This is my first year writing up an honorable mentions list. I really struggled narrowing things down this year (well, I struggle every year) and thought instead of cutting out albums that deserve praise, I would make an additional list. This list is not ranked and because it contains artists that I admire, I also wrote up many of the full-length reviews for these. I have included albums that may not be 100% metal but contain metal elements and are on the heavier side. I also wanted to bring some attention to albums that my lovely colleagues here may not be writing about so we continue our diverse listings. I love that the 9C fam has varying musical tastes and we respect everyone’s opinions. EOY time is our favorite and the lists keep rolling out. Check them out here. This list is very much an Angela list (spoiler alert – a lot of doom and a lot of femme power) and I hope others also enjoy and check out these wonderful artists.
Seven days have come and gone, and I am still buried in the swirling green haze of classic psychedelic rock. I can’t escape…and frankly I don’t want to escape. But I also don’t want to burden you with more fuzz and scuzz from the late 60s and early 70s, so I’m kindly bowing out of this, the 227th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist and will let my fellow partners in crime hit you with the heavy stuff.
Anton brings us in with some Cosmic Putrefaction, followed by Tomarum and Syberia. Josh hits us with all kinds of rot, starting with Wormrot and quickly chasing it with some new Jungle Rot. After that it’s a swig of Denouncement Pyre, Kreator, Moon Tooth, and some classic Burst. Vincent has been all over the debut from the Linda Lindas, so you get some that plus tracks from Amulets and Superstition. Ian graces us again with his picks, hitting up The Weakerthans, Gregory Alan Isakov, After the Burial, and the long awaited return of Ignite. From there Angela brings it home with Darkher, Primitive Man, Horn, and a collaboration between Thou, Emma Ruth Rundle, and Mizmor.
A figure draped in black moving lightly and slowly, barefoot, through a moonlit mossy forest. Smog curls from the end of a smudge bundle as a smokey scent trails through the earthy air. Listening to doom/dark folk band Darkher (passion project of the very talented Jayn Maiven) brings this imagery to mind and their latest release The Buried Storm urges this dark beauty to unfold and encapsulate listeners. Fans have waited six long years for a sophomore release from Darkher and this album does not disappoint. The songs contain a melancholic heaviness that Maiven previously established in earlier releases, while also expanding to include guest string musicians and creating vast well-developed soundscapes that intwine perfectly with her hauntingly ethereal vocals.
Another day, another dollar, another death…I just came back from a wake, poured myself a whiskey and left the bottle nearby even though I know it’s going to kill my numbers tomorrow (hello diabetes my old friend) and turned the music up. In other words I’m feeling the crush of life a little more than usual tonight, and that means the music needs to be loud. Loud and unapologetic in its intent. So whether that’s some classic Venom to kick off the 223rd edition of the Nine Circles Playlist or new music from blackened trad metal powerhouse Nite which I’ve been playing nonstop the last few weeks, it’s going to have to work overtime to get the job done.
As always there’s a lot more on deck to satisfy all metal cravings. Anton once again gets the early ticket with tracks from Defect Designer, Au-Dessus, and Sum of R. Josh comes in hot with what has become one of my most anticipated albums of the year in the form of the new Cave In, but he follows it up with some equally devastating music in the form of new music from Dead Register (back after far too long), Wormrot (JFC!) and a banging classic from The Red Chord. Leave it to Vincent to brings things to a darker, warmer place as he spins some Midwife, Ulver (you can never have too much Ulver), Orville Peck, and a double dose of Alexisonfire. Angela gets on a roll this week with a ton of new music, including Darkher, Konvent, Corpsegrinder, Holy Fawn and a little something from Jonathan Hultén. And finally Buke races in with some killer picks. He’s got Carpenter Brut right up front, and tags it with some new music from Witchcraft’s Magnus Pelander. Man, I wish I had some new rockin’ Witchcraft but I’ll take this…for now. Buke also throws in some classic Nailbomb, some killer neo old school metal with Merciless Law, and some tight new trad metal courtesy of Greyhawk.
It’s a week until Christmas. My listening habits have leaned even more into metal than usual, but that’s probably because I’m whittling away on my year-end lists when I’m not editing some of the other you’ll see crop up in here in the next few weeks.
It’s been great seeing the love the latest from Iron Maiden has been getting from the metal community so let’s kick off the 210 edition of the Nine Circles Playlist with one of my favorites from their latest, Senjutsu. Funeral Mist just released a black metal bomb with Deiform, so it feels appropriate to defile the playlist with some of their new music. Elsewhere in the Nine Circles universe Anton maintains the extremity with some furious grind courtesy of Takafumi Matsubara and even more nastiness from White Void and Eximperitus. Josh may be on vacation with his family, but that didn’t stop him from picking some truly nasty music, with As the World Dies, Gingivectomy, and Demiser leading the pack. Vincent flexes his genre muscles with picks from Midwife, Creation Lily, and Yellow Eyes while Buke brings us back to the classroom with killers from King Diamond, Forbidden, and Amon Amarth, among others.
If that wasn’t enough, Angela wraps the week up with Lucy Dacus, Darkher, and a banger from Horrendous. Not sure if we’ll have playlists the next two weeks with the holidays falling on a Saturday, but if we don’t, this feels like a good one to end the year on! So until the unknown “next time,” keep it heavy!