Welcome to the future, everyone. I spent the last day of 2021 applying beauty masks and drinking champagne with my wife and son because you know what? That shit felt NICE. Even the boy admitted it it was cool, although I suspect his favorite part was the horror of peeling the mask off like dead skin. Yes, we had Slayer playing in the background…couldn’t resist.
To kick off 2022 and the 212th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist I put on my metal playlist and hit random to see what came out, so you’re getting the year off to a brutal start with some Unanimated and Chapel of Disease, as well as some classic Katatonia. Josh comes into the year guns blazing with some Wommbath, Barghest, and Everclear before finishing up with the ripping live Corrosion of Conformity. Vincent changes the mood a bit with The Hotelier, Alcest, and King Woman before Jon comes out of the snow to go full tech death, blasting some new Allegaeon, Spawn of Possession, and Archspire. Anton continues to play the left field choices, bringing in some choice cuts from his AOTY band Code as well as tracks from Eschatos and Fleshvessel. Bringing up the rearguard this time is Buke, and as awakes he’s ready with the classic of the genre, from Ahab, Death, Manowar, Saviours, and even a little Trivium.
That’s it. We’re officially in the new year. Let’s see if we can make it better than the last two, huh?
Hello friends! We made it through another week and that definitely deserves a cheers. It is time to drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offerings: Meridian Dawn‘s The Pagan Poetry EP and Saugatuck Brewing Company‘sBlueberry Maple Stout.
At this point, what more is there to say about what happened in 2020? I could echo the sentiments of so many others, on this blog and otherwise, but I think we get the idea. I could take this time to lament about the struggles around us, our unsustainable societal structure and all that, but that rant should probably be for another time and place. For now, I’ll just say that my hope is that we can all reflect on the events of 2020 and recalibrate what we prioritize as a society… but I’m not optimistic that will happen. And to all the calendar watchers out there, 2021 won’t magically be better just because it happens to not be 2020. Want things to be better? Make change. That applies to all of us. Status quo sucks anyway.
Enough of that, let’s spin the narrative a bit. As the world continues to burn around us (literally and figuratively), I need to express unrelenting gratitude to all the artists and musicians that continued to perfect their craft over the past several months. Without concerts, and as album sales continue to serve as minimal revenue at best, pausing these pursuits in search of other enterprises would have been understandable. In a year with so much negativity, and so much time away from friends and family, the music I absorbed in 2020 resonated on a deeper level than it has in years. So, thank you, for offering an escape from the daily chaos. A (completely self-induced) pressure to absorb more and more music had taken over in recent years, and as a result my connection to individual records was hindered. A basic quantity over quality concept in listening experience, I suppose. This past year, however, that wasn’t the case. I still consumed an aggressive amount of new music, but the exploration was more curious, and more genuine, than in years past. The result? A stronger attachment to the 2020 releases… which I’m certain will resonate long after we start our 2021 discussions. If there is a bright side to 2020, it’s the realigning, or rediscovering, of our passions and finding new ways to pursue them in the day-to-day. And that’s a mentality I hope to take into the new year.
So let’s dive into my 2020 picks. As always, nine favorites and nine honorable mentions. Side note: I can’t remember a year in which it was this hard to separate a few albums from the greater pack, and that’s probably the result of offering myself the opportunity to truly embed myself in these albums. There was just so much quality presented this year, and delivered over such an expansive spectrum. Just another part of the ridiculous journey that was 2020, I suppose. Anyway…
For this episode we go all in with most of the staff for our best of 2020 picks. We hit the high notes of what tickled our fancies for the year that was a shitstorm and even welcomed in a new member to the family. So, buckle up for an epic episode that has a wealth of stuff you may have missed and be sure to take notes, artists we mention need your support so open up those wallets and purses.
In the meantime, 2020 looks to be tumultuous as well, but things are looking up, as I have music to look forward to and scream about at some point. Maybe, at the end of the year, I can tell you if I have succeeded in making more selective choices in music.
2020 gave us a roundhouse kick to the collective bollocks, didn’t it? In my case, it kicked me in the face and didn’t let me listen to anything – this pandemic has been bad for my mental health, and it didn’t help that grad school has continued to essentially take all my time and joy away from me. After September of this year, I just went off the radar musically and I found – much to my detriment – that I could only listen to albums I had originally invested a lot of time in. As such, my favorite albums this year are all touchstones of comfort, albums that I enjoyed heavily throughout the year. However, there is an album that made its way through these touchstones and was able to move to a spot that I didn’t think it would reach.
Welcome back to the pit of despair that has exacerbated my depression EOY list season!