Another trip around the sun, another stellar year for metal, with a wealth of riveting riffage, pulverizing beats, blood-curdling growls and blazing tremolos. Verily, this is an era of abundance, where it is impossible to stay on top of the deluge of top-shelf metal released every week. Best of all, quality seems to go hand in hand with quantity. If there ever was an antithesis to the contemporary temptation for instant gratification and disposability, every album I included in my mid-year stocktaking exercise ended up on my end-of-year list, having continued to impress and astonish me as time went by, testament to the spectacular songwriting, boundless creativity and killer riff delivery of the bands that conjured up these stunning works of art. And just when I thought things could not get any better, both seasoned veterans and hungry newcomers arrived, bearing gifts of seismic impact. I hope the following releases enrich your life, even if only with a fraction of the effect they had on me. Now, dig in! Continue reading →
Fitting that we’re in October and are on lucky playlist number 13. Not sure about you but I stayed up way too late watching Hammer Horror films last night and am currently drowning myself in pot after pot of coffee. But, ’tis the season for this kind of thing. As usual we have an eclectic mix for you in the following playlist and since it’s Monday we all need an extra kick in the head to get moving. Catch up on the last 12 volumes right here and subscribe while you’re at it. Without further ado, hit the play button below and see what we’ve all been listening to. Continue reading →
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 →
I swear it feels like the amount of music released increases exponentially year to year. What’s even more surprising is how much of it is actually pretty damn good. Metal had a great showing in 2016 and judging by the first few months it looks like 2017 has the potential to be even bigger. I’m sure it’s obvious, but as much as we want to cover everything in a timely fashion… well, we are but a few humble writers in a veritable ocean of albums, and the waves are only getting bigger. You can see the quandary, no?
NO? WHADDYA MEAN, NO?!
Well, for the sake of our sanity humor me, please. The Nine Circles staff are scaling Mount Purgatory in this new take on a circle pit to bring you a few albums we missed in the hopes you don’t do the same. There’s something here for everyone so tag along as we begin our ascent. Breathe the rarified air, take it all in, it’s worth it.
Quick reminder before we get into this amazing week in metal: we gain our days back tomorrow so don’t be a knucklehead and use the “I forgot to set my clock right” excuse at work on Monday, just saying. Now for the goods: everyone’s favorite grind/death metal veterans Lock Up return with Demonization and, with a new frontman in Kevin Sharp, to say they’ve hit the biggest homerun of their career is an understatement — hearing is believing so get to it. Even though Engulfed‘s debut full length Engulfed In Obscurity has been out digitally for a minute it’s set for a CD release this week which is the perfect opportunity for those of you who missed it (you boneheads) to take advantage of some extremely dense and classic sounding death metal. Atmospheric black metallers Fen return with their fifth full length Winter and this is one you’re going to want to take the time to listen to in full — trust me it’s well worth it, don’t skimp just do it. And last but not least is In the Company of Serpents with their latest full length Ain Soph Aurwhich finds the band fully realizing their immense doom talents amongst a backdrop of spaghetti western motifs as they explore the “true self” and what a ride it is, think of your favorite doom band mixed with an old classic western film score — yet another one you just have to hear to believe. Alright so, the first four are ridiculously good but as always there’s much, much more to explore right after the jump.