In 2020, time became a melting flat circle and the concept of eternal recurrence became far too real, mundane and inescapable. Thankfully the high quality of metal released during the year provided solace, perspective and inspiration that helped endure the blizzard of blurring days, weeks and months. Time lost all structural integrity and meaning also in the sense that you will find full-length albums, EPs and even single-track releases on my list, owing to their excellence, innovation, enjoyability, distinct identity and sound as well the evolutionary leaps the featured bands took. The fact that I could omit from my list so many fantastic releases, from the likes of Afterbirth, Havukruunu, Mare Cognitum & Spectral Lore, Serocs, Sweven, Wake and Wills Dissolve, is simply indicative of the sheer quantity of stellar-grade metal in 2020. The list is long and full of flowery prose elaborating why these particular releases resonated with me, so enough with the prefacing.Continue reading
Another year has flown by. We are all, all of us, closer to death. By roughly one year, depending on how rough a year it was for you. One thing that helped take the stress out of the year, aside from music, was the cover artwork on some of our favorite albums. Beautiful, twisted and sometimes insane, cover art gave us an initial glimpse into the music within as well as something to stare at while attempting to hold back the tears. With that in mind, Corey and I (Manny-O-War) sat down to parse out what some of the most inspirational and beautiful artwork of this year was. We considered not only the beauty, horror or intrigue but also how well the artwork encapsulated the music within. There were other albums that, while they had beautiful artwork, the artwork really didn’t have anything to do with the music. That’s a shame. So here are nine of our favorites. Continue reading
I always appreciate these quarterly recaps that we do here at Nine Circles. With all the new music flying around week after week, month after month, it’s always good to take a minute to reflect on some of the better work we’ve been exposed to. The last few months have delivered a number of memorable albums from bigger names like Lamb of God and Amorphis, but at the same time a number of more obscure bands have forced their way into the periphery of many. My list has a bit of all that, so let’s take a look.
Here we go again: it’s time for “Drinking with Satan.” Let’s review: in this column, I stupidly get myself immersed in several layers of booze and review, to use that term lightly, an upcoming or recently released black metal album. It’s good fun…less so for me than for you. But let’s be real, I’m doing this for you guys anyway. Well, you guys and Satan, that is. I’m a giver, after all.
Anyway, full disclosure, I didn’t want to write this tonight. In fact, I hate all of you for the peer pressure of getting this done for tomorrow’s run. As I start this, it’s 10:30 PM on Thursday night—the night before this is due to run. I was in Boston from 6:00 AM until about 20 minutes ago working…and maybe a drinking little after. Okay, drinking a lot after. (Mostly Harpoon IPA, because I don’t respect myself.) Anyway, It was a long day and I kinda lost the motivation (and the buzz) during the early stages of the trip back. However, like the true champion I am, I rallied. While sitting in bullshit I-95 traffic hating everyone, I took a glimpse at the artwork for the album I’m going to be talking about and all of a sudden my inspiration was reborn. I thought, “Hey, I hate humanity. I’m in a bad mood. This looks evil. Let’s discuss it… with myself… when I get home.”
So here I am. Episode 2 of “Drinking with Satan” (the game YOU always win and I always lose) features Balmog‘s Svmma Fide, while I dabble in the wondrous liquids of Ayinger Bräu Weisse (5.1% ABV), Lagunitas NightTime (8.2%), and Andean Brewing Company’s Kuka Golden Ale (9.2%). Oh. And I’m chasing this all with Johnnie Walker Black Label. Why? Because it tastes like a fucking camp fire and I like fucking camp fires. So leave me alone. Shall we begin? The answer rhymes with “yes.”