Best of 2018: Zyklonius’ List

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Ah, 2018. What an absurd, exhausting and often infuriating ride you were, with death as my ubiquitous companion and co-pilot. You entailed on one hand a near-cataclysmic series of loved ones dying around me in rapid succession, while on the other, an ever-flowing stream of metal that helped make that maelstrom somehow survivable and acceptable for yours truly.

As you, the well-informed reader, likely noticed during the course of the year, and will see again when you read further below, 2018 was a banner year for death metal of all colors and shapes, but most and especially for the boundary-pushing kind that redefines and reconfigures the entire genre. Another type of metal that really resonated with me was one of transcendence and catharsis, of dreamlike journey, cosmic marvel and triumphant rebirth. Overall, the vast array of diverse evolutionary pathways, latest career pinnacles, and dazzling artistic growth and achievement in the field of metal was a compelling sight to behold and a wondrous thing to experience.

As further proof of the excellent and exciting state of metal today, albums worthy of inclusion in the below list continued to be released until the very final days of the year, resulting in perhaps the strongest December release-wise in recent memory.

With this succinct backdrop in mind, I offer the following 23 releases as a tribute to goddess Eris. Continue reading

Initial Descent: March 25 – 31, 2018

Eagle Twin
Eagle Twin – photo courtesy of Russel Albert Daniels

Some things happened this week that made it an exceptionally good one for me, not that anyone cares. But it goes to show that there is still some good left to be had in this world, you just have to know where to find it. Or, it has to come to you. Either way, keep that chin up. Alrighty then, as we do here each week on Initial Descent we have another santa sized bag of good metal in store so let’s not waste another word… First up is Eagle Twin who break a six year silence with The Thundering Heard and, no pun intended, this thing is a thunder you’ll want to hear — doom meets blues meets a long player, get on it. Next up is some wicked power metal in the form of The Last Emperor from Judicator, we’re stoked on this one (see our coverage links contained within) and you should be too. Moving along is Exile Amongst the Ruins from Primordial and although they play it rather safe here it is still PRIMORDIAL and still epic if you catch my drift. Closing out the top four is Lychgate with their dynamic and avant-garde black metal on The Contagion In Nine Steps which may well resurface on many lists come end of year time. Make no mistake, these four are a strong start to the week’s offerings but there’s so much more waiting. Hang with us for awhile and see for yourself. Continue reading

Album Review: Lychgate – “The Contagion in Nine Steps”

lychgate - the contagion in nine steps

There’s an aspect of theatricality to black metal that lies forever intertwined with whatever home-brewed philosophy is present.  I don’t say this as a bad thing: in fact it’s a major draw to the genre, but it’s also something that’s not acknowledged enough.  Lychgate seem very aware of how they want to position both the lyrical content of their music as much as instrumentation, and on latest offering The Contagion in Nine Steps this marriage of nihilistic commentary and striking erudite metal has never been as effective.  It’s a deep and challenging record that isn’t afraid to let its dramatic moments fly.   Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 34 (3.26.2018)

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I’ve been floored by the staggering amount of releases coming at us each week. Maybe it was this way last year and my memory sucks but it seems there’s no let up in the climbing quantity of new metal. No complaints from me at all though, the more the merrier I say. Long story short, if you haven’t found at least a handful of albums to latch onto, you’re not looking hard enough. Anyway, we had a good week around the Nine Circles table and collectively we listened to a ton of music which we are sharing with you below. As per usual for a Monday morning, grab the biggest cup of coffee you can find and hit the play button on our playlist. And, don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel here. Here’s to a good week for you all, we’ll be seeing you throughout the week. Continue reading