Best of 2017: Some stuff Dan liked this year!

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Hey y’all, it’s been a minute! More accurately, it’s been about 221,000! Over the last four months, when I haven’t been watching the world rapidly start to resemble a toilet overflowing with diarrhea, I’ve been slaving away at my first semester of nursing school. Which has meant that finally, after a solid 2-3 years in a row of telling myself, “I’m gonna listen to less music this year,” I actually did listen to less music this year! My best estimate is…probably 165 albums? Maybe 170? Still a bunch, but down more than a hundred from each of the last couple of years. MISSION [SORTA] ACCOMPLISHED.

On the other hand, this puts me in something of an odd position when it comes to picking my “Best of 2017.” I didn’t listen to as much music. I deleted my Twitter and reduced my overall social media presence by, conservatively, 75% — which, by the way, was a fucking AMAZING life decision that I recommend all of you try — so I had neither a steady stream of albums-you-must-hear-or-you-will-be-shunned crossing my radar screen, nor the urge to seek out even more obscure albums that I could shun others for not having heard. Oh, and also, most of my favorite albums this year were from outside the metal genre. Me putting this list together and claiming it to be THE BEST OF 2017 would be a little delusional.

So, that’s why I’m not doing that. Okay fine, I’ve made a list and ordered it — alphabetically, because EAT IT, BIG RANKINGS — but that’s it. This is just some stuff I listened to and happened to really enjoy this year. Authoritativeness be damned. (Or left for the folks over at Last Rites.) Let’s jump in.

A note before beginning:

This list is going to focus on the metal portion of this year’s listening. (And perhaps, in some cases, the metal-adjacent.) So, even though Ulver put out my favorite album of the year in any genre with The Assassination of Julius Caesar, you’re not going to see that thing in this post. Same with Anathema. Same with…I dunno, Steven Wilson, or The War on Drugs, or other contributions from pretty-blatantly-not-metal artists. If time permits, I’ll do a year-end Rainbows in the Dark recap. (Maybe.) But this is my metal list, and it shall be kept metal. Now, all that said…

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Best of 2017: Chris’s Honorable Mention List

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Hello there, online metal community.  How you holding up?  List fatigue setting in yet?  If so sorry: this is in no way going to help. My first year writing for Nine Circles resulted in listening to over 500 albums – I won’t even begin to pretend they all got a fair shake, but they all got at least one listen.  The sheer glut of music that passed through my ears was like an awakening, helping me to better understand what it was music did for me, what I needed it to do for me.  I found albums that mesmerized on first listen only to fade quickly, and albums I initially dismissed only to find their hooks in me months later, and it’s these surprise revelations that keep me listening, keep me writing, and keep me so engaged with this beast we call metal.

You’d think doing a Top 25 would be sufficient to cover all the bases, but it feels like it doesn’t even make a dent into the great music that sustained me over the course of the year.  And so, if you’ll indulge me, here’s an extra 15 albums that warrant honorable mention.  Think of them as #26-40 (hey, if Decibel can do it…), in any order you like, though they’re alphabetical below.  Let’s dig in…   Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…2017: A Mid-Year Report

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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.

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Donuts & CANTO: Danzig, Marduk, Otep and more!

glenn danzig
Glenn Danzig

June 23, 2017

Good morning, it’s time to metal. Here’s some news you might have missed from the last couple of days:

    • Leading off, Glenn Danzig has revealed he’ll be playing Danzig III: How the Gods Kill in full at this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago. At this point, is there any more crazy shit for Glenn to pull out of his hat for Riot Fest?

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Initial Descent: March 5 – 11, 2017

Lock Up
Lock Up

Quick reminder before we get into this amazing week in metal: we gain our days back tomorrow so don’t be a knucklehead and use the “I forgot to set my clock right” excuse at work on Monday, just saying. Now for the goods: everyone’s favorite grind/death metal veterans Lock Up return with Demonization and, with a new frontman in Kevin Sharp, to say they’ve hit the biggest homerun of their career is an understatement — hearing is believing so get to it. Even though Engulfed‘s debut full length Engulfed In Obscurity has been out digitally for a minute it’s set for a CD release this week which is the perfect opportunity for those of you who missed it (you boneheads) to take advantage of some extremely dense and classic sounding death metal. Atmospheric black metallers Fen return with their fifth full length Winter and this is one you’re going to want to take the time to listen to in full — trust me it’s well worth it, don’t skimp just do it. And last but not least is In the Company of Serpents with their latest full length Ain Soph Aur which finds the band fully realizing their immense doom talents amongst a backdrop of spaghetti western motifs as they explore the “true self” and what a ride it is, think of your favorite doom band mixed with an old classic western film score — yet another one you just have to hear to believe. Alright so, the first four are ridiculously good but as always there’s much, much more to explore right after the jump.

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