I think that we all have a tendency to give more personhood to years than they deserve. “So long 2022!” is the defining refrain this January, and I know I will be among those more than glad to see last year in the rear view mirror, but 2022 didn’t purposefully single me out to do me wrong. The passage of time is like a natural disaster; we give human names to hurricanes, but a hurricane doesn’t have malicious intent. It simply is. 2023 will be a year that is as well. It will have good days and bad days in store for me just like its predecessor. So instead of imploring for something better and pretending the bad days are all behind me now, I will start this year as is my tradition to start every year, and say only this:
I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.
You, of course, didn’t come to me for my half-baked philosophical ideas. You came here because you are interested in what it was that I listened to and loved this year. Thank you for that, sincerely. However small the number might be, the thought that there are people who take genuine interest in what I talk about is what keeps me wanting to talk about it more. 2022 certainly gave me a lot more to talk about than in previous years, and brought with it some of my favorite discoveries in recent memory. Some of these you’ve heard me mention more than once, some I haven’t had the pleasure to yet, all are worthy of being reminisced on here. Read about them all below.
Look, you know me and my old-school love by now. Would anything other than the new Metallica going to kick off this, the 260th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist? “Lux Æterna” sounds like a band enjoying themselves, playing a lost cover from the past as part of their Garage Days series and I for one am here for it. Plus hot off the presses another killer track from the forthcoming Katatonia? 2023 can’t get here fast enough.
Elsewhere the 9C gang brought it home with some truly neck-breaking metal, including Meristem, Confined and Ultimatum from Josh as well as Panopticon, Pianos Become the Teeth, Pyrithe and – breaking the “P” streak – City of Caterpillar from Vincent. New Guy™ Colin brings the heavy with Moribund Dawn, Anaal Nathrakh, and King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard in firm metal mode, while Slightly Older New Guy™ Dan hits us with Heads for the Dead, Boris, Chrome, and Black Dresses. Angela invites you to get dark with Gavran, Chelsea Wolfe and The New Values while in a twist, Anton brings up the rear guard with a pair of killers: Turbid North and Ketha.
Second booster. Feel like shit (déjà vu?)…I’m not complaining, just stating the current state of my body at the moment. So let’s get to it for the 251st edition of the Nine Circles Playlist.
Kicking it off with a few recent discoveries for yours truly with new releases from Phobophilic and Toadeater (thanks BANGERTV) as well as a classic from Life of Agony. Then we have a blessing in the form of new freakin’ music from -(16)- as well as cuts from Gaerea, Yandere Chainsaw Regurgitation Factory, Frayle, City of Caterpillar (thanks Vince because I am loving this), and Panopticon, as well as music from Chat Pile, Wailin’ Storms, Foscar covering Alice in Chains, Devenial Verdict, and a host of classics from the likes of Yob, Cathedral, Baroness, and more.
Goddamn, even typing the title to this review has my heart racing. I genuinely don’t know what is in the water this year that has made these veteran screamo bands step back onto center stage; we have the first Alexisonfire album in twelve years (debatably screamo, but follow my lead here), we got both a new Gospel album and the EP-that-never-was in MVDM, which was originally slated to be the band’s follow-up to The Moon is a Dead World way back in 2006, and now comes the first new City of Caterpillar full-length in twenty years. Mystic Sisters is a triumphant return-to-form from one of screamo’s pioneering artists and a testament to the enduring power of the genre as a whole.
Tchornobog and Abyssal are releasing a split on November 25th through Lupus Lounge. Excepts of both tracks can be heard in this teaser, and pre-order details can be found here.
We’ve got new Autopsy coming at the end of the month, and today they unveiled a video for “Knife Slice Axe Chop” to get us ready. The official release date of Morbidity Triumphant is September 30th, and that will be available through Peaceville.
City of Caterpillar are releasing their first album in 20 years, Mystic Sisters, on September 30th through Relapse Records, and today they shared a studio video for “Paranormaladies”. Additionally, be sure to catch them on the road this coming November.
We’re going to close with a highlight from FITM. Lykotonon, the dark industrial project featuring members of Stormkeep, Blood Incantation, and Wayfarer, are releasing their debut full-length on November 25th. Promethean Pathology will be available through Profound Lore, and “That Which Stares In Kind” can be heard below.