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

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

Album Review: Somnium Nox – “Terra Inanis”

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Chances are if your album cover has budding skull flowers and a skeleton bird overlooking an ominous moon, you have some level of black metal going on.  For Australian band Somnium Nox, you have a whole lot of black metal going on in the form of their debut LP Terra Inanis.  Enveloping their atmospheric black metal in a wash of darkness and buried menace the band and album provide a spectral, haunting soundscape that reinforces Australia as a country to be reckoned with when it comes to extreme metal.   Continue reading

Album Review: John Frum – “A Stirring in the Noos”

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The death metal collective known as John Frum are described in their promo as “the patron saints of altered states” and based on the juggernaut that is debut A Stirring of the Noos (and oh how my auto-correct loves that title) I’m inclined to agree.  This is progressive death metal that doesn’t sacrifice mood for technical wankery, instead using the prowess of its band members to spin a dark psychedelic web of brutality that pulls the listener into its layers rather than keep them at arm’s length with clinical detachment.   Continue reading