Album Review: Ghoul / Ill Bill — “Split”

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When Anthrax released its 1987 EP I’m The Man, you could have heard a pin drop on what was called then Album Oriented Rock radio. By then, Anthrax had cemented itself as one of thrash’s Big Four with Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth. Joey Belladonna’s vocal dexterity led the band to their greatest heights on AOR with songs like “Caught in a Mosh,” “I Am the Law” and “Madhouse.” Back then, radio was less avoidant of metal, and many of the legendary bands we know today benefitted greatly by this more tolerant era in media. Such is the case with Ghoul and Ill Bill‘s Split release. Continue reading

Album Review: Various Artists — “We All Want Our Time In Hell” (Samhain Tribute)

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The work of goth/punk band Samhain may be forever overshadowed by singer Glenn Danzig’s previous and subsequent projects, the Misfits and Danzig. However, it is not for lack of influence, with its prodigious, unconfined sound and horror aesthetics giving early shape to a legion of styles. We All Want Our Time In Hell Samhain Tribute, a new compilation album by a range of emerging and veteran punk, metal and noise bands, is deeply grounded in that history, with a glance to the future. Continue reading

Best of 2016: Dan’s List

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So yeah, this year sure sucked in a lot of ways, didn’t it?

On a personal level…where to begin? My family said goodbye to our beloved dog, Bailey. I had a rough breakup at the end of April. I got into a deeper rut in my professional life than I’d ever experienced before, which culminated in me quitting my job and leaving New York. I also, briefly, quit Nine Circles. (You didn’t think I’d stay away for good though, did you?)

And that’s just my stuff! Beyond that…well, for starters, pretty much everyone died. Prince, Alan Rickman, Phife Dawg, Craig Sager…I mean, you kind of had to know 2016 was going to be shitty on that front after we lost David goddamn Bowie when the year was scarcely a week old. And that’s all to say nothing of the other shit: escalation of racial tensions across the country, continued apathy toward a changing climate, Christmas Eve / Day and New Year’s Eve / Day both falling on Saturdays and Sundays…it was a lot, man. Oh, and we also elected the personification of an Internet comment section to the presidency. That was neat.

In spite of all that, 2016 wound up being a goddamn banner year for metal. When I first started thinking about this list, I was envisioning maybe a Top 15 – but that quickly grew to a Top 25, and then to its current incarnation: a Top 50, with 20 “ranked” albums and 30 honorable mentions, not to mention EPs. It was just impossible to whittle it down any further; that’s how good metal was this year. Hell, I had a number of albums that featured in my mid-year list that didn’t even make it into the honorable mentions section of this one!

Make no mistake, this year would have felt exponentially shittier without all of those records. In times like these, cueing up a metal record that’s driving you bonkers, throwing your head back and howling at the moon kind of becomes essential to maintaining your sanity. And you know what? Sanity was maintained. (Well, mine at least…I dunno about America’s. All the more reason for America to start listening to more damn metal.)

This year may have thrown every possible pile of feces it could at us, but you know what? We made it through anyway. We’re still here and it’s not. And that’s nothing to turn our noses at. Here are the records that helped make that happen for me:  Continue reading

The Nine Circles Podcast: Episode 53

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With just a couple of days until the guys leave for Migration Fest, Corey returns to the fold for another Concert Pod! He talks about seeing Exmortus, Spellcaster and Seven Spires in Boston, as well as Skeletonwitch, Magic Circle, Lich King and Black Mass in Somerville, MA. Dan, on the other hand? He’s got stories from Carcass and Paul McCartney to speak of.

All that and much, much more in Episode 53, so jump on in and take a listen!

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Keep it heavy,
Dan

Album Review: Ghoul – “Dungeon Bastards”

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A mad scientist reveals a patrol of wolf-headed soldiers. Four masked creatures worship some sort of radioactive slug emerging in front of a severed head. And then, front and center, a gas-mask-wearing, cudgel-wielding demon figure forebodingly raises some sort of…anchor? If all this seems to toe the line between creepy and tongue-in-cheek, well…it’s all from the cover illustration of Dungeon Bastards, the latest album from Ghoul. And luckily for listeners, the band’s latest set toes that line nicely as well — setting campy horror themes overtop some of the catchiest tunes the band’s given us to date.  Continue reading