Second Circle: Takafumi Matsubara and No One Knows What The Dead Think

In Dante’s Inferno, the second circle begins the proper punishment of Hell, a place where “no thing gleams.” It is reserved for those overcome with Lust, where carnal appetites hold sway over reason. In Nine Circles, it’s where we do shorter reviews of new (ish) albums that share a common theme.

In today’s edition of Second Circle we take a look at the latest releases from grind legends, who happen to share a magnificent collaborative past (Gridlink, Hayaino Daisuki) and have now reached stunning creative apexes with their respective new albums. Whether it is pure serendipity or part of a divine plan that these albums are released on the same day only adds to their allure. So let’s dive head first into the unhinged brilliance of Takafumi Matsubara and No One Knows What The Dead Think. Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 92 (8.17.2019)

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Look here, we enjoy doing these playlists and sharing what we, collectively, have been listening to over the past week. And, it’s a great opportunity to share some really amazing track premieres too – always a plus. At the end of the day though, we do it to share all this with YOU as our little way of making the weekend better. With that said, feel free to tell us in the comments if you dig these things or not. And if not, what would you change or do different? Anyway, we’ve got another heaping pile of picks from across the spectrum of metal, and beyond, so hit the play button and crank it.

– Josh

Best of 2018: Vincent’s List

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It appears I’m destined to be late to the party with my year end list, again.  But really, who reads year-end lists in January anyway?

I do.

And you, apparently, read them as well, so thank you for checking mine out.  This year was quite a ride for me, with not as many ups as there were downs unfortunately, but I made it through, and if there is nothing else for me to hold on to, it’s that.  I made it.  I’m still here, I still have a roof over my head, a loving partner, and the support of a legion of family and friends.  And as always, good music to provide the soundtrack along the way.

Which brings us to what stood out to me in 2018.  While this was a great year for music as any we’ve been having, my list this year is a little more brief than previous years.  I found a lot of albums I liked this year, but the ones that I loved came fewer and farther between.  Perhaps this was a product of my headspace not being the best for most of the time.  Maybe I’m just getting pickier as time goes on.  Who knows.  Lists are subjective, and this is only representative of one humble person.  But if you’re curious about what I kept coming back to over the last twelve months, then read on…

And hey.  Thanks for being here. Continue reading

Best of 2018: Zyklonius’ List

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Ah, 2018. What an absurd, exhausting and often infuriating ride you were, with death as my ubiquitous companion and co-pilot. You entailed on one hand a near-cataclysmic series of loved ones dying around me in rapid succession, while on the other, an ever-flowing stream of metal that helped make that maelstrom somehow survivable and acceptable for yours truly.

As you, the well-informed reader, likely noticed during the course of the year, and will see again when you read further below, 2018 was a banner year for death metal of all colors and shapes, but most and especially for the boundary-pushing kind that redefines and reconfigures the entire genre. Another type of metal that really resonated with me was one of transcendence and catharsis, of dreamlike journey, cosmic marvel and triumphant rebirth. Overall, the vast array of diverse evolutionary pathways, latest career pinnacles, and dazzling artistic growth and achievement in the field of metal was a compelling sight to behold and a wondrous thing to experience.

As further proof of the excellent and exciting state of metal today, albums worthy of inclusion in the below list continued to be released until the very final days of the year, resulting in perhaps the strongest December release-wise in recent memory.

With this succinct backdrop in mind, I offer the following 23 releases as a tribute to goddess Eris. Continue reading

Josh Thieler’s Favorite Records of 2018

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2018 has been quite the year. It was a roller coaster personally, nationally, globally, and in the realm of metal. There are people that I loved that are gone now. There are people who are gone that I should have loved more. I failed a lot of people. I’ve struggled in so many ways. If you are curious about that, just listen to the last Slaves BC record or read any interviews I did during that release cycle. I got fatter, fitter, quit smoking, joined five or six more bands, did artwork for some bands, did PR for some others, and spent a lot (but never enough) of time with my wonderful wife and animals.

Anyway, I listened to a ton of music again in 2018. I didn’t get a chance to talk about any of it very much, but I listened to a ton. 2018 was another fantastic year for metal/hardcore/whatever. I’ve been altering this list for months and I had a real hard time narrowing it down as much as I did. Just like last year, I have compiled my favorite 50 full length metal/hardcore records, favorite 10 non-metal records, and my top 10 favorite EP’s/singles/etc.

I made this playlist with one track from each of the records that are on Spotify for you to listen to a sampling of everything below. Thank you for checking this out and here’s to a better 2019!

Continue reading