Album Review: Sumac – “What One Becomes”

Sumac - What One Becomes

On second full length What One Becomes, Sumac does more than just offer up the standard sophomore release. What they do is expand on the near psychotic levels of dense aggression present on debut The Deal as well as play more like a unified giant in a way that same album hinted at. Their debut was astounding, no doubting that, but here it’s as if these three tap into the same brainwave. They play off one another extraordinarily well and while it’s only a five track album it is most definitely a long player. With no track shorter than nine minutes the band take full advantage of being able to stretch out completely. Continue reading

Rainbows in the Dark: Mamiffer – “The World Unseen”

“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” Kahlil Gibran

The ever-evolving, constantly collaborating duo of Mamiffer – composed of core members Faith Coloccia and the always-busy Aaron Turner – strike a deep nerve on their newest LP The World Unseen. It’s a blend of piano-driven simplicity, almost poppy, that locks step with Coloccia’s heavily layered, evocative vocals, ambient swells of noise from both the analog and the digital realms, and an emotional arc that, to me at least, is centered on the idea of touching divinity through earthly means as a way to give meaning to the pain of the past. It is all at once a supremely ethereal and heavenly, yet intensely introspective, and it’s not at all afraid of confronting listeners with emotions of grief and longing. Simply, it’s one of the clearest artistic statements I’ve heard so far this year.  Continue reading

Things I’m Thankful for…

Aaron Turner
Aaron Turner

As a brand new writer to Nine Circles, it feels somewhat symbolically significant that my first article here should be one of thanks. I’ve grown up surrounded by music in general and, since my college years, by heavy music specifically. Punk, hardcore, metal… after a childhood spent with classical music, film scores and classic rock, these genres welcomed me with open arms and I never looked back. I’ve been given so much by the art, music and individuals of these communities that I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude. Continue reading

Album Review: Sumac – “The Deal”


As I was reading about metal supergroup Sumac’s new debut album, The Deal, I was thinking: we often reduce what a band sounds like to a mere math problem. There’s one member who’s also in a hardcore band, one who used to be in a sludge band, and one in a doom metal band. And, as press releases often breathlessly claim, the band they’re all in together sounds like a mixture of those styles. Groundbreaking! So what happens when your math problem consists of Aaron Turner (Isis, Old Man Gloom), Brian Cook (Russian Circles, These Arms Are Snakes), and Nick Yacyshyn (Baptists)? Does the proven skill of the combined musicians ensure that the music will be greater than the sum of its parts? Continue reading