Last year, I supplied a list of 20 albums, thinking that I would be able to shorten to ten by the time list season came around. As it would turn out, even the best-laid plans can be upended, so I am back in EOY list hell.
Welcome to slowly wondering if I was too hasty in writing my lists EOY list season!
You know the drill: there are 20 albums here, and I reviewed some of them. Eps are off the list, which means Epica’s brilliant The Alchemy Project will not be here. With this is mind, this list is divided into four parts, which are as follows:
the nebulous, where any of those albums’ placements could be placed anywhere at any time
the hypothetical, where the albums’ placements are more concrete, but can also be moved around
the theoretical, where the albums’ placements have been solidified
the top album of the year. Please start placing your bets.
Also, please note: I submitted a previous list to our benevolent editors, which you’ll see soon. Since then, and even while writing this list, I have made so many changes in placement because I couldn’t decide where they all fit in the grand scheme of things. With this, I now present the fruits of my labor.
We’re back, and it feels like Spring is really starting to take a hold. I’ve been re-organizing my vinyl collection the past few days, figuring out just where the hell everything is going to fit and how I’m going to explain to my wife why I need to take over another room before the next stack arrives. First world problems to be sure, but that doesn’t mean I can’t use it to kick off the 225th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist, you know?
We’re gonna kick things off with some of the surprises I’ve discovered the last week, starting with new music from Michael Romeo, who brings the heavy prog I crave from Symphony X on his new solo joint. Anton ups the tech factor with some ripping new Inanimate Existence and follows it up with Luminous Vault and Lustmord collaborating with The Ocean. Josh digs into the dank earth of death metal to give light to Analepsy, Visceral Explosion, and Flesh Configuration before shaking things up a bit with Downcross and Real Steel. Vincent goes wide as usual with the newest single from Devil Master, Tzompantli, Falls of Rauros and deep cut from the Pieces of April soundtrack by Stephin Merrit. Hera returns to the playlist and brings Ibaraki, Ghost, Terzij de Horde, Playgrounded, Sadist, and something I’m assuming is called You May Kiss the Bride? I don’t know..it’s heavy though! Next up is Angela bringing some long awaited new music from Meshuggah as well as Frayle, Amenra, and Bhleg. Once again bringing up rear guard is Buke, and he’s chock full of great stuff, from the new Haunt single to some real old classic Opeth, Morbid Angel, Ripping Corpse, Autopsy, and finally some truly classic prog in the way of the might Emerson, Lake & Palmer.
The hunt for impressive post-metal continues. With Pelagic once again delivering the goods, it seems I found an album to rival the unmatched energy of Hippotraktor’s Meridian. As a growing enjoyer of post-metal I am constantly looking to expand my knowledge of the genre through whatever I can get my hands on – and in the new album by Playgrounded I have struck gold. With their third album in tow, The Death of Death mixes the band’s prog influences into a warm blanket of post-metal and electronica that connects seamlessly and just makes sense on a first listen.
Say goodbye, February. I wish I could say goodbye to the panic, the anxiety, and the fear as well, but tyrants are gonna tyrant, I guess. At least there’s music to keep us from falling over the brink, so let’s just jump into the 220th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist, and do what we can to stay informed, stay sane, and make what small differences we can to make this planet better for everyone.
I’m framing the playlist out with some Scatterbrain, because that describes my mental state at the moment and quite frankly it’s the music I needed to lighten the mood up. Anton brings in Ernia, Mass Worship, and Playgrounded. Josh mixes it up with Analepsy, Atoll, Black Flag and some vintage Dokken, among others. Vincent continues falling for Mitski and toe, but also rages with Worm and the new Falls of Rauros. Angela features the latest from Messa, Celeste, and Trna as well as a banger from Oathbreaker. And Buke? Buke goes with the latest from Spirit Adrift and Evil Invaders, but then hits the wayback button for some Candlemass, Dark Angel, Mercyful Fate, and Megadeth.