Nine Circles ov… Corey’s 2017 Shows

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This past year, I was fortunate enough to attend 35 different metal performances. There were a couple of duplicates (This Will Destroy You), but for the most part each performance was unique and left an impression in its own way. So, in going back through the past year and finally deciding to tally these shows, I thought it’d be a worthwhile idea to go over some highlights. You’ve obviously seen the more detailed concert reviews the days and weeks following various shows here, but the goal here is a high level recap of my favorites. This has proven more taxing than I would have anticipated, however. Looking back now, I don’t think there was a single show that I did not get at least something out of. Regardless, in no particular order, here are nine (ten?) performances that stood out to me last year. Continue reading

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

Best of 2017: Mr. Plow

Mr Plow
Mr. Plow

Mr. Plow is a band that’s been around since 1997, a time when Fu Manchu and Kyuss were lighting up ears and minds with their heavy stoner rock. And in this long stretch of time the band has released three full lengths and are readying their fourth, Maintain Radio Silence, set for independent release on January 26. The band has always been more about the good times than negativity and this new album is more of the same in that department with rocking riffs aplenty along with some crazy catchy melodies and the title track is heavier than a 55 gallon drum of lead. The guys were nice enough to share their top music picks from 2017 with us so head inside to see what they dug this year.

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2017 Mid-Year Report, Part Deux: Managing the Overflow

immortal band
*there is no Immortal in this list.  I just really like the pic.

The style and format of the Nine Cirles ov… articles is such that we limit ourselves to nine entries on whatever topic it is we’re blathering about.  It’s a blessing and a curse: it really helps hone down what you want to cover but, as in the case of this week’s mid-year favorites it can really kill your groove, particularly when there’s so much awesome to cover in the first half of the year.

And man there’s SO MUCH GOOD STUFF OUT THERE.  Someone on Twitter mentioned how he dug the list for the simple reason that none of my choices would have made his list.  Now, after you pick yourself up off the floor in shock that sometimes (rarely, admittedly) social media can be a sensible and warm community, revel in the fact that this just reinforces the amount of quality out there so far in 2017.  So, you all good with a second course?  Let’s dig in… Continue reading