Best of 2016: Dan’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

So yeah, this year sure sucked in a lot of ways, didn’t it?

On a personal level…where to begin? My family said goodbye to our beloved dog, Bailey. I had a rough breakup at the end of April. I got into a deeper rut in my professional life than I’d ever experienced before, which culminated in me quitting my job and leaving New York. I also, briefly, quit Nine Circles. (You didn’t think I’d stay away for good though, did you?)

And that’s just my stuff! Beyond that…well, for starters, pretty much everyone died. Prince, Alan Rickman, Phife Dawg, Craig Sager…I mean, you kind of had to know 2016 was going to be shitty on that front after we lost David goddamn Bowie when the year was scarcely a week old. And that’s all to say nothing of the other shit: escalation of racial tensions across the country, continued apathy toward a changing climate, Christmas Eve / Day and New Year’s Eve / Day both falling on Saturdays and Sundays…it was a lot, man. Oh, and we also elected the personification of an Internet comment section to the presidency. That was neat.

In spite of all that, 2016 wound up being a goddamn banner year for metal. When I first started thinking about this list, I was envisioning maybe a Top 15 – but that quickly grew to a Top 25, and then to its current incarnation: a Top 50, with 20 “ranked” albums and 30 honorable mentions, not to mention EPs. It was just impossible to whittle it down any further; that’s how good metal was this year. Hell, I had a number of albums that featured in my mid-year list that didn’t even make it into the honorable mentions section of this one!

Make no mistake, this year would have felt exponentially shittier without all of those records. In times like these, cueing up a metal record that’s driving you bonkers, throwing your head back and howling at the moon kind of becomes essential to maintaining your sanity. And you know what? Sanity was maintained. (Well, mine at least…I dunno about America’s. All the more reason for America to start listening to more damn metal.)

This year may have thrown every possible pile of feces it could at us, but you know what? We made it through anyway. We’re still here and it’s not. And that’s nothing to turn our noses at. Here are the records that helped make that happen for me:  Continue reading

Best of 2016: Josh’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

Outside of metal so much happened this year that it really is mind boggling to think back on it. We lost visionaries and legends, witnessed violence of epic proportions, politics took a huge dive into the void and negativity seemed to reign supreme. And all that is barely scratching the surface. I’m definitely not going to be the one to say that 2017 WILL be better but I will say — let’s attempt to make our little corners of the world better, be better to each other and approach it with some semblance of positivity.

On the flip side of the coin, 2016 was about as strong a year in metal that I personally have seen in ages which was a great thing considering the state of affairs otherwise. As usual, metal was my comfort food and the offerings were bountiful. With that said, making a best of list was extremely difficult. What made the cut is only a fraction of my favorites but they represent what I listened to and enjoyed the most but also are the ones that I returned to an insane amount of times and for endless reasons. Stick a fork in 2016 and let these champions ride you out on a high note.  Continue reading

Best of 2016: Zyklonius’ List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

I am writing this intro blurb on Christmas eve, on Lemmy’s birthday and almost exactly a year after his death. Today, the largest newspaper in Finland published a fascinating article discussing Lemmy’s life (unfortunately in Finnish). The article’s lead paragraph notes the failure of humanity to carry on without Lemmy and the shockwave his death created, paving the way for 2016 in all its depressing grimness. Continue reading

Best of 2016: Corey’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

You don’t hear from me much these days because I decided the internet is more of a hindrance to my life than an enhancement. I also think opinions, including my own, are pointless. Regardless, I still like metal. So here is 2016 metal I really like just in case one or two of you out there were curious. Top nine and then nine honorable mentions because I like being thematically consistent. Continue reading

Best of 2016: Vincent Martinek’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

Hey all. This has been a great year for music, made better because I got to share so much of my thoughts about what I was hearing with you, alongside the rest of the Nine Circles crew. It’s been a pleasure to work with some of the most talented people I’ve had the honor to know. Thanks to Dan and Corey for getting me started, to Josh Stewart for being a phenomenal editor, and to all the amazing people I do this with whose writing inspired me to better my own. Here’s to many more. And now that the sap is out of the way, on to the tunes.

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