Welcome back and happy Saturday everyone. Another week behind us, and I’m happy to see the other side of this one. I planned on spending this last week catching up with work after being away on vacation but it turns out that my mother gave me one last Christmas present: the goddamn plague. So this week has been mostly me, already sick, taking care of my partner, who got hit much harder than me with whatever bug we got passed to us. All my downtime did give me plenty of space to explore a ton of music though, both old and new. I’ve got some really exciting promos in my inbox that are making me happy, but I’ve also been catching up on late 2018 releases I’ve been missing, like a ton of releases from Sentient Ruin that I unfortunately slept on. Let me know what else I should have listened to in the comments. That’s what the internet is for, right?
Ah, 2018. What an absurd, exhausting and often infuriating ride you were, with death as my ubiquitous companion and co-pilot. You entailed on one hand a near-cataclysmic series of loved ones dying around me in rapid succession, while on the other, an ever-flowing stream of metal that helped make that maelstrom somehow survivable and acceptable for yours truly.
As you, the well-informed reader, likely noticed during the course of the year, and will see again when you read further below, 2018 was a banner year for death metal of all colors and shapes, but most and especially for the boundary-pushing kind that redefines and reconfigures the entire genre. Another type of metal that really resonated with me was one of transcendence and catharsis, of dreamlike journey, cosmic marvel and triumphant rebirth. Overall, the vast array of diverse evolutionary pathways, latest career pinnacles, and dazzling artistic growth and achievement in the field of metal was a compelling sight to behold and a wondrous thing to experience.
As further proof of the excellent and exciting state of metal today, albums worthy of inclusion in the below list continued to be released until the very final days of the year, resulting in perhaps the strongest December release-wise in recent memory.
With this succinct backdrop in mind, I offer the following 23 releases as a tribute to goddess Eris. Continue reading
We are cutting it *waaaaaay* close on this one. But we did it, folks…by golly we somehow picked ourselves up by our bootstraps and delivered another edition of our Album of the Month series. This time the gang got together to discuss the technical chops and marvels of Beyond Creation and their latest offering to the technical death metal world, Algorythm — our album of the month pick for October! Continue reading
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.
It seems I can’t get away from it. I didn’t mean to do another round of technical death metal, but the last few weeks have just brought out some killer stuff and it’s been scratching that melodic itch I’ve had lately. Sometimes it works that way: you spend a few months completely immersed in black metal, then it’s scuzzed out stoner rock or some other genre niche for a couple of weeks until your lizard brain responds to something else. Maybe it’s nü-country, who knows? All I know is I’ve been learning to trust what my ears tell me and when it finds something good, to cling to it until the next thing comes along. But for right now it’s still the progressive hodge-podge that is technical death metal so for this edition of Second Circle let’s dive back into the syncopation with the latest offerings from Beyond Creation and The Odious Construct. Continue reading
I had two tests today, and I’m basically brain dead. This will be short. Here goes:
- Leading off, Kvelertak frontman Erlend Hjelvik announced his departure from the band this morning. I’m bummed. Wasn’t nuts about 2016’s Nattesferd, of course, but those first two albums are still gold — plus, Erlend was a big part of what made these guys so great in a live setting. We’ll see what happens from here.
- Behemoth announced its fall Ecclesia Diabolica North America tour, with support from At the Gates and Wolves in the Throne Room. Kinda feels like the Carcass / Deafheaven / Inter Arma trek a few years back; I’m here for all these guys, but none of them really make a ton of sense with the others? Oh well.
- Apparently, Tengger Cavalry is back together, and has a new song out called “Heart” out. Cool?
- More tour dates! Obscura, Beyond Creation, Archspire and good gawd, y’all, I need to be at this show. September 27 at Voltage Lounge, I’m comin’ for ya.
- Decibel announced a couple of more bands for the forthcoming West Coast edition of its annual Metal and Beer Fest. Joining the ranks now are The Black Dahlia Murder, Khemmis and Trappist. It’s not a competition, but…so far, this version’s beating the Philly one pretty handily.
- And finally, we’ve got one left over from the weekend: Philly hardcore crew Jesus Piece dropped a new tune that the kids might describe as “flames.” Check out “Neuroprison” below:
The band’s new album, Only Self, will be out August 24 via Southern Lord. Pre-orders are available on both Bandcamp, as well as the label’s website. That’ll do it for now — check back soon for more!
Keep it heavy,