Album Review: Times of Grace — “Songs of Loss and Separation”

times of grace - songs of loss and separation

It’s fascinating to see what a side project allows members to express that they couldn’t in their primary outfit. Doubly so in the case of Times of Grace: Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz already have a flexible outlet in Killswitch Engage. Leach had not yet rejoined the band in 2011 when the collaborators’ debut arrived; 10 years later Songs of Loss and Separation shows that outside of the NWOAHM influences that have marked Killswitch’s style for over 20 years there’s a lot of darkness still to mine, and the opportunity to play in a more melodic, heartfelt space really differentiates this from the pair’s other outlet. It also makes for a stronger, more impactful offering that’s been sticking in my head since first playing the record.

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Nine (or so Heavily Qualified) Circles ov…2021: A Mid-Year Report

2021 mid-year report

Wait…so the guy who only wrote a total of 10 freakin’ reviews this year thinks he has any weight when it comes to a mid-year report? Well, uh…I guess that’s why I put the “heavily qualified” in the title of this post?

But seriously, I’ll be the first to admit that metal hasn’t really been my #1 go-to when it comes to music lately, but like everything else, what you see on the Internet never tells you the whole story. I haven’t been writing nearly as much about the genre lately, but I have been listening. Listening, and refining. Finding the things that really resonate despite the press and the push of PR, or what the pundits tell you on the 1,001 other sites out there scrambling for clicks. And what I’ve discovered is that more and more I’m coming to the sounds that drew me to the genre: thrash riffs, lots of melody, and tasty solos. So yeah: expect some old school bands putting out great records more than 30 years into their existence here. And maybe a few newer bands as well.

Is that qualified enough for ya? Then let’s dig in.

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Album Review: Darkthrone — “Eternal Hails…..”

The world is changing. Faster than anyone would believe, and faster yet in the last year. It’s terrifying and impossible to unsee: in the vicious upheaval of the past year where everyone moved a thousand miles an hour in a thousand different directions it felt like there were fewer and fewer things to cling to. Where were the anchor points, the tethers to a known quantity…something to remind us of the underlying laws of the universe?

Far off in the distance something looms at the horizon. A shape of immeasurable size, and a sound that reverberates in frequencies older than the dinosaurs start to roll in like a massive tide that has been building and building forever…eternally, one could say.

They are back. We stare into the inky unknown black of the night and know that whatever happens, Darkthrone have returned to light the Earth with the torch of heavy metal, to scorch the ground with the prehistoric concussion of Eternal Hails….., the latest piece of evidence that the Old Ones still walk among us, and they have zero interest in anything but the Almighty Riff.

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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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