We’re doing something a little different for this, our 240th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist. Around the 9C offices the jibberjab has been about mid-year favorites (maybe you’ve read a few of ourposts), and so I decided to ask each of the folks on staff to supply me with a track from their favorite metal (or metal adjacent) album this year.
I’m not gonna say who picked what, but I can say all of these choices righteously rock. And there was one album that was a three-way tie among the staff (what can I say, Corey, Josh and I have excellent – and similar – taste) so in instances of duplicates we let one person pick the track and the others would choose from their second favorite album. So settle in and crank it LOUD, and enjoy some of the best music to come out so far in 2022, including cuts from Saor, Pyrithe, Zeal & Ardor, A Pregnant Light, Nite, Kreator, Wilderun, Tzompantli and a bunch more…
Okay, so I may have only formally reviewed 11 albums by the mid point this year, but that’s one more than I was at last year, so victory! However, that doesn’t count the 30 other albums covered in earlier editions of Nine Circles ov (like the Stoner Metal one, or the promo pile one, or the non-promo pile one) or Second Circle. Not to mention my folders telling me I’ve listened to 151 metal albums so far this year. It’s scratching the surface, I know…but at least there are quantifiable metrics for you to assess whether or not I’ve met my acceptance criteria to mark this feature as Done.
And now that my work life has completely blended into this post, let’s talk about how massive 2022 has been so far. We’re once again turning this edition of Nine Circles ov… into a dozen and I’m even going to throw some bonus mentions into the mix. Are these my absolute favorites of the year? Kind of: I wanted to highlight some albums I haven’t seen a lot of coverage on as well as some definite big guns I really dig so far. So what I’m saying is, here’s a big list of stuff I love. Maybe you’ll love it, too.
“But wait, Chris! What happened to Episode 236 of the Nine Circles Playlist?!”
Sometimes playlists are just too wild to be contained on the webpage of a humble music blog. Even now, if you listen closely between the high pitched whine of the street lamps you can hear the fading tremolo picking and blast beats of a runaway playlist, foraging on the remains of boy bands (rest in peace, BTS) and the tattered remnants of forgotten 00s dub step. If you love something, set it free…but if you simply forget to post something at least make the story fun.
Anyway, let’s talk about the much more present edition, which is literally below for you to relish with your favorite accoutrements. Josh is kicking it off with the latest from Megadeth…maybe the best song they’ve done in 15 years or more. And if that doesn’t rock your world, the new Krisiun is even more brutal. Followed with a hefty dose of Lorna Shore you should be off to a great start. Anton gleefully shoves some Antigama, Aenaon, and Xenoglyph to ensure you have 100% of your extreme intake complete. Vincent gets a massive track from Scarcity on and is slowly fulfilling an unspoken promise to feature every track from Bloc Party‘s debut in the playlist. Hera fuels my nightmares with something called AWS which I am assured is not Amazon Web Services…unless it is? She also has White Ward, Apocalyptica, Leprous, and a great collaboration between Trent Reznor and Danny Elfman. Ian brings in some great new music from the likes of Wake, Saor, and Russian Circles, as well as a classic banger from Alexisonfire to celebrate the release of their new album. Finally Angela returns as a voice of calm and serenity, giving us soothing lullabies from the likes of Deathwhite, Silent Majority, Stay Inside, and Aptera, which I’ve also been enjoying immensely.
As for me? I’ll end the playlist this week with a few tracks you can expect to see me review in the coming weeks.
Folk-infused black metal (folkened black metal? blackened folk metal?) comes in so many varieties, seemingly as many as there are cultures across the globe. If you’re a connoisseur of this genre, then there’s no way Saor is a new name to you. Born from a desire to blend the Scandinavian fury of black metal with the Scottish folk of Andy Marshall’s native home, the outfit has been steadily gaining traction from the strength of each output, even beginning to play live shows across the world (a performance not to be missed, from someone who was lucky enough to catch them). On Origins, the fifth full-length from the project, new beginnings are indeed seized and new paths forward forged.
I Prevail have announced a massive two-leg tour with Pierce The Veil, Fit For A King, and others this coming September through November. Get the full scoop here.
To close out the day with anything other than the new Machine Head track wouldn’t be right, so the video for “Unhalløwed” is immediately below. As a reminder, Øf Kingdøm and Crøwn is out on August 26th via Nuclear Blast Records and Imperium Recordings.