Woohoo! I actually recognize some of the albums in that picture!
Yyyyyyep, I’m still here, y’all. And hey! I actually made a good amount of time for heavy stuff this year. I think the phrase “heavy stuff” is pretty key, here. Not all of the stuff on my entry* will be “metal,” per se. Is that in keeping with the site’s general aesthetics? Perhaps not. Do I care? Also, perhaps not.
* It’s not a ranking. You know how I feel about rankings.
For, uh… almost as long as this site has existed, if we’re being honest… I’ve been putting together these end-of-year recaps and kinda struggling for things to say in any of them. I mean… I love the team we’ve got here at Nine Circles. I like metal (I think). I’m neutral on making-sure-I-listen-to-all-the-important-albums-in-a-given-year. Most of the time, I don’t like justifying my opinions on said albums. And of course, I fucking hate ranked lists.**
** Now you really know how I feel about rankings.
So, where does that leave me? And why do I keep bothering with these kinds of posts?
We’re going to keep the intro brief on this one. Year after year I struggle to find the words to open this post, where I ostensibly count down my favorite 25 metal albums of the year. Typically the first thing I do is check out the previous year’s entry…read and see if the themes are still relevant, if there’s anything I want to refine or emphasize for the current year. And for the first time, I didn’t find anything worth changing. Yes…I may have finally nailed it with my 2021 Best Of introduction.
By now you’ve (hopefully) read my post talking about nine albums that didn’t make my but could have, and my 15 Honorable Mentions and how the very concept of an honorable mention seems to contradict itself when the music is so good. I would usually say that was all prelude to this, but that’s a lie. You know, and now I do as well. In the end, all we can do is recount the things we love, and hope it inspires something in you.
So if you will, a request: go back and read that intro to 2021. And then check out the albums listed below for this year. Don’t worry about rankings, don’t worry about omissions. Just check out the music, and let it hopefully inspire something in you.
For the last five days I’ve been trapped, sequestered in this tiny 9’X12′ space not because I’m sick, but because I’m the only one not sick. After more than two and half years my entire family have fallen ill to the COVID, and I attribute my still (reasonably) healthy body to the massive amounts of metal sliding into my brain pan. May this, the 253rd edition of the Nine Circles Playlist, keep you free from illness as well.1
We’re kicking things off with some Rhythm of Fear, whose brand of thrash has my old man bones quaking with nostalgic joy. From there we have a cut from the recent EP by Asarhaddon which hits that atmospheric black metal button I thought I had tucked away for a while now. Elsewhere the crew is pushing some great stuff, including new cuts from a slew of great bands, including Lamentations, Lost in Kiev, Exhumed, Distant, A Pregnant Light, Woods of Desolation, Envy, and frickin’ Blink-182, which is a big ol’ blast of fun. There’s even more surprises in store, but I don’t want to give away the whole store, you know?
Get listening. Stay safe. See you next week.
1 Listening to copious amounts of metal shouldn’t be the only thing used in the fight against disease. Use your brain, get vaccinated, and maybe wash those hands a little more often, ya filthy animals.
Somehow I still haven’t gotten around to listening to The God Machine, but we’re still going to close with Blind Guardian. Below is the video for “Life Beyond The Spheres”. That album is out now through Nuclear Blast.
I most certainly do not need to go into detail about all the chaos and confusion that has existed in the world over the past three years. 2022 has been especially filled with new challenges and uncertainties, to the point where now I just throw my hands in the air and laugh as it all keeps piling up. Chaos. And confusion. But those that know me, know that I have few specific pursuits each day that help me keep at least some order in all of this. One of those, of course, is this blog. And a second one is running. Which is what brings us here today.