Album Review: Wode – “Servants of the Countercosmos”

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Seems like it was just over a year ago our editor was extolling the virtues of Wode and their cold take on the classic black metal sound on their debut LP.  I listened to it all spring and into the summer, and its precision and adherence to a strict code of freezing precision and brutality left enough of an impression that it made my end of year list for 2016.  Now the formula that worked so well is tweaked ever so slightly, that cold warmed by the dark earth of the grave with their second album, Servants of the Countercosmos.   Continue reading

Album Review: Jordablod – “Upon My Cremation Pyre”

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It’s always an interesting experience when what you think an album will sound like and what it actually sounds like end up being vastly different.  When I took the promo for Jordablod‘s debut album, Upon My Cremation PyreI thought based on the logo, promo pictures, and label associated with them, I had this band pegged for that ugly blackened death metal that is commonplace now.  Not that I would have minded if that were true, but I think the fact that Upon My Cremation Pyre was almost the opposite of what I was expecting contributed a lot to why I love this album as much as I do.  The sense of having the rug pulled out from under me made me appreciate all the unique touches the band puts here even more. Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…”Obscure” Metal Records We Didn’t Review in 2017 (Until Now)

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We here at Nine Circles endeavor to bring to you, our devoted readers, as much razor sharp insight and commentary into the hidden pockets, nooks, and crevices the extreme metal world can offer.  We have burrowed into the underground scenes of Singapore and the Philippines, profiled some of the best and darkest metal labels around, and even reviewed a record or two.

But even our exacting eye and archeological know-how can’t dig up every release that comes out in a year.  Sometimes things get lost in the panoply of splits, reissues, cassette only demos and 800g quadruple sided splattered with the tears of an angel vinyl exclusive.  Who knows how these obscure nuggets missed our Sauron gaze? Lack of marketing funds? Little social media presence?  It doesn’t matter, for in today’s edition of Nine Circles ov… I attempt to shed some light on these obscure, little known bands…

…Lord knows they could use the exposure.   Continue reading

Second Circle: Mountains Crave and Device

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In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

Here’s the way it usually works.  Our illustrious editor gets in dozens and dozens of promos each week that he puts up on a Google doc for the writers, who converge like a pack of wild dogs,  starving and scrabbling to get a cut of the juiciest meat.  That’s how it usually works, but every so often you just come across something else, whether it’s an obscure band you found in you Bandcamp collection one day because of a label subscription with an AMAZING cover or a surprise drop from a band saying goodbye.  In this edition of Second Circle we’re stepping away from the promo box to alert you, however briefly, to the wonders of Mountains Crave and Device.  So let’s find those comfortable pants you wear when no one’s watching and dig in… Continue reading

The Nine Circles Audio Thing: Frank S. Talks Some Power Metal!

Yyyyyep! That’s what we’re calling this thing now! What we’ve got for you today isn’t really a podcast, because it’s not part of an RSS feed, and thus not automatically delivered to your podcasting apps. It’s kind of an interview / review in one, I guess? Yes. But nobody wants to call it that, so hence, you’re getting The Nine Circles Audio Thing and dammit, you’re gonna like it.

No, really, you are; we’ve got an awesome chat with power metal guru and Nine Circles contributor Frank Santorelli! Frank took a break from his busy schedule — the dude’s prepping for a move to Italy!! — to discuss two recent power metal albums that crossed his earholes: Aldaria‘s Land of Light and Astral Doors‘ Black Eyed Children. Call it an “Ask the Expert” discussion, if you will? Or don’t; I don’t really care. But check it out either way! Continue reading