The beginning is the end. Literally, in this case. I started this post with the entries for my list a few weeks ago, wrote my 1,000 word review (sorry) on my Album of the Year and concluding paragraph right before Christmas, and now here I am in the vaporous ether before the new year pondering the introduction.
And there are no words left.
I’ve wrangled with the why, trying to make sense of the music I consume and what it says, and I hit a point where trying to find an answer was…pointless. Not because it’s unimportant to know, but in the last two years the rest of the world became so much harder to deal with, life became so much harder to deal with, something in my brain went into emergency mode and just shut down the logic circuits, sending one single message over and over again:
One more year and one more list. AND, I’m in pole position for main lists. How is that possible? Right, who cares… Anywho, 2021 was yet another dumpster fire globally, but personally it’s been a good year, for the most part. The road we’re on with supply chains and inflation has to hit a ceiling soon or dumpster fire won’t even begin to brand what we’ll be facing in 2022. But, before I get too far down the road we’re all too familiar with, ENOUGH of that shit. I’ve had it up to my ass with all of it. Metal, again, had a great year. Some genres fared better than others, as you’ll see in the list below, but overall it was a very good year, as Sinatra once said. All the anger and hatred and frustration pushed artists to a level of creativity, and for some a level of vitriol, we haven’t seen in a long time and I don’t expect that trend to change anytime soon. So, on that point, score.
List season. We all love them for one reason or another and love bitchin’ about them. It’s human nature. With that said, here’s all the albums that meant the most to me throughout 2021 and as usual, I’m in the top nine and nine honorable mentions format because, branding. Jump in and enjoy what made me tick this year.
I really like honorable mentions. When people talk about their favorite albums of any given year, I think I am actually more interested in by what *almost* made the cut than what took the number one spot. It’s so interesting to see where the absolutely arbitrary line gets drawn between “the best” and “the still pretty fucking good”. Once again, I find myself truly hashtag blessed to be in another year where there was so much good metal that I couldn’t bring myself to write just one list. As always, just because these are honorable mentions doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time. This list is just a musical amuse bouche before the real thing, but it is nonetheless delicious on its own.
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!
Well, that certainly was a week. However, three days to recover ain’t a bad gig so there’s that. Brother Vince might be mad at me for hijacking this week’s mixtape but, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to congratulate Demiser on signing with Blacklight Media / Metal Blade Records! Freakin’ stoked for them and can’t wait to see what the future holds. And for the mixtape, of course we’ve got the brand new joint from Demiser (obviously) but also new stuff from Archspire, Der Weg Einer Freiheit, Shy, Low, as well as Vitriol, Osi and the Jupiter, and many more so smash that play button below….