Best of 2018: Chris’s List

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What does music do for you?

In the end, it’s the only question that matters.  An admittedly hard question to hear, what with the screaming of every opinion in every corner of the internet, but in the end when you step away from the noise and muck of screen shouting and scene guarding it’s your opinion in the end.  Every year that I’ve written an end of year list for Nine Circles it’s been a variation of the same theme: when we write about music, we’re writing about ourselves.  What matters is what the music does to you, and for you.

But what’s the point, if you’re really only writing for yourself? Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…the Iron Maiden and Judas Priest Reunions

judas priest rob halford iron maiden bruce dickinson

It’s been a couple of weeks since the release of Firepower, and none of us can stop listening to it. Seriously. The eighteenth studio album from NWOBHM legends Judas Priest, has given the world many things. It’s given listeners one of vocalist Rob Halford’s strongest vocal performances in years, and the band’s best album overall since 1990’s Painkiller. It gave the band a No. 5 debut on the Billboard 200 — their highest chart U.S. chart position ever. And most importantly, it’s given the vast metal blogosphere a treasure trove of ideas for new #content.

Unfortunately for you — or perhaps “fortunately,” depending on what you think of us — we were not immune from that last gift.

Firepower marked the ninth album released by either Priest or that other NWOBHM band you often hear about, Iron Maiden, since the bands reunited with their legendary frontmen — Halford and Bruce Dickinson, respectively — in the early aughts. (Maiden’s released five to Priest’s four, albeit with a four-year head start.) And since this particular segment also comes in nines, we figured we’d feed that insatiable #content beast by ranking all of them here in one, combined list.

Notice the “we” there? Yep. Unlike most entries in the “Nine Circles ov…” canon, this won’t just be one person’s list, but rather a team effort. Why’s that? Well… because pretty much the whole team was high on Firepower, and wanted in on this in some capacity. So we asked everyone involved to come up with their own, individual lists for the nine albums, then calculated each album’s average position to determine our final, full-team rankings. And then, obviously, we each picked a couple and wrote about them. Because that’s what we do.

All of that (and more!) is below. So up the Irons, call for the Priest, and click on through to check it out! Continue reading

Album Review: Judas Priest – “Firepower”

Judas Priest - Firepower

There’s a reason everyone, including the Washington Post, are getting a word in concerning Firepower, the 18th opus from Judas Priest.  Forget the fact that few bands have sustained their vitality over 40+ years with so few missteps¹: even fewer bands can boast of the visual impact they’ve had on a genre.  For so many people Judas Priest by their very presence defined metal.  Taking cues from the likes of peers Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin and injecting a lethal dose of razor sharp riffs (not to mention that iconic scream), Priest crafted a singular sound that could encompass blues, prog, glam and straight up thrash without losing an iota of identity.  For many bands there would simply be nothing left to prove.  And yet, Firepower proves to be the best album the band have released in over 25 years, filled with everything the band have dipped their hands into since “Rocka Rolla” graced our ears back in ’74.   Continue reading