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.
Ah, the Extended Play. Compact, versatile…few genres really know how to effectively wield the EP like metal does. In today’s edition of Second Circle we take a look at two EPs, used to different ends, but carrying the message of metal loud and clear. So let’s kick things off with the forthcoming tribute from Black Anvil and then cap it off with the early 2019 metal hammer that is the latest from Gatekeeper.
It was an honor joining the Nice Circles team this year. I started a series of posts called A Headbanger’s Journey that I hope to continue into 2018. Late to the party, I bought an absurd amount of music at the end of the year, much of it from the excellent Nine Circles coverage and I’m just now coming up for breath. In 2016 I went back in time to investigate the early death metal classics of the late 80’s/early 90’s and this year, I did the same with classic punk and hardcore. Both of those genres inform my current listening and are reflected in this list. So, let’s see where the rubber hits the road. Continue reading
This past year, I was fortunate enough to attend 35 different metal performances. There were a couple of duplicates (This Will Destroy You), but for the most part each performance was unique and left an impression in its own way. So, in going back through the past year and finally deciding to tally these shows, I thought it’d be a worthwhile idea to go over some highlights. You’ve obviously seen the more detailed concert reviews the days and weeks following various shows here, but the goal here is a high level recap of my favorites. This has proven more taxing than I would have anticipated, however. Looking back now, I don’t think there was a single show that I did not get at least something out of. Regardless, in no particular order, here are nine (ten?) performances that stood out to me last year. Continue reading
2017 was an interesting year. While the trend of decreased album coverage continued to pave the way for increased show coverage, I still managed to get my hands on several dozen records that left an impact with me. Naturally, trimming that population down to my Best of 2017 list was daunting as any preceding year. While we did see some familiar names return with impressive new work over the past twelve months, my personal listening experience arguably covered more ground than ever. This theme was undoubtedly tied to the aforementioned increased time spent on the live setting. I was exposed to artists and styles I was previously unfamiliar with (there’s a reason I rarely skip openers). Of course, this meant that I missed some albums I was told I simply couldn’t. But in return, 2017 ended up being one of the more important years I’ve had in covering music. The live performance has a crucial impact on how an audience reacts to an artist, and that, at least in part, explains how I came up with the list below. Continue reading
Another trip around the sun, another stellar year for metal, with a wealth of riveting riffage, pulverizing beats, blood-curdling growls and blazing tremolos. Verily, this is an era of abundance, where it is impossible to stay on top of the deluge of top-shelf metal released every week. Best of all, quality seems to go hand in hand with quantity. If there ever was an antithesis to the contemporary temptation for instant gratification and disposability, every album I included in my mid-year stocktaking exercise ended up on my end-of-year list, having continued to impress and astonish me as time went by, testament to the spectacular songwriting, boundless creativity and killer riff delivery of the bands that conjured up these stunning works of art. And just when I thought things could not get any better, both seasoned veterans and hungry newcomers arrived, bearing gifts of seismic impact. I hope the following releases enrich your life, even if only with a fraction of the effect they had on me. Now, dig in! Continue reading