The Third Circle of Bandcamp: March 2020 Edition

third circle of Bandcamp header

How are you all holding up? Is the isolation driving you crazy? Do you miss your friends and family? Are you tired of joggers not maintaining social distance? Regardless, I hope you and yours are well during what can only be described as the biggest event any of us will ever live through. And I do hope we live through it. But enough about what’s happening outside, you are here to have some metal drilled directly into your ear holes! So to the point! Continue reading

Album Review: Spectral Lore & Mare Cognitum — “Wanderers: The Astrology of the Nine”

Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum - Wanderers: Astrology of the Nine

Do you like black metal? Concept albums? Sprawling epics created by musicians dedicated to their craft? What about space and the cosmos? Did you spend a period of your life obsessed with Holst’s The Planets? Ever thought that what The Planets needed was a complete re-imagining driven by all of the above? Well then, Mare Cognitum & Spectral Lore have got you covered with Wanderers: The Astrology of the Nine.

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Initial Descent: March 8 – 14, 2020

Smoulder
Smoulder

Ah yes. On time, once again. I know you missed that Monday fix but at least you got it by Friday and what can I say, life you know. Anyway, last week was fairly packed but this week? Ha, PACKED like a huge moving truck with new metals so let’s get to it. Smoulder, who had one of the biggest trad metal hits of last year are back with an EP and it has bonus materials, score. Spectral Lore and Mare Cognitum team up on a fiery foray into astral black metal, Lychgate continue their wicked take on all things extreme, and The Goners put the good time in fuzz fueled doom. As always, much more to follow so crack that can of whoop ass and enjoy. Continue reading

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: Zyklonius’ List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

I am writing this intro blurb on Christmas eve, on Lemmy’s birthday and almost exactly a year after his death. Today, the largest newspaper in Finland published a fascinating article discussing Lemmy’s life (unfortunately in Finnish). The article’s lead paragraph notes the failure of humanity to carry on without Lemmy and the shockwave his death created, paving the way for 2016 in all its depressing grimness. Continue reading