Album Review: Planeswalker — “Tales of Magic”

You know, I kind of can’t believe it’s taken until the year of our lord 2022 for someone to put power metal together with Magic: The Gathering on a big stage.  On paper, it seems like an obvious match made in heaven, especially considering that the immense amount of careful worldbuilding Wizards of the Coast has been doing with the most recent sets lends itself quite well to soaring vocals and bombastic guitars.  Maybe they aren’t the first, but Planeswalker are attempting to ramp up to bigger and better proportions on their debut Tales of Magic, summoning sickness be damned.

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Album Review: SOM — “The Shape of Everything”

SOM - The Shape of Everything

There’s something alluring and poignant about post-metal, especially when it’s brought down to the most minimalistic aspect of sound. While post-metal can be expansive, something about using soundscapes that would be more in line with a Devin Townsend Project album but making them shoegaze-y is something that I didn’t expect. After all, in the short time I’ve known about them, Pelagic Records tends to release music that is heavier and sludgier than what SOM offers on The Shape of Everything. However, this goes to show that music cannot be heavy all the time. Such is the beauty of The Shape of Everything, an album that makes me think about the abstraction and placement of space and “Stormbending.”

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Album Review: Mizmor — “Wit’s End”

mizmor wit's end

From its early days as an anonymous project beloved by diehards of the underground to its current status as a festival draw, the rise of Mizmor has been a sight to behold. I remember discovering this band through word of mouth years ago and wondering why I wasn’t seeing more people talk about them. Now that mastermind ALN has signed with Gilead Media and is playing fests like Migration and Roadburn…I still find myself asking why I’m not seeing more people talk about Mizmor, particularly within the last few years. The band’s music has always been good, but after Cairn and his expansion into ambient territory alongside live member Andrew Black on Dialetheia, Mizmor appears to be going through something of a renaissance, and new (ish) EP Wit’s End is the next step in that evolution.

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Missed Connections: Looking Back on 2021

Best of 2021

Oh hey, you thought lists were all done?  Nope, I’ve got one more in the tank and some more albums to talk about.  I wrote one of these lists last year, amid a flurry of excitement and trepidation that I had missed something truly great, which is kind of a silly thing to worry about now that I think about it.  Of course I did then, and of course I do now.  There just isn’t enough time in the world for me to take every great album in, even in the span of a whole year.  And, not least of all, new bands and new albums are always being thrown my way thanks to the good folks we have on staff.  So, here I sit with some leftovers of 2021, albums that for whatever reason didn’t jump out at me right away but have since found their way into my heart.  Don’t consider these throwaways; they stack up to anything on anyone else’s list, and in fact, many of them WERE on other peoples’ list and that’s what brought them to my attention.  Just consider it a nice bonus present, post-holidays.

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Best of 2021: Angela’s List

Best of 2021

2021 was…. a bit much.  We will take each day at a time cautiously in 2022 and try not to spook it.  While 2021 brought a hefty amount of unpredictability and chaos, some wonderful things were forged in the turmoil.  This was a really great year for music, and I have many albums that I want to shout about from the rooftop, but I am keeping it concise and calling out my Nine Circles nine (we love a good theme).  Once again, I am one of the last of the bunch of wonderful writers here to post my year end list as my indecisiveness and overthinking ruined the party again.  However, I did participate in the group list (though my albums have shifted a bit…) and also the Best of 2021 Audio Thing (which was a blast).

Here are my top nine personal favorites as well as a list of honorable mentions and non-metal albums that brought me some joy this past year.

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