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

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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

Second Circle: Arrayan Path and Almanac

Second 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.

Here at Nine Circles we’re in a bit of caloric overload, our bodies lethargic and hungover from an overabundance of thanks via massive amounts of alcohol and tryptophan.  So you’ll excuse the brevity of the writing for this particular edition of Second Circle.  However, not only do we have a theme all set to go with two recent power metal releases that are the opposite of “suck,” but since both Arrayan Path and Almanac have the good alphabetical fortune to begin with the letter “A” it seemed like pushing fate not to get a post up.  So take a break from your Black Friday insanity (we’re all waiting for Cyber Monday, right?) and check out some majestic metal below.   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…Power Metal That Eased Me Into Liking Power Metal (Again)

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I find it fascinating that power metal still doesn’t get the fair shake it deserves from the metal community.  The same folks who mock and ridicule bands for dressing up like superheroes in their videos or writing about dragons or Lord of the Rings are the same folks who worship bands who revel in dressing up and running around in the forest in wizard hats or, come to think of it, also write about the Lord of the Rings (or at least derive their name from it). Yet, despite these similar touch points in silliness power metal still has a stigma attached to it, one I admit to having for a time as I became engrossed in the more extreme aspects of metal.

What’s the point, besides my linking to that awesomely ridiculous Immortal video?  It’s that there’s plenty to love in power metal, and the claims of cheese and pomp are no more valid than they are in any other genre in the scene.  For this edition of Nine Circles ov… I wanted to take a look at a few of the bands and albums that brought me back into the fold – many of them introduced to me by former 9C scribe and power metal champion Frank.  So think of these as gateway bands: we’re not going full-on Gloryhammer yet (although Gloryhammer is awesome); the emphasis is on heaviness, aggression and, ultimately, power ¹.   Continue reading