Album Review: Svalbard – “It’s Hard to Have Hope”

svalbard it's hard to have hope

It’s hard to have hope.  In no time like the present do statements like this ring true.  On both a micro and macro level, it can seem at many times like the world is falling apart.  Music is something that should be a comfort to all, yet even scenes that are supposed to be welcoming to all those society pushes to the fringes are plagued by the same bigotry and gatekeeping that they are supposed to fight against.  When even this comfort is denied, optimism seems like an impossibility.  Enter Svalbard, and their new album It’s Hard to Have Hopethe soundtrack to you dusting yourself off and fighting the good and necessary fight for the future we all deserve. Continue reading

Best of 2017: Mark’s List

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

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

Album Review: Pillärs – “Abandoned”

Pillars - Abandoned

There’s something lurking in the blackened pockets and hidden corners in Ohio.  It’s not a new phenomenon; just look back at the explosion of sounds that came out of the 70s: the no- and new-wave punk anarchy from bands like the Bizarros, the Pagans, and a small band called Devo turned cities like Cleveland and Akron into a hotbed of incredible music.  Although not couched in the same style, Pillärs takes its cue from the same spark that drove the furious creativity of those bands, and in debut album Abandoned craft a pummeling assault of crust-laden noise that provides a righteous soundtrack to the beginning of 2018.   Continue reading

Receiving the Evcharist: Ancst and Brother Thelonius

Receiving the Evcharist

Hello once again viewers. I realize that I spend a lot of time in this column focusing on both American music and American beers. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, given the fact that I live in the USA, and yet I wanted to offer something more worldly this week, and I succeeded about three-quarters of the way there. Inspired by a recent outing to a local German/Belgian establishment, this week showcases tunes from Germany and a beer brewed in the Belgian style, albeit one brewed locally for me. Let’s get into it. The Metal: Ancst’s Furnace. The Booze: North Coast Brewing Company’s Brother Thelonius. Continue reading