Nine Circles ov…Stoner and Psych Metal in 2022

Recently I created a new playlist featuring what has fast become my go-to genre when I need to bear down and get some serious groove on: the luscious low-end of stoner rock and metal (Spotify users are welcome to it here; Apple Music users can find it here). Throw some psych elements in and I’m an even happier camper. We don’t feature nearly enough of it her at Nine Circles; all too often the staff are mired in extreme noise and suffocatingly depressive odes to inner turmoil – and that’s perfectly fine…if that’s your thing. Lately it’s not mine; I’d rather get a nasty fuzzed to the heavens riff in my brain accompanied by sweet-ass vocal melodies and anthemic choruses I can shout along to as I air-guitar until my arthritic wrists cry out for reprieve.

So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… let’s highlight some of the boogie down rifftastic stoner and psychedelic rock and metal that’s all the rage in my frontal lobe, shall we?

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Nine Circles ov…Surprises and Releases That Got Away From Us

What can I say? Sometimes it’s not that the promo pile is brimming over with releases and you miss out on a few things, sometimes you just get so caught up you simply forget. You miss the signs that something you’ve been waiting for forever slips by (ahem, *Hällas*) or that one album your friend has been telling you is damn good and you need to hear it and…you don’t. Sometimes a band you love just ups and sneaks one past you without a word.

And sometimes…sometimes children…you don’t get a promo at all.

We’re not complaining; we’re a small site and we do this for the simplest of reasons, and whether or not that also happens to feed the vicious masochistic streak hiding below our tender skins well, so be it. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… let’s check out a few that got away.

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Nine Circles ov…Clearing Out This Week’s Promo Pile

The last time I did something like this was back in 2018, but maybe I need to do it more. With so much music coming out it’s easy to just sit back and cherry pick the albums you’re already anticipating and write about it. And as many of our staff focus on things other than review writing (thank the heavens for the consistent and consistently excellent output of Ian) I suspect we’re missing out on a lot of great music that just isn’t getting the attention here at Nine Circles it should. So, foolish as it may seem I called out to Fearless Editor Josh™ with my request: give me nine promos for albums coming out this week, and I’ll listen and give some semblance of commentary for them. Ambitious? Perhaps. Stupid? Almost certainly. But if it gets some visibility for some bands and gets me attuned to some new music instead of constantly digging into the bins for rock and prog circa ’69-’74 all the better. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov... let’s take a look at some of the music coming out this week.

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Nine Circles ov…What Didn’t Make My 2021 End of Year List…(But Could Have)

It starts like it does every other year, with me desperately trying to whittle down the list of incredible albums I listened to into a manageable number. Well, maybe not so manageable; I know I’m known around these parts as the guy whose lists are waaaaay too long. But there’s so much out there, so many albums that impact me in large and small ways. Maybe it’s a riff, or a chorus, or a certain vocal line. It doesn’t matter; I just know I want to acknowledge it in some way and pass it on. Maybe it will impact you, too.

You’d think a list of 40 albums – my “official” Top 25 ranked list and an Honorable Mention list of 15 other albums in alphabetical order would be enough (it is for Decibel). But it never is. So for the past few years I’ve tacked on an additional nine albums that may not have made my lists for various reasons, but I still love and want to put on your radar. It’s never too late too discover something. Time may move ever forward, but these great records will forever be here for you to discover. 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 2021…but maybe should have.

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Nine Circles ov…Black Metal in 2021

Sometimes it takes a little distance to bring you back to something. I spent a lot of 2021 listening to music that brought me back to simpler, less depressing times. “Harsh” wasn’t something I craved as I struggled with mental and emotional health – something I’m sure many of you did as well. So black metal wasn’t on my radar as much; not a problem when you have so many other writers on staff that have the genre covered. Leave the discovery and call outs to others; I’ll be content sitting back and nursing the wounds of the world with lighter fare.

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