There are albums you immediately love, and albums you immediately don’t. Sometimes you come around, sometimes you don’t and sometimes you don’t even try. Last night after listening to the newly released remix of Heartless, one of my favorite albums of the last decade I decided to give Forgotten Days, my White Whale of *shrug* from Pallbearer one more try. Something clicked, and I found myself drawn into a record in ways I haven’t in a long time. Might have been the cold medicine, but suddenly there was a richness and depth I could never hear before, and now I happily can’t un-hear it. So you’ll excuse me if I click off the 282nd edition of the Nine Circles Playlist with the opening track of my new favorite record.
From there we move onto the sea with live music from The Ocean, and then the rest of the staff brings the noise with new tracks from Bear, Grant the Sun, Aridus, Erdve, and the might return of Corrosion of Conformity and Khemmis. Elsewhere we have tracks from Atriarch, Godflesh, and Wolves in the Throne Room. Still here? There’s also music from Death Goals, Trespasser, Thyrfing, a blast of Greek power metal from Sacred Outcry and to round things out we’re tacking on the complete new left turn space odyssey album from Krallice.
Maul, the death metal crew out of North Dakota, have signed on with 20 Buck Spin. Better yet, they have a mini release coming later this year and a ton of live dates between the start of April and the end of June.
Another Saturday is upon us which means another mixtape of tunes we haven’t been able to get enough of this past week. For this edition we’ve got Krisiun and some classics from Opeth and Grand Magus, new Rivers of Nihil, Deafheaven, Lingua Ignota, Bizarre, and a ton more. Take this playlist with you wherever you go and for whatever you’re doing today, it’s fit for warriors, players, drinkers…and everyone in between.
We all know that 2020 was a very unpleasant year (to say the least). You don’t need me to list all the ways it was awful. We are all painfully aware of the details, and even more so as we look back at our 2020 new year’s resolutions we had made (travel more, drink less; you know). So enough of that, let’s focus on a bit of positivity and good that emerged from the past 12 months. For instance, there were so many new and wonderful musical releases that I could not even keep up. Every new album I listened to brought some joy, some goosebumps, and some pain—but in a good, cathartic way. As usual, my super indecisive self had a difficult time narrowing down the list of favorites. I managed to finally settle(ish) on a list. These selections are different (with the exception of my number one pick) from when I weighed in on the group list and different on the EOY Podcast episode—apologies for the inconsistency but, again, I’m indecisive (and also anxious).
Here are my top 13 as of this moment (because I love all things spooky, and c’mon, we’ve already had all the bad luck brought upon us) and a little list of some nonmetal favorites.
Ah, the big one. I’ve been looking forward to writing this for a while, but I also can’t help but feel like there’s no way I could possibly put everything I loved about music in 2020 into enough words to satisfy myself. If I had enough time or gumption to make a list that was twenty or thirty albums long, I still don’t think that would be enough. So much great music happened amid the Unpleasantness, and I think more than ever it was worth paying attention to all of it, whether for excitement or escape or transcendentalism or catharsis. For me, losing a twice-daily commute meant that I had to be an active listener to the music I chose to put on, and I think that made the releases that stood out to me stand out all the more. Plus, being a part of the team here has been a literal dream come true, and I had more access than ever to quality releases. Without further ado, here are the ones I’ve fallen for the hardest.