Nine Circles ov…2019: A Mid-Year Report

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Anyone feel oppressed by the ridiculous heat blasting through the Northeast?  It almost makes you want to take a month off of writing for a website.  I kid, but in truth I needed some time because the amount of quality metal that has been coming out this year has been INSANE.  Label faves like Season of Mist and Gilead have been routinely hitting it out of the park, but great music has been crawling out of every nook and cranny, and it’s dizzying to be caught up in the middle of it.  I had a list of about 14 I wanted to throw on here, but in keeping with the nature of the column I stuck to nine, all released this year before 7/1, and all on Bandcamp, because dammit let’s support artists with dollars, not fractions of pennies (plus it makes the formatting nice).

So here’s a glimpse of where my head is currently at.  We’ll see where these land come end of year, but right now they’re red hot and in constant rotation in my ears.  Onward. Continue reading

The Nine Circles ov…80s Death Metal

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In any form of art, there’s something magical about the “early works,” those seminal points of origin that set the course for wider narrative. It’s like the moment when the archaeologist finds and examines the fossil that ties together the map of disparate species. Or like the literary researcher who finally reaches the shelf with all the old texts, dusts them off and sets to work. Early extreme metal is a lot like this. There’s that turn around 1985 when you hear bands start to pull away from classical heavy metal. The guitar and bass picking patterns change, the vocals begin to lose their pitch, and the double-bass drum steadily becomes more important. Certain records appear and you realize, “wait, this isn’t really thrash anymore is it?” Buckle up and ride with us through The Nine Circles ov…80s Death Metal. Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…Things to Look Forward to in 2019

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#1 New Darkthrone.

#2-9 see #1.

I kid (kind of).  There’s a ton of stuff to look forward to this year, just as there is every year.  But rather than do the usual “Most Anticipated Albums” post I thought for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I’d run down the list of everything I’m looking forward to regarding metal in the Year of Our Dark Metal Overlords 2019.   Some might be albums, some might be experiences or just things I’d like to see happen.

But yeah…really I just want new Darkthrone.  Let’s jump in. Continue reading

Nine* Circles ov…What “Didn’t” Make My 2018 End of Year List (But Could Have)

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* SPOILERS: it’s gonna be 20 albums…buckle your seat belts.

I told myself this year I was going to take it easy – do the Honorable Mentions, get the final list out, and put 2018 to rest.  On a global, national, and personal front the year’s been pretty much a disaster from the start, and the quicker I can put it in my rearview mirror the better.  But the more I tweaked and played with my end of year selections (thank you Trello for making that shit so easy) the more I realized that – like always – music was the thing that propped me up and made every setback if not better, at least tolerable.  And when the dust cleared from all the list building I found a huge excess of albums that didn’t make my lists but easily could have on another day.  Everything is interchangeable; we are not the people we were even a moment ago, and those experiences constantly inform our perspective on the world, metal albums included. Continue reading