nugget from the last Deafheaven album. Then a surprise appearance from our Literati Overlord who has been over the moon with the new single from Saor. He also throws in some Nite, Dark Funeral, and a cut from site fave King Dude. Have you ever known Josh not to bring the ridiculously heavy? This week he comes in hot with Scepticflesh, Black Void, Unholy Pestilence, and Kanine. Anton can always be relied on to present new music, and he doesn’t disappoint with tracks from Spook the Horses, Final Light and Path of Might. Angela looks to challenge Josh for heaviest music with something from the new Mizmor/Thou collaboration, some Primitive Man (making its second appearance in two weeks), and a buzzing dose of punk and hardcore from the great Fucked Up before wrapping with some Astronoid. Finally Buke takes us home with a bevy of songs, including Iron Maiden, Pharmacist, Power Trip, Tom Waits, UFO, and some new Rammstein to close it up.