As I write this it’s a few short hours until the next Record Store Day. I’m not normally the type to burst to my LRS in the dawn light just to snag an overpriced variant, but when you have sweet reissues from Opeth and Voivod, plus the debut of The Lord from Greg Anderson, well…you know I have to set the alarm for that, right?
So yeah…we’re gonna kick off the 228th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist with what you can expect from those heavyweights, but we got more of the concrete coming straight for your head. Anton welcomes new music from Exocrine, Misanthropic Rage, and Ufomammut to the playlist while Josh doubles down on the brutality with Black Braid, Crypticus, Paganizer, Butchers Burial and a killer new track from site favorite Spirit Adrift. Vincent is knee-deep in his Pyrithe review, so he’s serving up some of their music along with Ultha, Orville Peck, and some classic New Order. Ian returns to the playlist with some Kardashev and Gojira, along with a healthy dose of the Pixies and some Planning for Burial. Angela is digging the latest from Tribulation and…wouldn’t you know it? For the first time, so am I! And she also has Mountaineer and Telekinetic Yeti bringing up the rear for this week.
I am the Scholar of the First Sin, and I have insight to give.
Last year, my list was short and to the point, as I spent more time listening to music that gave me respite and comfort than to new releases. This meant that, once I had more time on my hands, I was finally able to go out and see what I had missed. The fact that I can’t include Dark Tranquility’s Moment, an album that deserves more attention, on this list because it came out last year fucking kills me.
Despite the Omicron variant (at this time) destroying all hope for a small sense of normalcy, 2021 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. After many bands either couldn’t tour because of the onset of the pandemic or postponed a lot of their releases, this year provided us with new music, which meant that a lot of vetting had to happen in order for me to make this list. After graduation, I suddenly had more time than I ever had to do with and decided to dive deep into what I had been ignoring for the better part of five months.
It’s the first year I’m at a loss for words. I think I said everything I had to say about lists, and honorable mentions in my 2020 post. It’s really about finding those albums that affected and impacted you, and sharing some sense of why in the hopes they might do the same for someone else. Arguing about what’s missing makes no sense; it wouldn’t change the fact that these 15 records all did something to me to make me include them on this list. Sure, maybe I forgot something, but the fact I forgot it also says something (though it could very likely be saying that my memory is going) – but I tell you what; I’ll make the same agreement with you I always do. Anything you think I might have missed I will listen to again – it might not make my End of Year lists, but it can still make an impact on me, and in the end that’s what’s always the most important.
Wait…so the guy who only wrote a total of 10 freakin’ reviews this year thinks he has any weight when it comes to a mid-year report? Well, uh…I guess that’s why I put the “heavily qualified” in the title of this post?
But seriously, I’ll be the first to admit that metal hasn’t really been my #1 go-to when it comes to music lately, but like everything else, what you see on the Internet never tells you the whole story. I haven’t been writing nearly as much about the genre lately, but I have been listening. Listening, and refining. Finding the things that really resonate despite the press and the push of PR, or what the pundits tell you on the 1,001 other sites out there scrambling for clicks. And what I’ve discovered is that more and more I’m coming to the sounds that drew me to the genre: thrash riffs, lots of melody, and tasty solos. So yeah: expect some old school bands putting out great records more than 30 years into their existence here. And maybe a few newer bands as well.
Is that qualified enough for ya? Then let’s dig in.
The work week is over, for some of us, and for some of you. But, we all still need a playlist…er, mixtape of stuff that lends well with beers, work, cutting grass, or doing whatever you’re doing. Enter Volume 181 of our “around the water cooler in the back office tracks” we’ve been loving this week to save the day. We’ve got some bowel moving Fluids, and other amazing death metal in the form of Morbific and Killing Addiction, and of course, some The Mountain Goats from brother Vince. We’ve also got Suidakra, Kardashev, Ophidian I, Gojira, and a ton of other tracks to make today better. Point your cursor to that play button below and crack a cold one, you’ve earned it.