Nine Circles ov…Recent Albums I Only Have Time to Review in One Sentence

9C inbox

Sometimes you hit that point in your inbox where you just want to take the poor thing outside and put it out of its misery.  The glut of things unassigned, unread or untouched is a sight to behold.  We tread in fear of accidentally clicking on a link and having the whole thing fall in on our heads, Romanian hardcode tolling against the latest skate punk out of California busting heads with Australian progressive black metal and whatever the hell that weird buzzing sound is coming out of Europe.

It is, as they say in the parlance of the time, swole.

So for this edition of Nine Circles ov…. I thought I’d try to run through a few recent releases and give them a little space here on the site, and also ease the burgeoning hemorrhage our inbox is suffering.  But time is short, and I can already see the next wave of promos coming in, so we’re gonna make this quick and relegate each release to a single sentence.  Ready? Set? Go!   Continue reading

The Nine Circles ov…How I Became a Synthwave Fan

synthwave

After what feels like an eternity in the “development” stage — damn you, nursing school! — we’ve finally gotten our Retrocution column going here at Nine Circles. And damn, does that feel killer. I’ve gotten to a point in my music listenerdom where I’m listening to as much of this stuff as I do metal, if not more — and my attempt to build out this column certainly isn’t going to change that trend.

But, one thing said attempt has done is, it’s gotten me to look back at exactly how I got into this stuff. For a long time, I couldn’t — or never really tried to — pinpoint that. If asked why / how I got into the genre, I’d give a generic answer about “the aesthetics” or something, and just shift the topic to the genre’s latest offerings. And to be fair, “the aesthetics” are certainly part of the equation — but the music is the truly important part, and I’d never given any real thought to my foundations on that side.

So, let’s change that, shall we? Without further ado, I present The Nine Circles ov How I Became a Synthwave Fan. Continue reading

The Nine Circles ov…Every Time I Die

One of my earliest and fondest concert memories is that of crowd surfing to Every Time I Die playing “Ebolarama” at Ozzfest 2004. I’d heard the song before on a mix my buddy made for me of a bunch of metalcore bands breaking at the time. This weird song that blended unorthodox singing and song structure with crushing guitars was a standout for me, and I was ecstatic to hear it live (and to find out who played it, my friend didn’t give me a track list). So there I went, flying atop the sea of Che-hats, gauged-ears, sideways haircuts and black sweatbands — a millennial metal moment if there ever was one. So for this Nine Circles ov…, let’s burn this mother down and go through nine of the boys’ best tracks… Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…”Fixing” The Metal Hammer 40 Best Black Metal Albums…Ever?

fixing black metal

* 8/29 mea culpa: After some robust discussion online I’ve added a new paragraph addressing in part the thorny issue of including “problematic bands” in a list such as this.  Providing proper context is always important, and I failed to do that.  The fault is mine, and I hope the added commentary helps clarify the choices made.

Ah, social media…where would we complain and spit our vitriol over “Best Of” lists if we didn’t have you? Last week’s ire in a buttercup came from Metal Hammer‘s list of “The 40 Best Black Metal Albums Ever” — a post that at its heart really just outlined 40 really good to great albums influential to the genre over the course of three decades. Compiled and with commentary by Dayal Patterson, a man that knows a thing or two about black metal, the article (I’m guessing titled by parent company Louder/Future Pic to generate more clicks — successfully) instead served as fodder for other sites to call out and complain over as well as get the always sensible metal community to froth at the mouth over what was and wasn’t on a list that in all reality serves as a pretty nice introduction to the early evolution of a now expansive and diverse genre.

Well, for this edition of Nine Circles ov…. we show that we’re not above our own cheap commentary, even if it’s at our own expense…   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…Red Lead Media & PR

red lead media

“But hey,” you ask.  “Where do all those promos come from?”

They come from PR groups, my friends.  Many, many PR groups.  Inboxes get stuffed to the gills with pleas for some kind of coverage, whether its a review, interview, profile, track premiere…and as the release date for an album gets closer and the reminders come in, it can get even more overwhelming.  But with so much music out there, having a good PR person in your corner can make the difference between selling your album to six of your friends and family, and getting exposure (any exposure) to an audience that can pick up and carry your work forward.  I’d say PR groups are a necessary evil, except my experience as both a writer and a musician has found, for the most part, these dogged flag wavers to be anything but evil.

And so I thought for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I’d highlight the music that’s come to my attention via Jadd and the folks from Red Lead Media & PR.  Focusing on punk and hard rock in a variety of styles (not to mention being the in-house PR division for Magnetic Eye Records) there’s a healthy variety of music below so keep cool and dig in.  Who knows, maybe something will take your fancy…. Continue reading