Best of 2017 (mid-year report): Zyklonius’ list

I'd Buy That for a Dollar

Thanks to the demands, deadlines and drudgery of my day job, this stocktaking listicle was delayed two weeks past its intended publication date at the half-way point of the year. In the intervening time, additional waves of releases were unleashed, a reminder of the golden era of quantity and quality we are currently living in. It has become increasingly challenging to stay on top of must-hear releases, even with obsessive research and vigilance, but the untold satisfaction of unearthing new records that hit you like a brick in the face, make being a metalhead in this day and age such a thrilling glory ride.

I had a difficult time narrowing the following list (in alphabetical order) down to only ten releases (ultimately, the aforementioned day job dictated its final length) that have made a lasting impact in my heart of hearts during the first six months of this year, thanks to their creativity, vision, emotion, pummeling ferocity, gripping melody, riff mastery, headbangability, confident musicianship and that certain je ne sais quoi that elevates some albums and the whole genre to dizzying artistic heights. Continue reading

Second Circle: The Ruins of Beverast – “Takitum Tootem!” and “Exuvia”

Second Circle

The Ruins of Beverast have been a ride-or-die band for me since the first time I heard them.  Their career spans fourteen years and (now) five full length albums, during which time they have never been anything but unapologetically their own entity among the metal scene.  Whether it’s the crushing doomed black metal of Rain Upon the Impure, the full-on riff assault of Blood Vaults (which I will go to bat for every single time, nay-sayers be damned), or the re-shaping of classic songs by Dead Can Dance and Depeche Mode on Enchanted by Gravemould, Alexander von Meilenwald has built a legacy on daring experimentation that wins his music either shining praise or confused head shakes.  For my money, the Ruins are a band that I can turn to time and time again, no matter what I am in the mood for, and find something that satisfies me.  I’m extremely pleased then, to be able bring you a double feature of new material from this cult classic: an EP, Takitum Tootem!, and a new full length, Exuvia, that both showcase the entirety of their sound, and feature some of the best material in the band’s illustrious catalog. Continue reading