Sophomore records are notoriously difficult, and there are a myriad of ways bands could choose from to approach theirs. You could go longer, you could go shorter, you could “AC/DC” it and churn out more of the same, or you could change styles entirely. But I don’t recall many bands who’ve gone the route of Greece’s Sacred Outcry, though. For album number two, Towers of Gold, mastermind George Apalodimas recruited an entirely different lineup of musicians than he’d had on the critically-acclaimed debut, Damned for All Time, three years ago.
It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, but fortunately, it’s wound up working in Apalodimas’ favor. Towers of Gold doesn’t quite match its predecessor in quality, but it’s still a (mostly) terrific record and arguably a pace-setter for power metal in 2023.
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.