Album Review: Void Ritual – “Heretical Wisdom”

Void Ritual - Heretical Wisdom

Ambience isn’t just slathering keyboards or reverb on something.  We use it as a shortcut, but really ambience is the evocation of mood, of climate and atmosphere.  Mastering a particular ambience in music is hard: “heavy” isn’t a mood, though millions of headbangers wish it were so.  Throughout his myriad of projects, Dan Jackson has certainly mastered the “heavy” aspects of metal, but with Heretical Wisdom, the debut full length from his black metal hurricane Void Ritual, he also masters evoking the harsh winds and frozen landscapes of winter through a blizzard of classic and true black metal.   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…The Binder of Forgotten Metal

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There is a significant real estate issue in my house when it comes to physical media.  I have one room that is totally mine, but there's only so much you can cram into a 9×12 foot office.  So I began to make concessions: in addition to moving largely digital I've been transferring a lot of my CDs into binders, relegating the towers (thank you IKEA Gnedby) to the music I listen to the most.

When I first got back into extreme music, I was buying whatever I could to get a sense of what it was I liked and identified with.  Now I have two fat binders full of stuff I probably haven't listened to in years, so for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I decided to grab one of those dusty old binders, open it up and grab some metal to see what I moved in error, and what rightfully deserved its place among the forgotten. Let's dig in…   Continue reading

Album Review: MRTVI – “Negative Atonal Dissonance”

MRTVI - NEGATIVE ATONAL DISSONANCE

Sometimes an album name perfectly captures the sound you’re about to ingest.  There’s no trickery, no attempt to lure you into a false sense of security.  So when I tell you that Negative Atonal Dissonance, the new album by UK black metal project MRTVI is exactly what it name implies: if you’re looking for a record that reaches for a level of experimentation and extremism while keeping one foot in some blasting philosophical black metal, you’re knocking on the right door.   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov… “Isolated Evolution” Influences

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So, besides championing the music I love to the masses here at Nine Circles, I also bash a bunch of instruments together under the perhaps ill-conceived name Necrolytic Goat Converter.  I mention this for two reasons: 1) so it doesn’t feel like it’s coming out of nowhere when I mention my new album Isolated Evolution comes out August 18 and you can pre-order it here, and 2) one of the things that often gets mentioned in both reviews and interviews for ANY band or album is influences.  Drawing comparisons and tracing lines to other music is par for the course when it comes to reviewing albums – heck, we do it ourselves here all the time.

So, since it’s been asked of me more than once and it gives me the chance to briefly wax poetic on some of the music I love, this edition of Nine Circles ov… highlights some of the specific songs and bands that served as a foundation upon which I constructed the album.  Which I will again gladly point out you can pre-order using the link above.  That being said, let’s dig in…   Continue reading

Album Review: Byzantine – “The Cicada Tree”

Byzantine_-_The_Cicada_Tree

I understand the desire to label West Virginia’s Byzantine underdogs.  Rising up in the midsts of what I guess will be forever known as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, they took flight alongside acts like Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and their local brother Lamb of God with a trio of popular albums before somewhat imploding in 2008 thanks not only to the changing scene but strife within the industry and the band itself.  You can paint that picture, and talk about being overshadowed by larger acts, but let me tell you a different story, one that ends with how The Cicada Tree, the band’s latest and first for Metal Blade, is not only tied for the best album they’ve released to date, but is an adrenaline-fueled highlight of 2017.   Continue reading