Best of 2019: Chris’s List

Best of 2019

Fourth verse, same as the first?  Or second, or third for that matter?

This is my fourth End of Year List for Nine Circles, and the more the music changes, the more the sentiment stays the same.  With each new dance partner our hands clasp; our eyes lock and I see and hear and ask the same thing:  What does this do for me?  What does it mean?  Why this, and not something else?

I tried to spend this year answering those questions, particularly the last one.  In a year where I finally acknowledged that – while still important and cherished – metal was no longer the driving musical force in my life, I wanted to understand why the metal that I was drawn to impacted me.  What was it about the way this riff, or that vocal line, or that lyric touched me in a way maybe some other song, track, or album didn’t? Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…2019: A Mid-Year Report

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Anyone feel oppressed by the ridiculous heat blasting through the Northeast?  It almost makes you want to take a month off of writing for a website.  I kid, but in truth I needed some time because the amount of quality metal that has been coming out this year has been INSANE.  Label faves like Season of Mist and Gilead have been routinely hitting it out of the park, but great music has been crawling out of every nook and cranny, and it’s dizzying to be caught up in the middle of it.  I had a list of about 14 I wanted to throw on here, but in keeping with the nature of the column I stuck to nine, all released this year before 7/1, and all on Bandcamp, because dammit let’s support artists with dollars, not fractions of pennies (plus it makes the formatting nice).

So here’s a glimpse of where my head is currently at.  We’ll see where these land come end of year, but right now they’re red hot and in constant rotation in my ears.  Onward. Continue reading

Receiving the Evcharist: Laster and Gingergrass Cider

Receiving the Evcharist 2018

Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations.  Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Laster’s Het Wassen Oog and Golden State Cider Company’s Gingergrass Cider.   Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 74 (04.06.2019)

playlist - mixtape

Like Stephen Tyler said, ‘I’m back in the saddle again.’  Thanks to Josh for once again picking up this column while I was off on my sojourn to the Pacific Northwest.  I fought no demon hordes in my tenure there (although I did steal a couple souls…), just a lot of hiking, sightseeing, and stuffing my face with doughnuts and beer.  As all good vacations should be.  And now, back to business.  We have a ton of good tunes for you on this week’s playlist, so dive right in and see what’s been running through our collective headphones lately.

– Vincent

Best of 2017: Vincent’s List

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Welcome back to part two of my best of 2017 series.  Last time I talked about my favorite shorter releases from the past year in an effort to shine light on some things that might have otherwise not gotten the respect they deserved.  Now comes the meat of the series: my favorite full-length albums.  Figuring out this list was a pretty exhausting process, not only because I listened to significantly more full-lengths than I did shorter releases this year, but because I wanted to make an effort to challenge myself when it came to thinking about what really stuck with me.  In 2016, my criteria for what I chose to include on my year-end list was more simplistic, and no disrespect is meant to anyone who writes 50 or 100 album lists of everything they thought was cool, but for this year, I wanted to really think about whether or not an album had a genuine impact on me versus just listening to it and thinking it was good.  As such, I ended up with a slightly shorter list this time around, and some albums and artists I liked did not end up making it on here, but I feel like this list is the most real representation of my “favorites” than ever.  Without further ado… Continue reading