And, of course, we’re going to wrap up with the new track and video from Cave In, this one being for “Reckoning”. But that’s not all! They also have some live dates that unfortunately I won’t be able to catch. But you should! Anyway, Heavy Pendulum is out on May 20th through Relapse Records. Everyone at Nine Circles preordered it. Pretty sure at least.
Weird random though for the morning: although we’re often nostalgic for things from our youth, sometimes the things from our youth are not things from our youth, you catch me? I don’t know; I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. Maybe it’s the music, so many new albums coming out that capture so succinctly the signatures of the sounds that came before it (*cough* Ghost) I’m caught in a revelry of the past. Don’t fear, though: I won’t let it influence the 222nd edition of the Nine Circles Playlist too much…
…but I will a little, kicking it off with a certain massive popular band who finally went all in on the hard rock/pomp of the 80s (*cough* Ghost). But man, if you haven’t also heard the latest from Drug Church get thee to a computer and rectify that post-haste. Hits the 90s indie hardcore rock so good, and they’re from my old stomping grounds of Albany, NY to boot. Elsewhere Anton brings up Siberia, Vital Spirit, and Autarkh III to get the nasty flowing. Vincent continues to champion site favorite Absent in Body and throws in some new music from Devil Master and Egregore as well as Bootblacks. Josh takes a break from his non-stop listening of Impera to get down with the OTHER site favorite Zeal & Ardor but also manages to make room for Corpsessed, King Dude, and a pair of outlaw country tunes, including the latest from Paul Cauthen. Buke can always be counted on with some choice classic cuts, and he does not fail this week, serving up some vintage KISS and Rainbow, but also hits with new cuts from Rammstein and Deathwhite (there’s some Anvil in there, too). And Angela comes in to remind that if the first quarter of 2022 was already stacked tooth gills with great music, we just got the new Messa, a new single from Conjurer, and the latest from Chelsea Wolfe.
New material should be emerging from Mantar in the near future. The extreme metal duo has signed on with Metal Blade and is currently wrapping up their fourth studio album. We should expect that sometime in the summer, which is awesome.
Deathwhite are already back in the studio, recording their third full-length, and following up the success of 2020’s Grave Image. This album will be titled Grey Everlasting, and there are plenty details to come… hopefully sooner rather than later.
And then we have a new Zeal & Ardor video to share for “Run”. It’s unsettling. It’s awesome. It’s exactly what we both hope for and expect. Scoop up the track here, and watch the video here.
And we’ll close with probably he biggest news of the day. Wolves in the Throne Room have announced a new album, Primordial Arcana, which is set for an August 20th release through Relapse Records. Pre-orders are available here (among other places), and a video for the new track “Mountain Magick” is available below. It’s incredible.
At this point, what more is there to say about what happened in 2020? I could echo the sentiments of so many others, on this blog and otherwise, but I think we get the idea. I could take this time to lament about the struggles around us, our unsustainable societal structure and all that, but that rant should probably be for another time and place. For now, I’ll just say that my hope is that we can all reflect on the events of 2020 and recalibrate what we prioritize as a society… but I’m not optimistic that will happen. And to all the calendar watchers out there, 2021 won’t magically be better just because it happens to not be 2020. Want things to be better? Make change. That applies to all of us. Status quo sucks anyway.
Enough of that, let’s spin the narrative a bit. As the world continues to burn around us (literally and figuratively), I need to express unrelenting gratitude to all the artists and musicians that continued to perfect their craft over the past several months. Without concerts, and as album sales continue to serve as minimal revenue at best, pausing these pursuits in search of other enterprises would have been understandable. In a year with so much negativity, and so much time away from friends and family, the music I absorbed in 2020 resonated on a deeper level than it has in years. So, thank you, for offering an escape from the daily chaos. A (completely self-induced) pressure to absorb more and more music had taken over in recent years, and as a result my connection to individual records was hindered. A basic quantity over quality concept in listening experience, I suppose. This past year, however, that wasn’t the case. I still consumed an aggressive amount of new music, but the exploration was more curious, and more genuine, than in years past. The result? A stronger attachment to the 2020 releases… which I’m certain will resonate long after we start our 2021 discussions. If there is a bright side to 2020, it’s the realigning, or rediscovering, of our passions and finding new ways to pursue them in the day-to-day. And that’s a mentality I hope to take into the new year.
So let’s dive into my 2020 picks. As always, nine favorites and nine honorable mentions. Side note: I can’t remember a year in which it was this hard to separate a few albums from the greater pack, and that’s probably the result of offering myself the opportunity to truly embed myself in these albums. There was just so much quality presented this year, and delivered over such an expansive spectrum. Just another part of the ridiculous journey that was 2020, I suppose. Anyway…