Best of 2016: Dan’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

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

Best of 2016: Chris’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

End of the year, ladies and gentlemen. The time when lists flow like liquor at an office party, where the online community comes together as one gargantuan digital animal to do what it does best: nitpick, subtweet, and throw so many accusations of pandering, overrated and “hipster” picks that come December 31st we’ll all be sick and tired and never want to do this shit again.

Until next year, of course.  When we’ll do it all over again. Continue reading

Nine Circles Ov… July 2016

july 2016

July was, again, loaded with one in the chamber. Actually, I hate guns. So scratch that metaphor. Here are some titles that were dropped in June: Grave Desecrator with Dust to Lust, what may be the best Fates Warning LP in their career, an EP from Monolithe, the beyond highly anticipated Inter Arma release, two releases on Gilead Media, both Mizmor and Anicon, Profound Lore ready to release the sophomore album from A.M.S.G. (which is flat-out brilliant), a new album from Ringworm, a greatest hits from Dragonforce, Dan Swano’s project Witherscape releasing a full-length, a new Fistula, an album from Make, two brilliant releases from I, Voidhanger including Summit and Goatcraft as well as a slew of stuff from Hell’s Headbangers, Signal Rex, Horror Pain Gore Death, Iron Bonehead and Nuclear War Now! Continue reading

The Nine Circles Podcast: Episode 51

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The guys discuss news of Nails‘ sudden, unforeseen hiatus, then celebrate the incredible success of Iron Maiden‘s Book of Souls world tour. Plus, new albums from Denouncement Pyre and Hammers of Misfortune, and Dan raves about the new Netflix series, Stranger Things.

All that and much, much more in Episode 51, so check it out!

Also available on:

Keep it heavy,
Dan

Initial Descent: July 22, 2016

Revocation Band
Revocation

Holy shit, it’s another big week for metal albums. Where do you even begin with this stuff? Okay,well, you know where we’re going to begin with this stuff just by looking at the picture above — with Revocation, of course. The band one of the best logos in metal — which they inexplicably decided to omit from their new, sixth album, Great Is Our Sin. Oh well. What else?

How about a new album from Hammers of Misfortune, which might just have my favorite cover art of the year so far? And how about one from Denouncement Pyre? And one from Profanatica? Hell, even Periphery and Black Crown Initiate drop some new material today. In short, I’ve got a lot of listening to get to — so I’m going to cut this intro off right about meow. Here’s what’s on tap this week:
Continue reading