I always have a tough time with these introduction things when it comes to End of Year lists. The temptation is to sum up the year with some anecdotes about what it meant to me and how the music I loved played into it. Yet what could I say about a year that was such a mixed bag for me? On a personal note, my mental health took an all-out nosedive last year that I’m still trying to claw my way out of, yet my partner and I got engaged and are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together (not that we weren’t already, but you get the point). The weight of the worst depression and anxiety I’ve ever faced affected my ability to connect to a lot of the music I heard last year, yet I started a column on here that lead me back to a genre of music I had not seriously kept up with for some time, and in doing so I found a little piece of myself again. Years are years are years, and life is cyclical and spiralic in nature. I won’t pretend there weren’t good things to come out of last year, just as I won’t pretend there won’t be hard times in the year ahead. But I will always have a carefully curated soundtrack to help me along the way, and below represents what helped me get through 2019. Continue reading
Fourth verse, same as the first? Or second, or third for that matter?
This is my fourth End of Year List for Nine Circles, and the more the music changes, the more the sentiment stays the same. With each new dance partner our hands clasp; our eyes lock and I see and hear and ask the same thing: What does this do for me? What does it mean? Why this, and not something else?
I tried to spend this year answering those questions, particularly the last one. In a year where I finally acknowledged that – while still important and cherished – metal was no longer the driving musical force in my life, I wanted to understand why the metal that I was drawn to impacted me. What was it about the way this riff, or that vocal line, or that lyric touched me in a way maybe some other song, track, or album didn’t? Continue reading
Most of us are eager to dart into 2020 and leave 2019 in our wakes. While I’m ready for a fresh start and a new year, I want to linger in 2019 a little longer to savor the musical releases. Many wonderful albums were released this year which made narrowing down and ranking my top picks a challenge. The albums that ended up on this list are albums that resonated with me—albums that I kept revisiting, I kept blasting through headphones, and kept giving me goosebumps.
I decided to pick 9 albums in honor of Nine Circles and this wonderful community that welcomed me in this year. Let’s dive in! Continue reading
Every year I come up with a list of albums, and every year I have trouble trying to firmly rank them. Also, doesn’t everyone just scroll to the end to see what the best album is? I know I do. So here’s my list where the first entries are the best, and it gets decidedly fuzzier after that. But one thing is certain, every album on this list is one of the best albums of the year. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
(ed: Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or just happy Wednesday, whatever. Consider this a break from the family deal where there’s too many bags of torn gift wrap and cousin Eddie is playing banjo on your last nerve. Enjoy Charles’ picks and check all these out seeing as you’ve got all those gift cards and/or extra cash burning a hole in that pocket.)
Boston tomorrow. Lots of things to share tonight.
- I caught this late last night, so I obviously need to share it today. Migration Fest 2020 details. The Gilead/20 Buck Spin festival dropped the first round of bands for next year, and highlights include Falls of Rauros, Yellow Eyes, False, and Vastum. If you follow either of these labels, those names won’t surprise you. But that doesn’t make it any less exciting!
- Deathwhite has revealed that their next album, titled Grave Image, will be out on January 31st through Season Of Mist. I really enjoyed their debut, and if the first single from this effort is any indication, we could be in for another tremendous listen in a couple more months.
- More album updates. Remember that killer album from Woorms that dropped just this past January, titled Slake? Well, we get even more Woorms this coming March. Twitching, as Prey will be released through The Hospital and Sludgelord Records. Here’s a new track, called “Silence and the Saints”. Pretty sure the album name in the caption is wrong but what are ya gonna do?
- In case anyone needed an Enslaved update, I’m happy to report that they have re-signed with Nuclear Blast. They’ve been working together for about a decade, with excellent results I might add, so this is a good thing. With the announcement, the band also dropped a music video for “What Else Is There”. That particular number is a cover of the Röyksopp song and features as a bonus track on E.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”