Album Review: Elder — “Omens”

Elder - Omens

Do you like riffs? Do you like riffs so much that you feel like what you should do is interrupt riffs to add more riffs? Have you ever said to yourself “this riff needs more riffage”? Well, if that’s the case, I assume you are already familiar with Elder, but if not, Omens continues their riffy trend with cleaner vocals, more synths, and their signature articulate fuzzy guitar tone. They’ve come a long way from their early stoner doom roots with an album that is refined and masterfully produced.

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Album Review: Duende en la Penumbra — “That Same Evergreen I Love So Well, Despite the Way Its Shadows Make Me Sad”

Blast beats to melancholy drumming, tremolo picking to soft folk guitar—top it off with poetic lyrics in different languages growled, sung, and spoken, wrap it all up in a beautifully illustrated package and you get That Same Evergreen I Love So Well, Despite the Way Its Shadows Make Me Sad.  The talented NYC duo Duende en la Penumbra brings plenty to the table in this debut album.  Their unique blend of genres (black metal, folk, progressive metal, electronic, to name a few) and blend of languages (English, French, Spanish) create something intriguing and ever-changing. Continue reading

Video Premiere: Habu — “Whirlwind”

habu band

I may be jinxing myself, but it’s possible we’re heading into the warmer weather early.  Even if we’re not, my brain yearns for it, and with it the tight, melodic kind of rock that UK trio Habu bring to the table on “Whirlwind,” the leading track off their forthcoming album Distant Thunder.  I’ve made no secret of my love for the trio format, and the way the band combine to show off a potent combination of musical chops and tight songwriting craft recall the way Counterparts-era Rush could carve a swath of righteous melody without sacrificing some rigorous riffage.  Nine Circles is proud to premiere the video, which will hook itself into your ear for the foreseeable future. Continue reading

Album Review: Opeth – “In Cauda Venenum”

Opeth - In Cauda Venenum

The past is only as dead as we allow it to be.  It may be behind us, but the present reveals echoes and traces that inform the whole of our experience.  It’s been an easy hit to simply cry out that the old Opeth is dead; what remains now is a vague simulacrum, going through the motions in a pale imitation of vague and obscure heroes of yesteryear.  But there’s another view, one where a band sheds its skin but the bones remain, framing a personal and vital change in direction that comes to full blossom with new album In Cauda Venenum.  It’s not just another step in the band’s ongoing evolution, it’s a firm realization of where they want to be.  Continue reading

Album Review: Soen – “Lotus”

soen - lotus

Soen have always played in that space that blurs the distinctions between genre classification: are they metal?  Rock?  They’re certainly progressive, but are they so progressive to be considered “progressive” metal?  Or rock for that matter?  The good news is that on fourth record Lotus continues to not care about labels, opting to let the emotional core of their music carry through.  Others can opt to argue what it sounds like; to these ears, it simply sounds like Soen. Continue reading