Album Review: Ghastly Sound – “The Bottom” EP

Ghastly Sound - The Bottom

You know that cliche in movies when someone is being approached by a huge, hirsute mean looking dude?  Think Hells Angel stereotype circa Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way… series in the 80s.  They come stalking up, scowling, menacing score playing in the background…only to then offer to help with the groceries or to expound on some mathematical theory, thus laying on think the adage that you can’t judge a book by a cover?  Case in point Ghastly Sound, and their walloping second EP in the span of a year The Bottom.  Forget what the cover and logo are signaling to you: this is a stellar melange of hardcore, noise, and indie rock that isn’t afraid to mix passionate melodies with bone crunching riffs and waves of killer rock.   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…”Special” EOY Awards (2017 Edition)

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

2017 turned out to be a strange year for me musically.  In my first full year writing for Nine Circles I had the opportunity to explore different genres and bands I never would have discovered on my own, and taking in so much music (even when I didn’t want to, in all honesty) not only broadened my horizons and (hopefully) improved my critical thinking on music, but also helped me to understand better what it was I needed from music.

Next week I’ll be unveiling my personal Top 25 albums for 2017, along with a second post of 15 honorable mentions.  But there was so much that impacted me, and so for this final 2017 edition of Nine Circles ov… I wanted to give out a few of my own personal awards to some bands and albums that left their marks on me.  So without further ado, let’s dive in…   Continue reading

Album Review: Cleric – “Retrocausal”

cleric - retrocasual

See that laptop in the above image?  I like to think that’s what happened to the circuits that tried to process Retrocausal, the new and long-awaited album from Philadelphia collective Cleric.  Moving at light speed from one musical idea to the next, ever restless and seeking even as it clearly lays its feet at the crossroads of bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Mr. Bungle, and the exploratory avenues of modern free jazz. But rather than get lost in a myriad of riffs and ideas, this massive slab of music works in a similar fashion to doom, with extended run times allowing multiple listens to glean new facets and structures, renewing itself each time.    Continue reading

Looking Back on the Tracks: Revisiting Chris’s 2017 Anticipated Records

railways tracks

Looking backward, what’s interesting isn’t so much how the albums I selected back in January as part of Nine Circles’ 2017 Metal Forecast held up (or didn’t), but how what I was looking for in music at the beginning of 2017 changed and mutated as the year went from bad to worse, from televised and networked insanity to personal tragedy and a gaze into the abyss that was closer than I had ever anticipated at this point in my life.   Revisiting the three albums that actually came out in 2017 now it’s striking how different the things I first imagined would be the draw fell to the wayside as new priorities and impact points made themselves evident.

We look back, and never see what we expect to, I guess.   Continue reading

Album Review: Morbid Angel – “Kingdoms Disdained”

morbid angel kingdoms disdained

Is there a place for Trey Azagthoth in today’s metal scene?  I understand the impact merging death metal with Eddie Van Halen style solos had for extreme metal in the 80s, but 30 years of twisting insanity from bands like Portal, Gorguts, and every band featuring an 8 or 9-stringed virtuoso made me wonder if Azagthoth and his 3.0 edition of Morbid Angel could continue to impress, especially after the brake screeching accident that was Illud Divinum Insanus.  Kingdoms Disdained, the new album reuniting Azagthoth with Steve Tucker on bass and vocals may not be the second coming of metal that Altars of Madness was, but truth be told it’s a damn solid death metal album, filled with great riffs and more than enough to convince the world Morbid Angel is back on track.    Continue reading