Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2021

Best of 2021

I am the Scholar of the First Sin, and I have insight to give.

Last year, my list was short and to the point, as I spent more time listening to music that gave me respite and comfort than to new releases. This meant that, once I had more time on my hands, I was finally able to go out and see what I had missed. The fact that I can’t include Dark Tranquility’s Moment, an album that deserves more attention, on this list because it came out last year fucking kills me.

Despite the Omicron variant (at this time) destroying all hope for a small sense of normalcy, 2021 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. After many bands either couldn’t tour because of the onset of the pandemic or postponed a lot of their releases, this year provided us with new music, which meant that a lot of vetting had to happen in order for me to make this list. After graduation, I suddenly had more time than I ever had to do with and decided to dive deep into what I had been ignoring for the better part of five months.

Welcome to EOY list season!

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Best of 2021: Ian’s Honorable Mentions

Best of 2021

I really like honorable mentions.  When people talk about their favorite albums of any given year, I think I am actually more interested in by what *almost* made the cut than what took the number one spot.  It’s so interesting to see where the absolutely arbitrary line gets drawn between “the best” and “the still pretty fucking good”.  Once again, I find myself truly hashtag blessed to be in another year where there was so much good metal that I couldn’t bring myself to write just one list.  As always, just because these are honorable mentions doesn’t mean they’re not worth your time.  This list is just a musical amuse bouche before the real thing, but it is nonetheless delicious on its own.

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CANTO: Stormkeep, Shape of Despair, The Ocean, and More

I feel like I accomplished slightly more than usual today… which means I’m ready for a beer.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”

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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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 199 (10.2.2021)

playlist - mixtape

Good morning and welcome to another Nine Circles mixtape. This time around, we’ve got an excellent new collaboration between Converge and Chelsea Wolfe, Der Weg Einer Freiheit in 360 degrees, Capra live from Knotfest, and a killer audio/visual experience from Archspire. All that and more down below.