Best of 2016: Dan’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

So yeah, this year sure sucked in a lot of ways, didn’t it?

On a personal level…where to begin? My family said goodbye to our beloved dog, Bailey. I had a rough breakup at the end of April. I got into a deeper rut in my professional life than I’d ever experienced before, which culminated in me quitting my job and leaving New York. I also, briefly, quit Nine Circles. (You didn’t think I’d stay away for good though, did you?)

And that’s just my stuff! Beyond that…well, for starters, pretty much everyone died. Prince, Alan Rickman, Phife Dawg, Craig Sager…I mean, you kind of had to know 2016 was going to be shitty on that front after we lost David goddamn Bowie when the year was scarcely a week old. And that’s all to say nothing of the other shit: escalation of racial tensions across the country, continued apathy toward a changing climate, Christmas Eve / Day and New Year’s Eve / Day both falling on Saturdays and Sundays…it was a lot, man. Oh, and we also elected the personification of an Internet comment section to the presidency. That was neat.

In spite of all that, 2016 wound up being a goddamn banner year for metal. When I first started thinking about this list, I was envisioning maybe a Top 15 – but that quickly grew to a Top 25, and then to its current incarnation: a Top 50, with 20 “ranked” albums and 30 honorable mentions, not to mention EPs. It was just impossible to whittle it down any further; that’s how good metal was this year. Hell, I had a number of albums that featured in my mid-year list that didn’t even make it into the honorable mentions section of this one!

Make no mistake, this year would have felt exponentially shittier without all of those records. In times like these, cueing up a metal record that’s driving you bonkers, throwing your head back and howling at the moon kind of becomes essential to maintaining your sanity. And you know what? Sanity was maintained. (Well, mine at least…I dunno about America’s. All the more reason for America to start listening to more damn metal.)

This year may have thrown every possible pile of feces it could at us, but you know what? We made it through anyway. We’re still here and it’s not. And that’s nothing to turn our noses at. Here are the records that helped make that happen for me:  Continue reading

Best of 2016: Vincent Martinek’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

Hey all. This has been a great year for music, made better because I got to share so much of my thoughts about what I was hearing with you, alongside the rest of the Nine Circles crew. It’s been a pleasure to work with some of the most talented people I’ve had the honor to know. Thanks to Dan and Corey for getting me started, to Josh Stewart for being a phenomenal editor, and to all the amazing people I do this with whose writing inspired me to better my own. Here’s to many more. And now that the sap is out of the way, on to the tunes.

Continue reading

Best of 2016, Q1: Dan’s List

9_header

So, yaeh…where the hell did the first three months of the year go? It’s April already? Really? Time flies when you’ve got a lot of good music to get through, and man, did we ever have that in Q1. All the death metal, and black metal, and death metal, and sludge, and death metal. Seriously, it was a good three months for death metal, y’all.

Corey and I already got started on our lists earlier this week in Episode 37 of the podcast, but now it’s time for my full breakdown. Same deal as usual from me — a Top Five, followed by five honorable mentions — so let’s dig in. Here’s my best of Q1 list: Continue reading

The Nine Circles Podcast: Episode 37

NINE-CIRCLES_LOGO-Light Background_SQUARE

It’s the first episode of Q2, and as luck would have it, neither Dan nor Corey paid much attention to metal news in the last week. So instead, they’re recapping their favorite albums from Q1! Take a listen and catch up on albums from LycusNa∂raOranssi Pazuzu and more, plus a look ahead to some highly anticipated albums slated for the next three months!

All that and…not all that much more in Episode 37 — I mean, you’ll get your Heaven and Hell, of course, because water is wet — but check it out anyway!

Also available on:

Keep it heavy,
Dan

Best of Q1: Dustin’s List

9_headerThe releases for any genre that come out in the first quarter of a given year are what usually set the precedent for the remaining nine months of music to be consumed. If a bunch of mediocre albums come out, the bar for quality (and expectations) is set low, and listeners won’t expect to be wowed anytime soon. But if solid albums come out within a year’s first quarter, we at least have the anticipation of more solid albums down the pike. As fortune would have it, the first quarter of 2016 has been stacked with great releases from both major label artists and those who are just now crossing our collective radar.   Continue reading