Initial Descent: June 5 – 11, 2022


New week and another new list of incoming metal. This is my one and only favorite thing about any given Monday and gets the pump primed for Friday. Or, something like that. Anyway, we’ve got much to explore here as we kick things off with a long awaited return from Kreator who are still the undisputed titans of thrash, an extreme take on black / death metal from Vølus, a nasty compilation of sorts from Fluids and just because it’s a comp doesn’t mean you get to sleep on it so DON’T, death metal that stings the nostrils from Severe Torture, and a whole heap of other stuff you need in your life. Happy hunting and see you here throughout the week…

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Album Review: Watain – “The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain”

Watain - The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain

Oh, Watain…where have you been? It’s been a little over four years since your return to the fold offering of Trident Wolf Eclipse…an album whose title signified those things you associated with your b(r)and. It’s safe to say I wasn’t over the moon with it. Now you come back with the even more outlandish (and frankly wonderful title) The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain. Sirs. You have evoked your own name in your title, and not eponymously, either. Not to mention the trials and tribulations of the great Michelangelo. What I am saying, gentlemen, is that you have either set yourselves up for a fall or you had a sneaking suspicion that your latest album is your best in a long while. Well, after careful review and consideration I am of the mind that it is most certainly the latter. This, my friend, is the bee’s knees.

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Initial Descent: February 13 – 19, 2022


Every time I see another news blip that Chris Barnes has opened his mouth, I shake my head and wonder why he’s even talking. For a guy that hasn’t put out a good death metal album in 23 years, he sure can talk some stupid shit. So, in case you missed it, just type it in the search bar and read up for a good laugh. MOVING ON… speaking of good excellent death metal, Immolation are back with a beast of an album and again, I get to knock off another preorder for one of my highly anticipated releases. Much excite. The death metal rolls on with speed freaks Schizophrenia and techies The Last of Lucy, Pike vs The Automaton lands and it’s absolutely Matt Pikeian (good, good thing), and we close with tons more in the list below. By the way, death metal ain’t dead folks. It’s just getting better everyday.

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All In: Nine Circles ov 2021 — The Staff’s Combined List

Best of 2021

Greetings everyone, and welcome to Best of 2021 season! News to no one, this year was a flaming bag of feces everywhere else except for the land of metal. We definitely had a pop off valve for releasing all the pent up frustrations in the form of every single kind of metal available and from all across the globe. Bands were bigger, madder, and grander than ever before and made believers out of all of us in one way or another. We’ve already kicked off some Honorable Mentions lists, but before we roll into our individual MAIN lists, we’re kicking the season off with our combined staff list. First a reminder of how this all works…

But, first; this is typically a Tuesday post for the one of you paying attention. However, it’s EOY season so who cares. NOW, like last year and previous years, each member of the Nine Circles staff (well, most of them), chose their nine favorite albums (inclusive of EPs), listed in order, and up to nine honorable mentions. Obviously, branding counts. A scoring system was applied to the rankings. For example, one person’s first place album received 10 points, the second received 9, so on and so forth… and all honorable mentions received 1 point. Then, combining the scores between everyone’s lists, we have ourselves a Nine Circles ov 2021, brought to you by, well, everyone.

We’re keeping the thing we did in previous years, which is: crowning a label of the year, using the same scoring process as above. Clearly the highest honor in the industry. Who claimed this title for 2021? You’ll have to wait until the very end.

Anyway, that’s all simple enough, right? Right. Enough reading, let’s get into it…

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Initial Descent: November 14 – 20, 2021


And…we’re back. No idea where the last week has gone, feels like we just did this. To top that off, we’re getting close to another year in the books which is wild. Anyway, this is a year that even the naysayers will have to admit there’s been at least a handful or so every week that’s been in top shelf category. How many will make it to the best of lists out of those…who knows. But, we’ve got more to add to that pile this week starting with the best all around example of doomed heavy metal Khemmis has ever done, a pair of essential black metal albums from Der Weg Einer Freiheit and Stormkeep, an equally essential tech death return from Obscura, and several more in the list that follows. You know what to do, get after it.

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