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 So Far: Dan’s List

nine circles

It’s been a busy half-year. After promising myself in January that I’d take it easy in 2016 and be more selective with the music I listened to, I proceeded to listen to roughly 125 albums in the first six months of the year. (You know, after listening to 170 all of 2015 and thinking that was too much.)

At any rate, I’ve done enough of these over the years for you to know the drill. I’m doing a Top 10, followed by 10 honorable mentions. A full sixth of my album listening in one post? So be it. As always, I’ll keep the blurbs for each album brief so as not to become tedious. Yada yada yada. Now let’s jump into the list…

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Initial Descent: April 1, 2016

moonsorrow band 2016

Happy Friday, kids! Q1 is officially over, and I’ve decided I hate metal.

…kidding. Because it’s April 1. Duh. But either way, we’ve got a sneaky busy week for new metal albums. Nowhere near as crazy as last week — how could it be??? — but still a nice mess of things to listen to. Moonsorrow, Graves at Sea… hell, even Babymetal has some new stuff out today, if that’s your thing. So let’s jump on in. Here’s what’s on tap for Friday, April 1:
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CANTO: A new video from Moonsorrow, updates from Overkill, Iron Maiden, and more!

Moonsorrow

“Mountains shall move and streams return to their wells. These hands no longer grasp the power they once held. This ground is soiled by those before me and their lies. I dare not look up for on me I feel their eyes.”

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey

CANTO: Updates from Moonsorrow, Skeletonwitch, and a new project called Katla

moonsorrow

I’m on a bus. I’m on a bus. Bored out of my mind. Doing Canto before drinking with NYC people. I’m on a bus.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– Corey