Last month, we dove into power metal and talked about how it was essentially foreign for me until I decided to step outside of what I knew. I also talked a lot about vocal envy and voice mimicry, which has somehow worked for me in learning how to sing. Essentially, power metal is fun, somewhat cheesy, and comforting – like a good chicken noodle soup — it will lull you to sleep and think happy thoughts, or it will amp you up to get stuff done.
Now, for many of us, it’s the holiday season. We spend time with family, friends, and other loved ones to bask in the good things that the year has brought us, eating good food, and having a great time watching movies or doing whatever normal people do during the holidays. However, because of my sense of humor and my rather interesting year, I decided to become the ultimate Grinch and give you all something to cry to. After all, nothing says “Happy Holidays” more than reminding you that we are all, fundamentally, sad people. Let me tell you something: this genre is definitely the opposite of chicken soup.
2017 was an interesting year. While the trend of decreased album coverage continued to pave the way for increased show coverage, I still managed to get my hands on several dozen records that left an impact with me. Naturally, trimming that population down to my Best of 2017 list was daunting as any preceding year. While we did see some familiar names return with impressive new work over the past twelve months, my personal listening experience arguably covered more ground than ever. This theme was undoubtedly tied to the aforementioned increased time spent on the live setting. I was exposed to artists and styles I was previously unfamiliar with (there’s a reason I rarely skip openers). Of course, this meant that I missed some albums I was told I simply couldn’t. But in return, 2017 ended up being one of the more important years I’ve had in covering music. The live performance has a crucial impact on how an audience reacts to an artist, and that, at least in part, explains how I came up with the list below. Continue reading →
Since we are closing in on the final few weeks of the year and ‘best of’ list season has begun, for this edition of the Nine Circles Playlist each of us picked a select few of our favorite songs from 2017. Some of these are from albums that didn’t quite hit the mark, as a whole, but had that one particular song or set of songs that warranted an extra high play count. And some of these have been included here even though you may see them again in list form — or maybe not, only time will tell. As usual, expect a wide variety of picks contained in this playlist so, grab a cup of coffee and journey through this collection with us. Oh and feel free to voice your opinions in the comment section to tell us why or why not these songs ruled or didn’t. Continue reading →
As we edge closer to the end of the year the trend in long lists of new releases continues. But one thing that has remained consistent is the quality, for the most part, of these releases week to week. This week is no different here on Initial Descent and expect this trend to continue in the coming weeks. Leading us off is the emotionally stirring debut No Stars Upon the Bridge from atmospheric doom metallers Hallatar, many names you’ll recognize from this group: Amorphis, Trees of Eternity and HIM so be sure to check this one out. Next up is Amenra who continue their very distinct vision of sonic depth, dark spirituality and uncompromising heaviness on Mass VI and again, do not miss it. Moving right along is the debut Teneral from NY’s Pyrolatrous who very successfully combine black and death metal in a unique way. Finishing up the top spots this week is the doom duo Bell Witch with their mammoth one-song opus Mirror Reaper and they actually pull it off. One-song albums are a bit of a chance to say the least but also a marathon if there’s not enough substance but that’s not the case here, grab some popcorn and dig in. Like I said, the quality is already apparent but it also lies in the quantity that follows so stick around and enjoy it. Continue reading →