Album Review: Khanate — “To Be Cruel”

Few things carry as much anticipation and dread as the words “band reunites.” At this point, band reunions are less a question of “will it happen?” and more “when does it happen?”.  These reunions tend to be preceded by a lot of PR, followed by album and tour announcements building that anticipation and dread. In the year of our Lord 2023 though, Khanate surprise released a new album, To Be Cruel. This is the first album since 2009 from the doom metal supergroup comprising OLD’s James Plotkin and Alan Dubin, Sunn O)))‘s Stephen O’Malley, and Blind Idiot God’s Tim Wyskida. No build up. No PR blitz. To Be Cruel is only available digitally at the moment, and both the tour and physical releases will come. For now though, this is four people getting together to make truly exciting minimalist doom music.

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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 284 (5.20.2023)

Another Saturday, another playlist. The difference this time is the sheer amount of killer releases that came out Friday, from the covers EP by Ghost to the new blast of OSDM from Frozen Soul, to the welcome return of Yakuza and the fuzzed out mayhem of Gozu. The 284th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist is a good one, so strap yourselves in and let’s do this.

What else do your ears (and eyes for those who actually watch the videos) have in store with this week’s playlist? Well, we’ve got a bunch of surprises but how about new music from Mutoid Man, Lucifer, Blackbraid, the return of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard making metal and the Cavalera brothers reliving the early days of their former band? All that and more await just a click away.

Get listening. Stay safe. See you next week…


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

Retrospective: Khanate – “Khanate”

khanate_coverBefore doom became the cool thing, the most extreme end of its spectrum was positively terrifying. Before hordes of amp worship bands, before two-cent Electric Wizard clones with gear that costs more than the van it’s hauled in, before seemingly every new “doom” band was basically layered feedback with screams on top, before needlessly prolific outfits started churning out one collaboration right after another and captured the ears of millenials who are oblivious to the development of extreme metal and its past…. there was Khanate. Their self-titled debut scared the living hell out of me when I was 16, and even amidst the current scene’s Primitive Mans and The Bodys (Do I conjugate that to the proper plural or not?), Khanate is still the most grippingly bleak and abrasive band in doom metal, even after their demise.  Continue reading