Nine (or so Heavily Qualified) Circles ov…2021: A Mid-Year Report

2021 mid-year report

Wait…so the guy who only wrote a total of 10 freakin’ reviews this year thinks he has any weight when it comes to a mid-year report? Well, uh…I guess that’s why I put the “heavily qualified” in the title of this post?

But seriously, I’ll be the first to admit that metal hasn’t really been my #1 go-to when it comes to music lately, but like everything else, what you see on the Internet never tells you the whole story. I haven’t been writing nearly as much about the genre lately, but I have been listening. Listening, and refining. Finding the things that really resonate despite the press and the push of PR, or what the pundits tell you on the 1,001 other sites out there scrambling for clicks. And what I’ve discovered is that more and more I’m coming to the sounds that drew me to the genre: thrash riffs, lots of melody, and tasty solos. So yeah: expect some old school bands putting out great records more than 30 years into their existence here. And maybe a few newer bands as well.

Is that qualified enough for ya? Then let’s dig in.

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Album Review: Alustrium — “A Monument To Silence”

Alustrium - A Moment to Silence

In a short amount of time, I have come to appreciate the intricacies of progressive death metal, especially since it has been doing incredibly well during a pandemic, where death is rampant and trauma is at its height. While things are slowly improving, it still feels like a sense of dread hangs over this newfound normalcy, and all one can want is a sense of silence. A lot of albums released last year seemed to deal with what happens when trauma is left unchecked, leaving you feeling hollow and as if you have no one to rely on. However, underneath that hollowness stands a sense of hope that’s slowly gaining traction, and that makes you want to get out of bed in the morning. If last year was about the heaviness of trauma, then Alustrium’s A Monument to Silence, an album that seems to straddle the line between experimentation and melody, is about making the decision to deal with that trauma.

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TECHNICALLY INCLINED, Episode 5: Cerebrum’s “Iridium”

Technically Inclined is back! And Hera — having NOW (but not at the time of recording) newly completed grad school — has rejoined the fold once again! And this time out, we’re talking about Greek progressive death crew Cerebrum and their third album, Iridium.

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Cryptosis’s Frank te Riet on “Bionic Swarm,” Metal in the Netherlands, Switching Names (and Direction), Soccer, and Much More!

Bionic Swarm, the debut from Cryptosis has become an early favorite for many of the staff at Nine Circles.  Jamming together old school thrash, progressive death metal, and a healthy dose of symphonic black metal in its arrangements, it’s the kind of debut that instantly slams into your skull and rewires your brain. 

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Embracing the Descent: February 14 – 20, 2021

EMBRACING TEMP LOGO

Hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since I did one of these. This probably matters to no one, but that’s a long time and I miss the mini-review format. So, I’m sitting here having the first drink of the evening and I want to tip this glass back many times, listen to metal, and say some stuff about it. And, all of it will be pulled from the current crop of incoming releases. The deeper in I get, my glass will go from full to empty at least a couple, or three, times so results may vary. Let’s do this and don’t forget to check out the full listing from Monday’s Initial Descent

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