Josh Thieler’s Favorite Releases of 2017

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Its been a long time since I posted anything for Nine Circles. Of all the things 2017 has been for me, it has definitely been the busiest I’ve ever been. I joined more bands, recorded drums / vocals for other bands, art for my bands and other bands, PR for my bands and others, started a record label, and a bunch of other stuff. I miss being more active with Nine Circles but it looks like the current staff has been crushing it!

Anyway, the time has come for year end list. I love reading everyone’s lists and seeing what albums I might have missed or maybe need to check out again. I hope you find some new music in here you will enjoy. Continue reading

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

Receiving the Evcharist: Jassa and Drakonic Imperial Stout

Receiving the Evcharist

Welcome back to another weekend beer and metal pairing. Most of the time when I do these articles I have a beer (or at least a style of brew) and album in mind beforehand, but tonight’s offering is a chance meeting that I felt was too good to pass up; a beer and album that I both bought on a whim that seemed drawn together by fate. But how will this unplanned venture work out? Let’s find out. The Metal: Jassa’s Lights in the Howling Wilderness.  The Booze: Drake’s Brewing Company Drakonic Imperial Stout.   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov… Russia!

russia flag

If you’ve been wondering (and I’m sure you have, attentive reader) why I tend to cover older releases instead of the latest and hottest promos, it’s because I prefer to spend a lot of time with a band or record before I form an opinion on it. Simply put, I prefer knowing one artist’s discography through and through to listening to ten CDs by different respective bands.

This list of personal favourites from Russia illustrates just that. It may not offer the most diverse, all-encompassing collection of bands from the country, but every band that’s on there is one I can recommend wholeheartedly. Continue reading