Best of 2020: Josh’s List

Best of 2020

I could wax for paragraphs on how 2020 leapt into the toilet in March and continues to swirl, deeper in, teetering just on the edge of complete obliteration, but that would be news to no one. In a year when bands could’ve easily went into hiatus based on no way to tour or support themselves—and honestly no one would’ve blamed them—we are damn lucky to have any music at all much less any best of lists. Thankfully the bands turned it up, tuned low, and cranked it out anyway, despite the thought of any sort of monetary return. In short, metal freakin’ ruled this year and kept me sane while the world crumbled and hope was fleeting at best. My music collection grew like my headphone time at dangerous volume levels (according to my apple stats) and I loved the fact that bands sounded angrier and louder, experimented more, stretched thin genre lines to the limit, and generally laid their balls on the chopping block in a way we haven’t heard in a long time. That chopping block bit was one of ten rules I made for my 2020 list back in January and all the artists that made my list did just that in one way or another but my picks this year were also about the albums that really stuck with me for either the long haul or made a fast impression. So, keep reading and maybe one, or more, of these will hit you the way it hit me.

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Album Review: Abrams — “Modern Ways”

Abrams - Modern Ways

For Denver’s Abrams‘ 2017 release, Morning, I spent some time on their past and how it tied to that specific release and how with Morning the band seemed to have found its true self, all of which you can read here for context. Plus, it made my best of list for 2017. Now, with Modern Ways, their third full length, that “true self” is being fleshed out even further taking cues from Morning and expanding on its best parts to create a heavy rock album chock full of soaring melodies, hooks for days, and a slight pop sensibility just to keep the good times flowing. As high as I was, and still am, on Morning, Modern Ways is better. All my trepidation regarding whether they’d stay the course, whether this effort would top the last, and whether or not this would be a defining moment disintegrated upon my initial spin and each subsequent spin leaves my jaw on the floor. Continue reading

Initial Descent: April 26 – May 2, 2020

Abrams
Abrams – photo courtesy of Mike Goodwin

Uncharted times, folks. Who knows what the right answer to any of this is or will be but I do know there’s a whole list of new metal to uncover so let’s do it. For those of you that like some rock to go with your metal, Abrams returns with their third full length and it’s heavy on the good time jams perfect for whatever you’re doing. Symphonic extreme metal gets a HUGE shot in the arm with Foretoken‘s debut, Pyre roll the death metal dice and come up with doubles, and Black Pestilence fire a shot of blackened punk amongst the masses. So, four really good albums up top and a slew of more down below. Enjoy it! Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 121 (3.21.2020)

playlist - mixtape

Welcome to another Saturday morning playlist. I sincerely hope that if you are a long time reader of this column that this gives you a sense of normalcy in these chaotic times. On deck this week, we have a plethora of brand new singles, from the ever fascinating Oranssi Pazuzu, to a brand new Katatonia track (because we’ve all been looking forward to that one around these parts), to the surprise new Oathbreaker single via its remix by Justin Broadrick’s Jesu. Tune in and treat yourself at the link below.

– Vincent

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 22 (12.18.2017)

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Everyone, slow down a bit and enjoy the season and yourselves. I say this because in a matter of a couple days, rounding up some groceries and random crap we needed, I saw at least ten people nearly kill each other either over a parking space or a shopping buggy — it was like watching MMA but for free. Come on guys, dig deep and find that inner peace. Or not and continue on as you were. Either way, seems like the best thing to do in the midst of all this craziness is barricade ourselves in with some tunes we all jammed on last week. Subscribe to our YouTube channel then head inside and let the barricading begin. Continue reading