Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2021

Best of 2021

I am the Scholar of the First Sin, and I have insight to give.

Last year, my list was short and to the point, as I spent more time listening to music that gave me respite and comfort than to new releases. This meant that, once I had more time on my hands, I was finally able to go out and see what I had missed. The fact that I can’t include Dark Tranquility’s Moment, an album that deserves more attention, on this list because it came out last year fucking kills me.

Despite the Omicron variant (at this time) destroying all hope for a small sense of normalcy, 2021 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. After many bands either couldn’t tour because of the onset of the pandemic or postponed a lot of their releases, this year provided us with new music, which meant that a lot of vetting had to happen in order for me to make this list. After graduation, I suddenly had more time than I ever had to do with and decided to dive deep into what I had been ignoring for the better part of five months.

Welcome to EOY list season!

Continue reading

Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2019

Best of 2019

The Dark Souls franchise may own this title, but Aldia’s got nothing on me.

Last year around this time I made a statement, hoping that I would take it easier on the album listening; however, I also said that it would be for naught, as my 2019 release calendar was looking great and I was so excited about it.

However, life has a way of kicking you in the bollocks. Continue reading

The Path to Paradise Begins in Hell – Progressive Metal

The Path to Paradise Begins In Hell

It’s been a while since I wrote one of these, despite writing about numerous other things and being on the Nine Circles Audio Thing. Blame grad school – I am stuck in this hellhole to further new opportunities, so I am hoping things pan out. Otherwise, I will be so mad. Luckily, I am free (for now!), so here we are!

Anyway, last time, I discussed gothic metal and my appreciation of the aesthetic as a whole. I consider that genre to be the darker side of symphonic metal; instead of the beautiful fairy queen, you get the belle dame sans merci who will make you suffer for your desires. I also wanted to address something that I thought of before we jump into the next genre – if you think about it, there are more men involved in gothic metal than in symphonic metal. Granted, the genres overlap, but men rarely take the spotlight in symphonic metal. Maybe some of you can tell me why?

Now, we can start talking about a genre that is known to be experimental in nature, albeit not avant-garde (I might write about avant-garde at some point). Given our recent discussion of Empath (see podcast), it’s only fair that we look at how this genre has become a staple in my music listening and how it has expanded my horizons into other bands.

It’s time we talk about Progressive Metal. Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 68 (02.23.2019)

playlist - mixtape

What’s happening friends.  Currently I am attempting to recover from the Los Angeles leg of the Decibel Magazine tour, a night of gargantuan death metal performances from acts both new and well-established.  Blood Incantation ripped through the entire 20 minutes of their “Vitrification of Blood pts. 1 and 2” and, if my ears did not deceive me, closed their set with a brand new song, proving beyond doubt why they are my favorite death metal band going right now.  Necrot got the circle pits going and put on a hell of a show, including beseeching the crowd to help them summon ‘the motherfuckin’ devil.’  Morbid Angel are nothing short of the godfathers of death metal, and one of my favorite acts in the genre, so to finally be able to see them was a real treat for me.  Finally Cannibal Corpse closed out the night in fine form, with replacement guitarist Erik Rutan shredding in fine form.  Quality evening with a quality soundtrack, but I’m dead on my feet today.  So here’s hoping our little mix tape provides the kind of quality soundtrack to whatever evening you’ll be having.

– Vincent

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 63 (01.19.2019)

playlist - mixtape

Welcome back and happy Saturday everyone.  Another week behind us, and I’m happy to see the other side of this one.  I planned on spending this last week catching up with work after being away on vacation but it turns out that my mother gave me one last Christmas present: the goddamn plague.  So this week has been mostly me, already sick, taking care of my partner, who got hit much harder than me with whatever bug we got passed to us.  All my downtime did give me plenty of space to explore a ton of music though, both old and new.  I’ve got some really exciting promos in my inbox that are making me happy, but I’ve also been catching up on late 2018 releases I’ve been missing, like a ton of releases from Sentient Ruin that I unfortunately slept on.  Let me know what else I should have listened to in the comments.  That’s what the internet is for, right?

– Vincent