Nine (or so Heavily Qualified) Circles ov…2021: A Mid-Year Report

2021 mid-year report

Wait…so the guy who only wrote a total of 10 freakin’ reviews this year thinks he has any weight when it comes to a mid-year report? Well, uh…I guess that’s why I put the “heavily qualified” in the title of this post?

But seriously, I’ll be the first to admit that metal hasn’t really been my #1 go-to when it comes to music lately, but like everything else, what you see on the Internet never tells you the whole story. I haven’t been writing nearly as much about the genre lately, but I have been listening. Listening, and refining. Finding the things that really resonate despite the press and the push of PR, or what the pundits tell you on the 1,001 other sites out there scrambling for clicks. And what I’ve discovered is that more and more I’m coming to the sounds that drew me to the genre: thrash riffs, lots of melody, and tasty solos. So yeah: expect some old school bands putting out great records more than 30 years into their existence here. And maybe a few newer bands as well.

Is that qualified enough for ya? Then let’s dig in.

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Nine Circles ov…Recent Albums I Only Have Time to Review in One Sentence…Part III?

I mean…it may be Part III, but who’s keeping The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 178 (4.24.2021)Nine track? Anyway, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, and the metals are flying fast and furious enough that there’s a veritable cornucopia of releases worth your time. I mean, not my time…I’ve been busy, you know? Work, um…more work… that one YouTube video I’ve benn playing on repeat forever (it’s this one, by the way).

Really there’s no excuse for not enlightening you, the honorable and erudite Nine Circles reader, on my pithy and concise views of what’s been popping’ on the metal threads the last few weeks or months that our staff haven’t already covered. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… sit down and fasten those seatbelts as I once again provide one-sentence reviews of stuff that’s been floating my proverbial boat.

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Nine Circles ov…What Didn’t Make My 2020 End of Year List…(But Could Have)

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.
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Nine Circles ov…Mistakes Made on End of Year Lists

Sometimes you make a snap judgement on an album. Sometimes in the heat of the moment with the hype and the accolades you convince yourself this or that record IS deserving of a place on the list. Sometimes that record takes the place of a record you find yourself listening to constantly years later.

It happens. Even when your annual end of year list(s) top out at close to 50 records after all the hemming and hawing is over with. And so for this edition of Nine Circles ov… in preparation of the 2020 end-of-year ranking I look back at my past lists and find nine albums that, frankly, I made a mistake on.
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Nine Circles ov…Metal I Missed During Blood Red

Each year I take a break from writing about metal on this site to regale the 10-12 of you who read Blood Red with reviews on horror films from every corner of the globe.  Different sub-genres, different themes…vastly different modes of execution.

Kinda like metal, no?

Anyway, I’ve managed to vaguely keep up with some of what’s been going on in the extreme metal scene a bit, with different sounds catching my ears when I wasn’t knee-deep in Evil Dead homages and terrible, terrible remakes of mediocre horror films.  So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I wanted to say a few (very few – I’m tapped at the moment after writing over 16,000 words on horror movies) words on some metal that wasn’t coveted here on the site, but managed to stick in my ears long enough to register as something I dug.

Without further ado, let’s dive in.  Continue reading