I’m baaaaaaaack. Thanks to Josh for covering for me while I was away. I spent a great two weeks back in the icy winter of my home, Chicago, IL. I got to spend the holidays with all my family, catch up with some old friends from high school and college, eat and drink myself into oblivion, and watch my California-Born-and-Raised partner’s face light up when some unexpected snow flurries blew in. It was exactly the kind of recharge I needed after the trash fire that was 2018. I feel ready to get back in the saddle again, and what better way to do that than share all the good stuff I and my cohorts have been jamming over our respective holiday-time adventures? Check below for a list of tunes to whip your year into shape.
Few mystical things this week were as spellbinding as the Science magazine exploration of human sacrifice by the Aztec Empire. New research indicates the scale of ritual murder originally revealed years ago has been drastically undercounted. Here is a video version of the story:
If you are not familiar with the legends of Aztec human sacrifice, the archaeological investigation is the stuff of past and future death and black metal. Aztec priests reportedly cut out victims’ hearts from their chests while they were still alive, then cut off their heads. The skulls were then defleshed and bound to a monumental rack of skulls in the center of the city. Here’s one documentary of what the Aztecs did:
Historians estimated as many as 130,000 skulls were displayed. Three quarters of the skulls analyzed belonged to men, estimated to be between 20 and 35 years old. About 20 percent of the skulls belonged to women and five percent of the skulls were children.
This story reminds you that, for all the panic about the Devil – as occurred this week in Zimbabwe, after protesting parents demanded the killing of the institution’s headmistress, who they accused of practicing Satanism – little rivals what humans may be capable of doing.
The Antichrist Imperium, best known for its bond to Akercocke (the band features current members Sam Loynes and David Grey and former Akercocke guitarist Matt Wilcock) have today issued the new album, Volume II: Every Tongue Shall Praise Satan. “The Dreadful Hosanna” was a preview track released in May:
Also this week, Portuguese duo Satan My Master issued its cassette release The King Of Hell Arrives. Think gritty first-wave revival revulsion. “Tormenting the Nazarene Swine” is among those faith-filled hymns to enjoy.
Us writer types always say the current year was an amazing year for metal. And I’m saying it here, 2017 was a killer year for metal. Just when you thought death metal would reign supreme black metal would come through to take over and then charred hardcore would take its place only to have doom metal rear its head. This was a year I thought I nailed and this list would be easy come year’s end. But, no dice on that whatsoever as there were even more favorites than last year. I set out to keep the typical nine full lengths and nine eps but had to scrap that when I failed to make extreme cuts because the quality was too high. Music has and always will be extremely personal to me and I’ve always loved best of list season as it gives me a chance to catch up on what I’ve missed. You’ll find a few albums here that I covered at length earlier in the year as well as others I didn’t get a chance to. But my final picks lived and died on the impact made on me, whether deeply personal or just a ton of fun that I couldn’t stop listening to. Just like I have for as long as I’ve been reading these best of lists, I truly hope you find something here that hits home with you or something you missed that you wish you hadn’t. Music, metal in particular, keeps me going and offers me a place to hunker down and just be me, to shut out the world in general and enjoy listening to artists that keep me entertained and allows me those fleeting moments of peace. Thank you all, you got me through another year and I’m eternally grateful. Let’s get to it shall we… Continue reading
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
2017 turned out to be a strange year for me musically. In my first full year writing for Nine Circles I had the opportunity to explore different genres and bands I never would have discovered on my own, and taking in so much music (even when I didn’t want to, in all honesty) not only broadened my horizons and (hopefully) improved my critical thinking on music, but also helped me to understand better what it was I needed from music.
Next week I’ll be unveiling my personal Top 25 albums for 2017, along with a second post of 15 honorable mentions. But there was so much that impacted me, and so for this final 2017 edition of Nine Circles ov… I wanted to give out a few of my own personal awards to some bands and albums that left their marks on me. So without further ado, let’s dive in… Continue reading