Missed Connections: Looking Back on 2021

Best of 2021

Oh hey, you thought lists were all done?  Nope, I’ve got one more in the tank and some more albums to talk about.  I wrote one of these lists last year, amid a flurry of excitement and trepidation that I had missed something truly great, which is kind of a silly thing to worry about now that I think about it.  Of course I did then, and of course I do now.  There just isn’t enough time in the world for me to take every great album in, even in the span of a whole year.  And, not least of all, new bands and new albums are always being thrown my way thanks to the good folks we have on staff.  So, here I sit with some leftovers of 2021, albums that for whatever reason didn’t jump out at me right away but have since found their way into my heart.  Don’t consider these throwaways; they stack up to anything on anyone else’s list, and in fact, many of them WERE on other peoples’ list and that’s what brought them to my attention.  Just consider it a nice bonus present, post-holidays.

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Best of 2021: Buke and David Stepanavicius of Atræ Bilis share their favorites and more!

Best of 2021

David Stepanavicius of Atræ Bilis is no stranger to the podcast as he and Buke discussed Apexapien at length back in November and it was such an electric discussion that Buke reached back out to have David on again to discuss all things Best of 2021. The two catch up a bit since last time then launch into their biggest disappointments of 2021, their Honorable Mentions, and their collective Top 10. They also discuss Best of lists in general and how an artist / band views list season, how music usually finds David and how much labels play a part in it, whether Chris Barnes or memes are better, upcoming things for Atræ Bilis, and so much more. You’ll definitely want to keep a pen and paper handy as they cover a ton of great albums, forty in total. No surprise here at all, this is an excellent discussion! 

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Best of 2021: Josh’s List

Best of 2021

One more year and one more list. AND, I’m in pole position for main lists. How is that possible? Right, who cares… Anywho, 2021 was yet another dumpster fire globally, but personally it’s been a good year, for the most part. The road we’re on with supply chains and inflation has to hit a ceiling soon or dumpster fire won’t even begin to brand what we’ll be facing in 2022. But, before I get too far down the road we’re all too familiar with, ENOUGH of that shit. I’ve had it up to my ass with all of it. Metal, again, had a great year. Some genres fared better than others, as you’ll see in the list below, but overall it was a very good year, as Sinatra once said. All the anger and hatred and frustration pushed artists to a level of creativity, and for some a level of vitriol, we haven’t seen in a long time and I don’t expect that trend to change anytime soon. So, on that point, score.

List season. We all love them for one reason or another and love bitchin’ about them. It’s human nature. With that said, here’s all the albums that meant the most to me throughout 2021 and as usual, I’m in the top nine and nine honorable mentions format because, branding. Jump in and enjoy what made me tick this year.

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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 207 (11.27.2021)

playlist - mixtape

I have awakened from the deep slumber that can only come from a combination of massive post-Thanksgiving tryptophan dosing and an ill-timed COVID booster to bring you, the discerning public the 207th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist. And it comes on the birthday of the greatest guitarist to ever light his guitar on fire, so of course we have to open with some classic Hendrix.

Once you’ve picked yourself up after that blistering performance of “Killing Floor” we of course have some more the more extreme music for your ripe and eager ears. Prepare to have your mind expanded when you come to the realization that Troy Sanders should sing ALL the songs when Two Minutes to Late Night cover Metallica’s “Blackened.” Then Josh brings the heavy with cuts from Atræ Bilis with whom we just released a killer interview with, Diablation, and Hate. Vincent finally listens to Marriages featuring Emma Ruth Rundle after being reminded of their greatness on our latest AOTM podcast, and sprinkles in some vicious Yellow Eyes and Sun of the Sleepless as well. Anton has gone deep with Transcending Obscurity Records, laying his soul bare to the attack of both The Last of Lucy and Dischordia. Finally I wrap things up with some of the metal I’ve had on repeat lately, including the latest from post-metal crew Daxma, the newest single from supergroup Lock-Up now featuring both Tomas Lindberg and Kevin Sharp on vocals, and the classic trad metal of Tower.

I can’t believe next week is December. End of Year lists edge ever closer. See you next time, hopefully more awake than I am now!

Chris

Atræ Bilis’ David Stepanavicius on new album “Apexapien,” deep dive into extreme metal, preferred way of listening to music, desert island albums, and much more!

David Stepanavicius - Atræ Bilis
Image courtesy of David Stepanavicius

Vancouver’s Atræ Bilis made quite the splash with last year’s EP Divinihility and nearly overnight made them a household name in any house that heralds death metal. A quick year later here we are with their debut full length Apexapien and they prove the success of that EP was no joke. From start to finish, this album is an absolute beast with teeth big enough to tear the planet in two. It hits hard as a ton of bricks but is amazingly smart in its construction. Not clinging to any one leg of death metal it blazes its own path forward with Albert Einstein level riffs and chest crushing blows around every corner.  It goes without saying, this album is a favorite for us here at Nine Circles and for good reason. With that said, jump in for an excellent chat with David Stepanavicius via The Nine Circles Audio Thing.

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