Album Review: Kohti Tuhoa – “Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta”

kohti tuhoa - Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta

Happy Thanksgiving.  It’s pretty hard to find things to be thankful for, as I watch the headlines pop up on my phone, my television, even (with diminishing frequency) my newspaper.  It’s a weird solace to take, but what seems to be happening in America right now isn’t exactly unique – Finland’s political climate appears to slowly coming into alignment with the U.S., and like us bands are echoing the anger and frustration in their songs, perhaps none more so than the punk/hardcore outfit Kohti Tuhoa, whose second album Pelon Neljäs Valtakunta is a blistering attack not just on the antics of the right wing establishment, but on the state of metal.   Continue reading

Album Review: Almyrkvi – “Umbra”

almyrkvi umbra

This is a sentiment I repeat over and over, but Iceland is producing some of the best metal the world over right now.  While still a relatively new name in the global game, the artists condensed into the tiny country are pushing the boundaries of what black metal can be in ways that others have only hinted at.  This year alone we have a split from Sinmara and Misthyrming, another standalone EP from Sinmara, and a new Svartidaudi EP keeping the scene in cultural focus, and capitalizing on that momentum is Almyrkvi, who are releasing their debut full-length album Umbra.   Continue reading

Album Review: Desolate Shrine – “Deliverance from the Godless Void”

Desolate Shrine - Deliverance from the Godless Void

When you were a child, chances are that when you went to the beach, you felt the desire for being buried in sand, leaving only your head above the ground to enjoy the sunshine and watch people splash merrily in the water. Somehow, at some point, that innocuous playful urge transformed into a paralyzing fear of being buried alive. On Deliverance from the Godless Void, the hooded pallbearers of Finland’s Desolate Shrine provide a soundtrack for your premature burial and eventual asphyxiation with a monstrous wall of noise that will drown your futile screams and the tortured sound of your nails scratching hopelessly on the interior of the coffin. Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…Some EOY Considerations (You May Have Forgotten About*)

Nine Circles ov end of year header

I get it – we’re all under the crunch here at Nine Circles getting our 2017 lists in order, and the last thing you need is to look at another list of albums you might want to consider before signing off on your own EOY list.  And hey – I’ll be the first to admit that in the interest of full disclosure I don’t think any of these are actually going to make my list…

But that doesn’t mean they don’t warrant some consideration.  So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… please think of this as some of my alternates – maybe they didn’t quite resonate enough with me to make my list, but that doesn’t mean you should leave them off yours!   Continue reading

Album Review: Lady Beast – “Vicious Breed”

lady_beast_vicious_cover

“Throwback metal” feels like a disservice to what bands like Pittsburgh PA’s Lady Beast are doing for the scene.  Keeping the torch burning for melody, galloping guitars and harmonized leads, bass that’s never content to merely double, and rock solid drumming in service to powerhouse vocals is vital to keep the heart and head, shoulder and fist in sync with that most glorious of terms, HEAVY METAL.  And on third album Vicious Breed the band carries the torch high, indeed.   Continue reading