Nine Circles ov…2017: A Mid-Year Report

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Do we even do mid year lists around here?  I debated with myself (eeewww) for hours about doing one, but having just run the tally of albums I checked out this year I realized 1) now was as good a time as any to sit down and stock of what stuck in my ears so far in 2017 and 2) I needed a topic for the next Nine Circles ov… anyway, so why not kill two birds with one stone and highlight some of the great releases from the first half of the year?

And let’s be clear: there’s a lot to check out.  I have 251 albums sitting in my 2017 folder right now and I’ll be the first to admit there’s no way in Hell I devoted the attention some of these releases deserved, which is probably why mid year lists change so much by the time the end of the year rolls around.  What didn’t stick now may stick later, the chemical makeup in your brain undergoes a subtle shift and HOLY SHIT THIS IS THE GREATEST ALBUM OF ALL TIME…you get the picture.  So consider this a snapshot: if the quality of these nine releases are anything to go by, metal is having another great year – so great I have an album on here you all will cry our isn’t even remotely metal – and will only get get better as the year moves along.  Let’s do this.

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Donuts & CANTO: Pain, Nine Inch Nails, Guns ‘n’ Roses and more!

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Pain mastermind Peter Tagtgren

June 6, 2017

Good morning, it’s time to metal. Here’s some news you might have missed from yesterday:

    • Let’s lead off with something that should make our Literati Overlord quite happy: Peter Tagtgren’s industrial project Pain has announced its first-ever North American tour. However, it’s not a very big one — just nine dates in all, supporting Orphaned Land.

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Album Review: Unleash The Archers – “Apex”

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Since 2014 power metal has been making a furious comeback. Sure, bands like Helloween, Blind Guardian and HammerFall have been releasing solid records, but this revival has truly been initiated thanks to many new — or newish — bands creating and sharing their art. It’s generally an old-school sound with more modern metal ingredients added. One of the leaders of this resurgence are power metallers Unleash The Archers. The Vancouver-based quintet made waves with their 2015 offering Time Stands Still and have opened the eyes of the metal world with the combination of majestic lyrics, an epic yet massive sound and a steady dose of beautiful yet punishing vocals. With their new album Apex they “unleash” one of the best metal albums in recent memory. Simply put: Apex is absolutely spectacular! Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…”Obscure” Metal Records We Didn’t Review in 2017 (Until Now)

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We here at Nine Circles endeavor to bring to you, our devoted readers, as much razor sharp insight and commentary into the hidden pockets, nooks, and crevices the extreme metal world can offer.  We have burrowed into the underground scenes of Singapore and the Philippines, profiled some of the best and darkest metal labels around, and even reviewed a record or two.

But even our exacting eye and archeological know-how can’t dig up every release that comes out in a year.  Sometimes things get lost in the panoply of splits, reissues, cassette only demos and 800g quadruple sided splattered with the tears of an angel vinyl exclusive.  Who knows how these obscure nuggets missed our Sauron gaze? Lack of marketing funds? Little social media presence?  It doesn’t matter, for in today’s edition of Nine Circles ov… I attempt to shed some light on these obscure, little known bands…

…Lord knows they could use the exposure.   Continue reading

The Nine Circles Audio Thing: Frank S. Talks Some Power Metal!

Yyyyyep! That’s what we’re calling this thing now! What we’ve got for you today isn’t really a podcast, because it’s not part of an RSS feed, and thus not automatically delivered to your podcasting apps. It’s kind of an interview / review in one, I guess? Yes. But nobody wants to call it that, so hence, you’re getting The Nine Circles Audio Thing and dammit, you’re gonna like it.

No, really, you are; we’ve got an awesome chat with power metal guru and Nine Circles contributor Frank Santorelli! Frank took a break from his busy schedule — the dude’s prepping for a move to Italy!! — to discuss two recent power metal albums that crossed his earholes: Aldaria‘s Land of Light and Astral Doors‘ Black Eyed Children. Call it an “Ask the Expert” discussion, if you will? Or don’t; I don’t really care. But check it out either way! Continue reading