Second Circle: Hammers of Misfortune and Arrayan Path

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.

If there’s a theme to this edition of Second Circle, it’s that I’m so bogged down trying to get my usual massive and way overdone end of year list(s) ready that I can’t find the time to do proper in-depth reviews for both of the albums featured today. Which happens to be the latest from Hammers of Misfortune and Arrayan Path.

So let’s do this.

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Initial Descent: December 4 – 10, 2022

Woods of Desolation

As Santa preps his brood for the impending travels, the new release lists will be shorter and shorter as we near the last week of 2022. Now, that doesn’t mean quality will suffer per se, but we shall see. Moving on, who hasn’t caught the new single from Metallica yet? Good lord go do that now if you haven’t. Alright then, this week we’ve got a hearty mix up top with black metal from Woods of Desolation, death metal from Ploughshare, and power metal from Arryan Path. And, of course, several more in the list that follows. Go check them out and enjoy. See you here throughout the week.

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December 2018 Power Metal Album of the Month: Lovebites – “Clockwork Immortality” & the Top 10 Power Metal Albums of 2018

lovebites pmaotm dec 2018

It’s been a blast covering the vast expanse of styles that power metal has to offer on a monthly basis, but sadly all things must pass.  As I went through each month finding amazing records I kept holding off writing about them until the end of month post, and by doing so there were times I couldn’t give some of the albums their proper turn in the spotlight.  So rather than one post a month where we cover the genre my goal is to integrate power metal more fully into the coverage here at Nine Circles, allowing the bands and albums the proper room to shine on their own.

But before we do that, let’s get December out of the way with the only band to make the Power Metal Album of the Month twice in the same year: Lovebites and their new full length Clockwork ImmortalContinue reading

November 2018 Power Metal Album of the Month: Dire Peril – “The Extraterrestrial Compendium”

PMAOTM november 2018 dire peril - the extraterrestrial compendium

Taking over the reins of this column has been an experience.  As I dove deeper into the ever-evolving mass that is power metal and its many offshoots, I’ve begun to tap back into those things that made me fall in love with metal when I was a kid.  The deeper narratives and mythologies, the technical prowess, all in favor to the all-mighty chorus – these were the things that shielded a troubled awkward kid growing up afraid and uncertain.  And as my life as a 45-year old man takes another sharp turn to the afraid and uncertain I’ve been leaning hard into those things that provided comfort before.  Since getting the promo for The Extraterrestrial Compendium, the debut full length from power metal super-duo Dire Peril, I’ve been struck with just how effective the album is at balancing grace and power, despite the pedigree behind.  For that and so much more it was a no-brainer it would be the November Power Metal Album of the Month.    Continue reading

Keeper of the Flame: Frank’s List of the Best Power Metal of 2017

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Well, 2017 is at an end. You know what that means, don’t ya?

LISTS!!!

I’m gonna keep this intro short and sweet because this is all about the tunes. Since Nine Circles is the mecca of extreme music discussion, I’m going to change things up a bit. My list is strictly Power Metal. As the resident Power Metal guru I want to highlight 20 great albums from this awesome, yet misunderstood sub-genre. If you’re okay with Power Metal, cool! If not…LEAVE THE HALL!!! I now present to you my 20 favorite Power Metal albums of 2017.   Continue reading