Best of 2017: Mark’s List

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

It was an honor joining the Nice Circles team this year. I started a series of posts called A Headbanger’s Journey that I hope to continue into 2018.  Late to the party,  I bought an absurd amount of music at the end of the year, much of it from the excellent Nine Circles coverage and I’m just now coming up for breath. In 2016 I went back in time to investigate the early death metal classics of the late 80’s/early 90’s and this year, I did the same with classic punk and hardcore. Both of those genres inform my current listening and are reflected in this list. So, let’s see where the rubber hits the road.   Continue reading

Album Review: Pillärs – “Abandoned”

Pillars - Abandoned

There’s something lurking in the blackened pockets and hidden corners in Ohio.  It’s not a new phenomenon; just look back at the explosion of sounds that came out of the 70s: the no- and new-wave punk anarchy from bands like the Bizarros, the Pagans, and a small band called Devo turned cities like Cleveland and Akron into a hotbed of incredible music.  Although not couched in the same style, Pillärs takes its cue from the same spark that drove the furious creativity of those bands, and in debut album Abandoned craft a pummeling assault of crust-laden noise that provides a righteous soundtrack to the beginning of 2018.   Continue reading

Album Review: Ghastly Sound – “The Bottom” EP

Ghastly Sound - The Bottom

You know that cliche in movies when someone is being approached by a huge, hirsute mean looking dude?  Think Hells Angel stereotype circa Clint Eastwood’s Any Which Way… series in the 80s.  They come stalking up, scowling, menacing score playing in the background…only to then offer to help with the groceries or to expound on some mathematical theory, thus laying on think the adage that you can’t judge a book by a cover?  Case in point Ghastly Sound, and their walloping second EP in the span of a year The Bottom.  Forget what the cover and logo are signaling to you: this is a stellar melange of hardcore, noise, and indie rock that isn’t afraid to mix passionate melodies with bone crunching riffs and waves of killer rock.   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov… “Special” EOY Awards (2017 Edition)

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

2017 turned out to be a strange year for me musically.  In my first full year writing for Nine Circles I had the opportunity to explore different genres and bands I never would have discovered on my own, and taking in so much music (even when I didn’t want to, in all honesty) not only broadened my horizons and (hopefully) improved my critical thinking on music, but also helped me to understand better what it was I needed from music.

Next week I’ll be unveiling my personal Top 25 albums for 2017, along with a second post of 15 honorable mentions.  But there was so much that impacted me, and so for this final 2017 edition of Nine Circles ov… I wanted to give out a few of my own personal awards to some bands and albums that left their marks on me.  So without further ado, let’s dive in…   Continue reading