Somewhere in the tangle of stoner metal and hard rock, where the sinew of heavy distortion meets the sweet muscle of melody and hook, lay the spark of what just might be my favorite kind of music. Hard, biting, but never afraid to grab onto a hook and hold on for dear life. Sometimes you want to roar and smash your head, and sometimes you just want to close your eyes, reach out to the universe and sing along loud enough to let it know you exist, you matter, and you feel the connection the music brings.
Literally no one said ‘hey, I want to read this lengthy ass intro of blah blah’s and yada yada’s’ when there’s a mountain of metal to get to. So, shall we?! I know, it’s Monday. But still, LET’S DO IT.
When I think of power metal, what I really think of is the thrashy classic metal leaning sort that Atlanta’s Paladin provide on debut full length Ascension. After being head over heels with their previous pair of shweeet demos, this surpasses my expectations and brings a mile wide grin. Weeping Choir, the fourth full length from Full of Hell, touches on nearly every facet of the band’s busy history and is one of their most ferocious outings yet; grind, death, noise, experimental, the list could go on but you get the idea and you know they rule so, do that – choirs will definitely weep. Lo-Pan just continue to be one of the most exciting bands in heavy rock today and on Subtle they put an exclamation mark on that statement and are anything but subtle. Last up top is the legendary Saint Vitus with their first full length in seven years and ninth overall, Saint Vitus, AND with Scott Reagers back behind the mic. Personally, I was stoked for this thing and even though it’s not one of their best it is very good and I’m enjoying it. Your mileage may vary, etc etc.
And here we are. A few more pages of the book before it closes.
Two thousand and seventeen years after we decided to start again at zero it feels like a reset is needed more than ever. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the collective chaos and suppurating hate that seemingly fills the space between the molecules in our media, our politics, and our increasingly hostile behavior toward each other. That poison surrounds but has yet to work its way into my bloodstream. It’s a selfish ask, entirely due to my own weaknesses, insecurities and inability to take the steps needed to be just a little better each day: as a husband, a father, a writer, a musician, but most of all as a human being. It’s been a challenging year, and I have a long road ahead if I want to keep on having challenging years, let alone any years.
More than ever it was music that kept my head above water, allowed a glimmer of land to guide me ashore. Continue reading →
Do we even do mid year lists around here? I debated with myself (eeewww) for hours about doing one, but having just run the tally of albums I checked out this year I realized 1) now was as good a time as any to sit down and stock of what stuck in my ears so far in 2017 and 2) I needed a topic for the next Nine Circles ov… anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone and highlight some of the great releases from the first half of the year?
And let’s be clear: there’s a lot to check out. I have 251 albums sitting in my 2017 folder right now and I’ll be the first to admit there’s no way in Hell I devoted the attention some of these releases deserved, which is probably why mid year lists change so much by the time the end of the year rolls around. What didn’t stick now may stick later, the chemical makeup in your brain undergoes a subtle shift and HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME…you get the picture. So consider this a snapshot: if the quality of these nine releases are anything to go by, metal is having another great year – so great I have an album on here you all will cry our isn’t even remotely metal – and will only get get better as the year moves along. Let’s do this.
We all have our sweet spot. That trigger point where drums, guitar, bass and vocals come together to strike that hidden part of you, the place you hide from others, the synapse that only fires when the perfect combination hits, and thank the Metal Gods for that because when it hits me I jump up and start dancing and shaking my head like an utter fool.