Second Circle: Beyond Creation & The Odious Construct

second circle beyond creation and odious circle

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

It seems I can’t get away from it.  I didn’t mean to do another round of technical death metal, but the last few weeks have just brought out some killer stuff and it’s been scratching that melodic itch I’ve had lately.  Sometimes it works that way: you spend a few months completely immersed in black metal, then it’s scuzzed out stoner rock or some other genre niche for a couple of weeks until your lizard brain responds to something else.  Maybe it’s nü-country, who knows? All I know is I’ve been learning to trust what my ears tell me and when it finds something good, to cling to it until the next thing comes along.  But for right now it’s still the progressive hodge-podge that is technical death metal so for this edition of Second Circle let’s dive back into the syncopation with the latest offerings from Beyond Creation and The Odious Construct.   Continue reading

Album Review: Behemoth – “I Loved You At Your Darkest”

Behemoth - I Loved You At Your Darkest

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then Behemoth must really love 2014’s The Satanist.  And with good reason – you couldn’t write a a better story if you made it up: coming off their best album to date, leader of prominent anti-Christian death metal band gets hit with leukemia, refuses to compromise his beliefs, bounces back and crafts a massive “comeback” album that tweaks the formula and invites just enough to turn another great album into their masterpiece.  Is it any wonder they’d want to mine that vein again?  Unfortunately, I Loved You At Your Darkest feels like imitation, hitting all the touch points the previous album did but without the sincerity to push the album past its limitations.   Continue reading

Second Circle: Horrendous and Revocation

second circle horrendous and revocation

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

I’ve had technical death metal on the brain lately.  Mind you: not “tech-death” as in practically everyone on Unique Leader  (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but more in that sweet, sweet Death vein.  I watched the new documentary on Chuck Schuldiner Death By Metal this weekend and it all came back: the intricate riffing, odd time signatures but most importantly the hooks.  Damn but Chuck and co. could craft some major hooks to go along with the incredible chops.  So for this edition of Second Circle I decided to check out two new releases from bands putting their own spin on what Death did so well so many years ago: Horrendous and Revocation.  Both bands have been a bit of a mixed bag for me in the past; let’s dive in and see if that’s still the case.
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Album Review: Steingrab – “Jahre nach der Pest”

Steingrab - Jahre nach der Pest

Depressive black metal is exactly what it sounds like – dark and dreary tones evoke a highly depressive atmosphere, one that makes you shut the curtains and bask in the tones that strangely comfort when feeling low. However, what surprises me sometimes about black metal and its tones is its inherent tendency to be warm. It’s almost ironic, if you think about it – black metal, whose main characteristic is being cold and bleak, has suddenly turned warm and comforting, it’s as if more and more listeners are finally able to find something they can connect to. This leads me to Steingrab, whose dark atmosphere and warm tonalities on Jahre nach der Pest present an interesting juxtaposition that should be looked into with a fine-toothed comb.   Continue reading