End of year is almost here. I’ve been spending the day clearing out all the albums from 2022 I know I’m not going to listen to again. It’s hard: some of those albums were pretty damn good, but I know my mind by now, and it’s the rare record that sticks around long enough to make a permanent addition to my collection. And while I was doing that I was finding some weird and fun music I’d collected over the years I hadn’t heard in a long, long while, so let’s make some room on this the 261st edition of the Nine Circles Playlist for some weird and loud noises thanks to bands like Ex Eye, Grip Inc., and New Keepers of the Water Towers.
You won’t need to bear my indulgence for long. The 9C crew brought the heavy down for you, including Jesus Piece, Conjureth, Hour of Penance, and Moonlight Sorcery. There’s some slightly older fare with the likes of Obsequiae, King Woman, and some crushing Godspeed You! Black Emperor. We go off the beaten path with Emma Ruth Rundle, Chapterhouse and New Order, but come back with some new Zeal & Ardor and much more.
After years of seeing that cassette logo at the top of every edition of the Nine Circles Playlist (brought to you now for the 245th time) I finally caved and bought a cassette deck for my stereo system. I have a few tapes lying around from niche labels filled with strange and discordant sounds, so why not? Maybe I’ll even find those old mix tapes I used to have in college and see if they’re still in a playable condition…music as archeology, you know?
I don’t know if anything in this week’s playlist is available on cassette, but I can provide definitive proof you can find it on YouTube. The gang brings in tracks from Sarattma, the return of Toxik, as well as new music from Clutch, Revocation, Conan, Conjurer, Lathe, Ripped to Shreds and An Abstract Illusion. We throw in some shoegaze and indie from My Bloody Valentine and Broken Social Scene to break up the extremity (although I still think MBV’s Loveless is one of the most extreme albums to ever come out) before wrapping it all up with some classic tracks, including a live cut from Opeth, some Testament, Merauder, and Watchtower, among others.
I wish I could say that with the arrival of March, we are also welcoming renewed optimism that comes with the more pleasant weather of the turning seasons. Alas, as we pivot from one global disaster to the next, there really isn’t much time for that perspective. As Chris said last week, tyrants are gonna tyrant… and I’ll add on that oligarchs are gonna oligarch.
So on that note, we’ll usher in an absolutely stacked playlist this week to distract ourselves from the world around us, even if just for a moment. Major props to all our contributors this week, a list of wonderful folks that obviously doesn’t include me. Again. The lineup this week contains everything from Drab Majesty to Absent In Body (a project that I am incredibly excited about), with highlighted new material from Hath and Ithaca. I need to point out that I’m super stoked that Josh made the decision to include the “Screaming for Vengeance” cover from Two Minutes to Late Night, and that Buke rounded us out with one of my favorite Triptykon tracks ever. It’s an awesome list, is what I’m saying.
You know what to do at this point. Press play. Get loud. And please, be well to each other.
You know I had to do it, so here it is. As I’ve already said, this year was a year that was cram-packed with excellent releases, and the world of non-metal and metal adjacent was no exception, so much so that I almost considered doing another, separate honorable mentions list just for non-metal. The only reason I didn’t is because free time and sanity are at something of an all-time-low, so you’ll forgive me if anything feels like it got left off, because, well, it did. Still, there are plenty of worthy releases here, and if that stirs up your appetite for more, there is plenty else to be found out there. Now, without further ado, here are my favorites, in almost no particular order.
That’s it: we’re officially in End of Year™ territory now. The big guns are coming out, as Decibel Magazine preemptively shared their Top 40 of 2021 prior to publication in the vain hopes of staving off blogs who simply post the list for views. I’d rather give them the props and the views, so head over there to check it out. In the meantime I’m on my fifth listen of the new Stormkeep and debating how high to have it on my own list. Because yeah…it’s gonna be there.
But enough of that. Welcome to Volume 206 of the Nine Circles Playlist, where we may or may not have some music that will appear on own own lists. In addition to our fearless editor Josh priming the pump with Stormkeep he’s heavily digging the latest from Hypocrisy and Sanguisugabogg. Angela has fallen hard for the hardcore punk coming from Fucked Up and the murky psychedelic cosmic stoner sounds of Tortuga. Buke never fails to bring the classic heavy to the list, so buckle up for some new retro courtesy of Haunt and Traveler as well as old school flavor from Judas Priest. Jon emerges from the snowy depths of the Great North to champion new stuff from Archspire and Every Time I Die. Vincent wallows in the despair of heavier fare from Emma Ruth Rundle, Lantlôs, and Dream Unending. As for me? I’m sitting here in the CLOUDS with Enslaved, digging the skramz of Warren of Ohms, and am in hook line and sinker with Josh about the new single from outlaw country bastard Paul Cauthen.
Country as Fuck, folks. No better way to close out the playlist this week. See you next time!