If there’s one thing to know about my musical taste, it’s that Enslaved is my all-time favorite band. If Enslaved has one fan then I’m that one, if Enslaved has no fans I am dead, you get the idea. From the early days of lightning fast riffs and blast beats galore to the masterful blending of black and prog metal that has defined (but not constrained) them for over 20 years, and the multilayered ways in which Norse mythology and mysticism present themselves in their lyrics and album concepts, Enslaved encapsulate everything I love about heavy music. Ivar Bjørnson and Grutle Kjellson prove time and again that the band they founded as teens in 1991 will never compromise or tread the same paths twice, yet always remain consistent. With the release of their sixteenth full-length album Heimdal almost upon us, there’s no better time to revisit nine realms of the Enslaved saga.Continue reading
We’re back, exactly 365 days from the last time I kicked off my run of End of Year tomfoolery. And I’m not gonna lie: this year the wear of listening to and giving time, consideration, and word to so many albums is taking more than a little toll. At 40 years and counting of being obsessed with music I can still feel the flush of discovering something new, but I think I’m quicker to make the call on whether I’ll continue to listen to something or not. And I admit the pull of the nostalgic, the familiar, the comfort is stronger than it’s ever been.
That hasn’t stopped me from finding joy from a lot of records: You’re still getting altogether a list of 40 albums – my “official” Top 25 ranked list and an Honorable Mention list of 15 other albums in alphabetical order (if Decibel can list 40 than so can I). And just like in years past I’ve tacked on an additional nine albums that didn’t make my lists for various reasons, but I still love and want to put on your radar. The reasons why are fickle and unique, and time being the great equalizer means these omissions may come back to haunt me…lord knows they have in the past. That’s the great thing about lists – they’re snapshots of a moment and never written in stone. Well, maybe one list was, but these are far from commandments. They’re just more great albums to get excited about.
Once more into the breach. Forget labels. Forget hype and marketing. Take a look (better yet, take a listen) to this edition of Nine Circles ov… and see what didn’t make my list for 2022…but could have.Continue reading
It happens like it does every year: things fall through the cracks, promos don’t arrive, or we simply didn’t have the capacity to cover everything we want to cover, let alone everything that comes out in a calendar year. At this point folks are finalizing end of year lists and maybe – just maybe – some of these records will be represented on them, and so some accounting was in order. Or it could just be that we needed some content this week, so I went through my folder of 2022 music and picked nine albums to briefly opine on for this latest edition of Nine Circles ov…
You decide.Continue reading
I most certainly do not need to go into detail about all the chaos and confusion that has existed in the world over the past three years. 2022 has been especially filled with new challenges and uncertainties, to the point where now I just throw my hands in the air and laugh as it all keeps piling up. Chaos. And confusion. But those that know me, know that I have few specific pursuits each day that help me keep at least some order in all of this. One of those, of course, is this blog. And a second one is running. Which is what brings us here today.Continue reading
Can’t a guy take a few weeks off with dozens upon dozens of new albums being scattered into the winds? Thank the heavens for Ian and Angela, who covered (and covered me) with reviews of Ithaca, Imperial Triumphant, and Wailin Storms so I was able to read up and listen while burning to a crisp in Mexico. But – like every week – that was just the tip of the iceberg for heavy music, so for this edition of Nine Circles ov… let’s play a quick game of catch-up with a bunch of releases from the past two weeks we didn’t cover on the site.
I have coffee and copious amounts of aloe vera applied to various appendages. Let’s do this.Continue reading