Nine Circles ov…2017: A Mid-Year Report

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Do we even do mid year lists around here?  I debated with myself (eeewww) for hours about doing one, but having just run the tally of albums I checked out this year I realized 1) now was as good a time as any to sit down and stock of what stuck in my ears so far in 2017 and 2) I needed a topic for the next Nine Circles ov… anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone and highlight some of the great releases from the first half of the year?

And let’s be clear: there’s a lot to check out.  I have 251 albums sitting in my 2017 folder right now and I’ll be the first to admit there’s no way in Hell I devoted the attention some of these releases deserved, which is probably why mid year lists change so much by the time the end of the year rolls around.  What didn’t stick now may stick later, the chemical makeup in your brain undergoes a subtle shift and HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME…you get the picture.  So consider this a snapshot: if the quality of these nine releases are anything to go by, metal is having another great year – so great I have an album on here you all will cry our isn’t even remotely metal – and will only get get better as the year moves along.  Let’s do this.

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Album Review: Unleash The Archers – “Apex”

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Since 2014 power metal has been making a furious comeback. Sure, bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian and HammerFall have been releasing solid records, but this revival has truly been initiated thanks to many new — or newish — bands creating and sharing their art. It’s generally an old-school sound with more modern metal ingredients added. One of the leaders of this resurgence are power metallers Unleash The Archers. The Vancouver-based quintet made waves with their 2015 offering Time Stands Still and have opened the eyes of the metal world with the combination of majestic lyrics, an epic yet massive sound and a steady dose of beautiful yet punishing vocals. With their new album Apex they “unleash” one of the best metal albums in recent memory. Simply put: Apex is absolutely spectacular! Continue reading