Album Review: Dead Empires – “Designed To Disappear”

Dead Empires - Designed to Disappear

If you’ve followed along with New York’s Dead Empires‘ last two albums, a couple of things will be evident when approaching third full length, Designed to Disappear: 1) this band is eccentric and unafraid to experiment, and 2) their instrumental approach worked by engaging and challenging listeners, completely enveloping all thought processes over the course of these albums. With this third effort, the band has added a vocalist and my immediate concern was how this would affect their sound, would it be worse? Better? Meh? Or even worse still, lose its gleam? I was quickly relieved of any fears as this effort IS their best to date. Continue reading

Album Review: Eigenlicht – “Self-Annihilating Consciousness”

Eigenlicht - Self Annihilating Consciousness

What is black metal anymore?  Does the label have any meaning left?  When it comes down to it, the music we celebrate here at Nine Circles is loud, abrasive, and marches to the beat of a rebellious heart.  People get caught up in categorization and labelling, under the impression that pigeonholing something gives them some sort of power over it.  Eigenlicht is having none of that on debut full length Self-Annihiliating Consciousness, a towering monolith of sound that pushes against the constraints of the genre, refusing to bow before something as devoid of meaning as “black metal” even as it uses some of the building blocks of the movement in its nebulous and far-reaching shape.   Continue reading

Album Review: Visigoth – “Conqueror’s Oath”

visigoth - conqueror's oath

It’s hard to escape the tendency to double-down on your sophomore album.  You hit a measure of critical success and use that as a springboard to expand, to up your ambition and simply do more.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes you get Use Your Illusion I and II.  It’s a harder road to critically look at what worked and pare down to the essentials, to trim the fat and unleash a street ready fighting machine.  Visigoth manages the tricky balance of paring an already lean attack to the essentials while simultaneously broadening their scope on the righteous heavy metal punch of Conqueror’s Oath.   Continue reading

Album Review: King Witch – “Under the Mountain”

king witch - under the mountain

A lot of bands lumped in the throwback circuit of 70s nostalgia rock (I’m thinking bands like Witchcraft, Kadavar, and the recently reunited Graveyard) takes their cues from the Marshall stacks and searing solos of the progenitors of the field, but there’s a smaller component often missed.  Listening to Under the Mountain, the debut album from Scottish classic rockers King Witch I discovered they realized that gap as well, and made sure to cover it on a powerhouse collection of tunes I’ve been spinning a lot these past few weeks.   Continue reading