Best of 2022: Ian’s Medium Heavy Picks

Best of 2022

So, I had an idea for a new list this year.  Because, obviously, I don’t write enough of them.  It just so happened that a lot of my favorite things I listened to this year didn’t really feel like heavy metal in a technical sense, but they definitely felt like they were on the fringes of it.  They’re definitely not metal albums, but they’re also not non-metal albums, you know what I mean? What’s that? You don’t? Yeah, I uh…I don’t think I know what I mean either but let’s just go with it. Like a nice medium roast coffee, these albums straddle the nice fine line between heavy and not without leaping back and forth from one side to the other, and they happen to also be some of my favorite listens this year.

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Nine Circles ov…Ian’s Mid-Year Favorites

I’ve really been itching to do a mid-year round-up for a while now, but I have a little bit of reservation about it.  Mostly, I don’t really want to spoil anything for the end of the year, because it’s usually around this time that I find the one or two albums that I KNOW are going to top my December list, and this year feels no different.  You gotta wait if you want the goods, but in the meantime, this edition of Nine Circles ov… is a list, in no particular order, of albums that I have been really enjoying this year.  Some are metal, some are non-metal, some may keep their position until the end of the year and some might end up as honorable mentions, but none of them are the absolute top.  Sorry, no spoilers, but these are still fantastic albums well worth the repeated listens I have given them.

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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 234 (6.4.2022)

When this comes out I’ll be 49 fucking years old. One goddamn year away from being half a century old. I haven’t been listening to metal for quite as long, but it’s close, you know? I gave quite a bit of thought about simply punting the playlist picks and just forcing all my favorite music down your throats. But I suppose age begets some kind of patience and humility, and besides…I’ll be doing that to my family all day. So maybe I’ll just sprinkle some aggressive favorites throughout and let you suss out which ones they are in this, the 234th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist.

I’m not going to do the usual gang of idiots round up (that’s a reference to Mad Magazine, the crew here all rule); but I’ll mention that folks seems to be pretty hot on new music from Artificial Brain, Gwar, Amon Amarth, Benighted and Origin. Find that inside plus a ton more music to get your weekend in the proper gear ratio.

Get listening. Stay safe. See you next week.

Chris

Album Review: Astronoid — “Radiant Bloom”

astronomic - radiant bloom

Sometimes it’s all about refinement. You take a thing, you make something of it and the people take a look and say, “yeah, that’s it!” But you know it’s not, and if you can just whittle a little more away from the body you know you’ll see it. You try again, and some folks look and say “Eh, that’s not what I thought it was going to be.” Still others come by and exclaim “yeah, that’s IT!” But you know there’s more to pare away. Astronoid have been at this sonic whittling session since 2012, and on their third full length Radiant Bloom the quartet have further sliced away more of the abrasive, metallic bits. What is left is still recognizable as Astronoid (it really couldn’t be anything else), but honed to a point where I think the band can sit back and marvel at the sonic sculpture they’ve exposed, even if it’s only until a further turn unearths another form the band wishes to explore.

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Initial Descent: May 29 – June 4, 2022

Temple of Void

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.” No need to expound on how real that quote is today. Leaving that to simmer… New metal time and we got another loaded list for your ear holes that kicks off with somewhat of a shift from Temple of Void and no they haven’t gone pop on us, they just built a way better death doom hot rod, Origin pops their head up to remind us that their tech death is still good tech death, Artificial Brain mops the floor up in the avantgarde and wildly experimental death metal chasm, Astronoid gaze it up once again much to the delight of several staffers here, and, of course, many others that will tickle your inner metal kid. Happy hunting and see you here throughout the week.

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