In 2020, time became a melting flat circle and the concept of eternal recurrence became far too real, mundane and inescapable. Thankfully the high quality of metal released during the year provided solace, perspective and inspiration that helped endure the blizzard of blurring days, weeks and months. Time lost all structural integrity and meaning also in the sense that you will find full-length albums, EPs and even single-track releases on my list, owing to their excellence, innovation, enjoyability, distinct identity and sound as well the evolutionary leaps the featured bands took. The fact that I could omit from my list so many fantastic releases, from the likes of Afterbirth, Havukruunu, Mare Cognitum & Spectral Lore, Serocs, Sweven, Wake and Wills Dissolve, is simply indicative of the sheer quantity of stellar-grade metal in 2020. The list is long and full of flowery prose elaborating why these particular releases resonated with me, so enough with the prefacing.Continue reading
Next week I’ll be posting Part 1 of my annual glut of end of year posts, but there’s usually so much I enjoyed I like to spread the wealth a little bit and put some beloved but odd-man-out entries out there for you to consider. In a dumpster fire of a year like 2020, putting anything out is kind of a miracle, but the amount of quality music – let alone metal – is kind of astounding. It served as a balm when I needed to calm down, as an ignition switch when I needed to get fired up, and as a wail of despair when I didn’t think I could take much more of what life was throwing at me.
So similar to years past, any one of these could have made my final list. Maybe it was a lack of time, maybe it was something that stood as a taste instead of a meal…maybe it’s just that what I needed was served elsewhere. Doesn’t make this list any less righteous. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov…, let’s stop talking and get into the good stuff.
When a band takes over five years between albums, expectations can and should run wild, especially if your previous album stunned critics with its idiosyncratic style and unrestrained creativity, yet at the same time remained criminally unnoticed. Do you return with updates to your formula and double-down on your artistic approach or do you dilute the complexity of said formula to achieve a flavor more palatable to the masses? With Immoto, Nero di Marte tackle this dilemma decisively with mesmerizing results that reverberate hauntingly. Continue reading
Last week I was reminded that it’s always the small things, the seemingly inconsequential details that usually make the biggest impact. So much so that I’m still thinking about it. Translation here: put an emphasis on the small things and little details, trust me. Any way, NEW METAL is why we’re here and this week is the first ridiculously memorable one of 2020 so take notes. Or just read and click. Whatever. Moving on, we’ve got raunchy and raucous new stuff from Midnight, caustic blackened noise from T.O.M.B., technical death metal (not tech-death) mastery from Defiled, and sweepingly epic experimental metal from Nero Di Marte. Get some. Continue reading
Woops. We didn’t have one of these last week, because writing this up managed to completely slip my mind. My sincere apologies about that. Hopefully our cournucopia of riffs will be enough to land me back in your good graces. Thanks for being patient, and hopefully this gets your Saturday off to a good start.