Nine* Circles ov…What “Didn’t” Make My 2018 End of Year List (But Could Have)

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* SPOILERS: it’s gonna be 20 albums…buckle your seat belts.

I told myself this year I was going to take it easy – do the Honorable Mentions, get the final list out, and put 2018 to rest.  On a global, national, and personal front the year’s been pretty much a disaster from the start, and the quicker I can put it in my rearview mirror the better.  But the more I tweaked and played with my end of year selections (thank you Trello for making that shit so easy) the more I realized that – like always – music was the thing that propped me up and made every setback if not better, at least tolerable.  And when the dust cleared from all the list building I found a huge excess of albums that didn’t make my lists but easily could have on another day.  Everything is interchangeable; we are not the people we were even a moment ago, and those experiences constantly inform our perspective on the world, metal albums included. Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 50 (8.11.2018)

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Before you start reading look up. See that image up there? When I see a cassette I think of mixtapes and maaaaan, I used to love making those. But even better was receiving them through snail mail from other folks with like minded music interests. Cassettes have made a comeback but in this digital age, those tape trading days are sadly behind us. Playlists have essentially taken their place and as of today Nine Circles has brought you fifty of them. To celebrate this 50th volume, we figured we’d spruce it up a bit. Hope you dig it, I know I do. Anyway, we’ve got another great bunch of tunes to share that left a mark over the past few days, dig in below. And HEY, share your own picks in the comments section or share some that might have made it onto your personal mixtape back in the day.

Have a good weekend and we’ll see you next week.

Album Review: Haunt – “Burst Into Flame”

Haunt - Burst Into Flame

I hear we’re calling this stuff the New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal.  I’m always eager to embrace yet another nonsensical label, and await the inevitable usage of NWOTHM or whatever.  Point is, you can label Fresno, CA band Haunt whatever you want if it helps you get through the night.  Me?  The band, their sound, and their killer debut fell length Burst Into Flame is simple heavy metal, and the world is better for its honesty in simply wanting to rock you hard and sweet.   Continue reading

Initial Descent: August 5 – 11, 2018

Abigail
Abigail

A lot of things cross my mind when looking at and exploring a list of upcoming metal releases. Most of which no one will ever care about but the one paramount thing is: how many of said albums will make an impression and how many of those will have the kind of staying power that in a year’s time, or longer, will still be in rotation or have me singing/growling/screaming at the top of my lungs in a traffic jam or in the shower like a boss? To be sure, the only way to find out is to explore all possibilities which is why I love doing these. What will be our collective next gem? Read on…

Japan’s Abigail, who have a ridiculous amount of work out there, return with the Far East Black Metal Onslaught EP and it rides high on this list due to its thrashing mad black metal attack that I find to be grin inducing. US old school heavy metallers Haunt offer up their debut of NWOBHM inspired goodness on Burst Into Flame and Lurk find a way to pack doom, black, death and sludge metal into one atmospherically haunting release on Fringe – a mouthful but, a tasty one.

All that and much more below so don’t miss a link.  Continue reading