Album Review: Ruadh — “The Rock of the Clyde”

I’ve gone on record before about how I like death metal, both in print and on the Audio Thing™, and I will, until the end of time, stand by my assertion that death metal is best when it beats you senseless about the face and head.  Black metal to me is a different story.  I think black metal is best when it is at its most elegant and refined.  I like black metal that uses old-school influences to inform and build on contemporary pieces to elevate the whole affair to a new level.  It’s why I like bands like Saor, Panopticon, Deafheaven, Aara and Falls of Rauros so much.  Enter Ruadh and their sophomore release The Rock of the Clyde, which emphasizes the old school in both black metal and cultural influence, while still retaining a sophisticated sound. Continue reading

Prog Gnosis: A Self-Interrogation

Prog Gnosis

If you are at all familiar with our Nine Circles Audio Thing podcast, you’re most likely acquainted with (and probably tired of) my constant refrain of, “I just don’t like prog, dude.” We’ve been covering a lot of progressive stuff on our recent Album of the Month episodes, between February’s Intronaut and our recent Katatonia episodes, so I’ve had a lot of reason to make my feelings on the subject known. But, if you look at any of my year end lists, you can see quite a number of albums on there that are, without question, prog metal albums of some degree or another. Most famously, last year’s Waste of Space Orchestra album won my heart despite being very prog heavy, and breaking my “I don’t like albums longer than an hour” code as well. So when it comes down to it…do I actually not like prog? And if I do like it, why do I spend so much time maligning it? These questions gave me a lot of thought, and with nothing better to do during a quarantine than pick apart my own psyche, I decided to at least be scientific about the process and write it all down. What’s to follow is something of a primer about what makes an album ‘Prog That I Like’ versus ‘Prog That I Don’t Like’ and is inspired by four albums, of this ilk, I’ve listened to lately. Continue reading

Album Review: Ashtar — “Kaikuja”

Creatively captivating black/doom duo hailing from Basel, Switzerland, Ashtar, has returned after five years with their sophomore album Kaikuja.  The band has been in the studio since the summer of 2019 developing their sound and creating this darkly impressive work of art.  The rich and idiosyncratic tracks of this album are layered with intricacies giving each listen new discoveries and appreciation. Continue reading

Album Review: Paradise Lost — “Obsidian”

Paradise Lost - Obsidian

Paradise Lost are one of those bands where everyone has their favorite album, and they’re all different from person to person.  Whether it’s Draconian Times or Host or their eponymous debut, The Plague Within, One Second, whatever, it’s hard to argue that there isn’t something to enjoy in the vast scope of their catalogue.  Personally, when I first heard 2018’s Medusa, I was sure that they could not get better than the ultra-heavy kick-in-the-face that album was.  I was wrong.  Obsidian is more than just a follow-up to Medusa.  It’s everything that was good about Medusa turned up to 11. Continue reading

VIDEO Retrocution: DEADLIFE — “City of Eternal Rain”

Retrocution is back! And in video format! This time, we’re taking a look at DEADLIFE‘s new album, City of Eternal Rain.

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