You want more? You got more. Not that I exactly want to look back on 2020, but there was so much killer music this past year that I decided to take a page out of Chris’ book and talk about the ones that got away from me, regardless of how great they might be. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail about why these albums didn’t make the cut the first time around. It’s the same story for each one, a story about time and energy and brainpower. This year was draining, both from being alive in the world and from having quite a bit to keep up with in the way of reviews and podcasts for a certain illustrious publication, and while I am proud of the list I put out and I’m not going to go back and amend it, I do think there needs to be more room for discussing what I feel like I missed out on. Albums that, for whatever reason, needed more than the time I had for me to fully realize them in my mind’s eye, but now I can unquestionably say they belong among the great ones that we got in the last calendar year.Continue reading
Best of 2020: Josh’s List
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.Continue reading
All In: Nine Circles ov 2020 — The Staff’s Combined List
Greetings everyone, and welcome to Best of 2020 season! I know we are all anxiously awaiting another calendar turn, but before we start dealing with Decaying Society: Episode 2021, we have some highlights from the metal world to discuss. And let’s face it, despite the absurdity of 2020 in every sense of the term, there were still plenty of monster releases that graced our ears in the last 12 months. Before we roll into our individual lists, we’re kicking the season off with our combined staff list. First a reminder of how this all works…
Like last year, each member of the Nine Circles staff (well, most of them), chose their nine favorite albums (inclusive of EPs), listed in order, and up to nine honorable mentions. Obviously, branding counts. A scoring system was applied to the rankings. For example, one person’s first place album received 10 points, the second received 9, so on and so forth… and all honorable mentions received 1 point. Then, combining the scores between everyone’s lists, we have ourselves a Nine Circles ov 2020, brought to you by, well, everyone.
One change to it this year, however, is that we’ve also crowned a label of the year, using the same scoring process as above. Clearly the highest honor in the industry. Who claimed this title for 2020? You’ll have to wait until the very end.
Anyway, that’s all simple enough, right? Right. Enough reading, let’s get into it…Continue reading
Initial Descent: December 13 – 19, 2020
I know; lists, right? We’re in that season and you’ve probably read a ton and will read a ton more but this list is new stuff and if you’ll remember, last week I said the hits just continue to roll in. Now, I prove it with more of those new hits. Black metallers Akhlys are back to wreck the sleep/dream continuum as only they can, Wombbath and Pillory keep death metal brutal and nasty, and Grayceon offer something vastly different in the form of prog rock but as the album cover eludes, it’s got way more depth than just prog and rock. Yep, hits. And lots of them. Roll through all the goods below and go support as many as you can. You can also gift them to your friends and enemies since we’re in that season too, just a thought.Continue reading
The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 157 (11.28.2020)
How many of you are still in food coma mode? It happens. For me it was turkey day with tons of food then yesterday was some amazing BBQ at a small place up in the mountains about an hour away. And that’s the thing; during these insanely off the wall times, it’s the small things that can make all the difference for your sanity even if it does lead to a small food coma, or two. Anyway, it’s Saturday and time for another 9C mixtape of what we’ve been blasting ’round the back office. Me, Chris and Corey had a laaaate night Thanksgiving eve discussing Katatonia so obviously I’m leading off with a cut from Dead Air, then Vince has some Spirit Adrift and Inexorum, Ian gives us a great Wayfarer cut, Chris lays out a Raspberry Bulbs track, Zyklonius offers up some Drouth, and I double down with a new Akhlys track. All that and so much more awaits, hit the play button below and enjoy.