I always have a tough time with these introduction things when it comes to End of Year lists. The temptation is to sum up the year with some anecdotes about what it meant to me and how the music I loved played into it. Yet what could I say about a year that was such a mixed bag for me? On a personal note, my mental health took an all-out nosedive last year that I’m still trying to claw my way out of, yet my partner and I got engaged and are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together (not that we weren’t already, but you get the point). The weight of the worst depression and anxiety I’ve ever faced affected my ability to connect to a lot of the music I heard last year, yet I started a column on here that lead me back to a genre of music I had not seriously kept up with for some time, and in doing so I found a little piece of myself again. Years are years are years, and life is cyclical and spiralic in nature. I won’t pretend there weren’t good things to come out of last year, just as I won’t pretend there won’t be hard times in the year ahead. But I will always have a carefully curated soundtrack to help me along the way, and below represents what helped me get through 2019. Continue reading
Fourth verse, same as the first? Or second, or third for that matter?
This is my fourth End of Year List for Nine Circles, and the more the music changes, the more the sentiment stays the same. With each new dance partner our hands clasp; our eyes lock and I see and hear and ask the same thing: What does this do for me? What does it mean? Why this, and not something else?
I tried to spend this year answering those questions, particularly the last one. In a year where I finally acknowledged that – while still important and cherished – metal was no longer the driving musical force in my life, I wanted to understand why the metal that I was drawn to impacted me. What was it about the way this riff, or that vocal line, or that lyric touched me in a way maybe some other song, track, or album didn’t? Continue reading
Every year I come up with a list of albums, and every year I have trouble trying to firmly rank them. Also, doesn’t everyone just scroll to the end to see what the best album is? I know I do. So here’s my list where the first entries are the best, and it gets decidedly fuzzier after that. But one thing is certain, every album on this list is one of the best albums of the year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
(ed: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or just happy Wednesday, whatever. Consider this a break from the family deal where there’s too many bags of torn gift wrap and cousin Eddie is playing banjo on your last nerve. Enjoy Charles’ picks and check all these out seeing as you’ve got all those gift cards and/or extra cash burning a hole in that pocket.)
Did you listen to the June Album of the Month podcast episode? Did you do the homework? Did you think we would leave you hanging? Fear not, for below you will find a quick list (with links to boot!) of all the albums mentioned by the Nine Circles crew as early 2019 favorites. Dive in, take a listen, and let us know what else is killing you so far this year.
*Note: Abbath isn’t actually in this list. That is an oversight, because I’ve been loving Outstrider. But any chance to post a picture of Abbath can’t be passed up, so… Continue reading
Welcome back to another edition of Embracing the Descent. Miss us? Rhetorical question of course. It has been a minute so as a refresher or if it’s your first visit, we briefly discuss a handful of this week’s new releases that stood out for whatever reason and maybe, from time to time, a week behind. We won’t be hitting everything because a 40 – 60 entry piece ain’t happening and seriously, who’s got that kind of time. Head below to see what’s got our knickers in a bunch and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent. Continue reading