Best of 2016: Dan’s List

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So yeah, this year sure sucked in a lot of ways, didn’t it?

On a personal level…where to begin? My family said goodbye to our beloved dog, Bailey. I had a rough breakup at the end of April. I got into a deeper rut in my professional life than I’d ever experienced before, which culminated in me quitting my job and leaving New York. I also, briefly, quit Nine Circles. (You didn’t think I’d stay away for good though, did you?)

And that’s just my stuff! Beyond that…well, for starters, pretty much everyone died. Prince, Alan Rickman, Phife Dawg, Craig Sager…I mean, you kind of had to know 2016 was going to be shitty on that front after we lost David goddamn Bowie when the year was scarcely a week old. And that’s all to say nothing of the other shit: escalation of racial tensions across the country, continued apathy toward a changing climate, Christmas Eve / Day and New Year’s Eve / Day both falling on Saturdays and Sundays…it was a lot, man. Oh, and we also elected the personification of an Internet comment section to the presidency. That was neat.

In spite of all that, 2016 wound up being a goddamn banner year for metal. When I first started thinking about this list, I was envisioning maybe a Top 15 – but that quickly grew to a Top 25, and then to its current incarnation: a Top 50, with 20 “ranked” albums and 30 honorable mentions, not to mention EPs. It was just impossible to whittle it down any further; that’s how good metal was this year. Hell, I had a number of albums that featured in my mid-year list that didn’t even make it into the honorable mentions section of this one!

Make no mistake, this year would have felt exponentially shittier without all of those records. In times like these, cueing up a metal record that’s driving you bonkers, throwing your head back and howling at the moon kind of becomes essential to maintaining your sanity. And you know what? Sanity was maintained. (Well, mine at least…I dunno about America’s. All the more reason for America to start listening to more damn metal.)

This year may have thrown every possible pile of feces it could at us, but you know what? We made it through anyway. We’re still here and it’s not. And that’s nothing to turn our noses at. Here are the records that helped make that happen for me:  Continue reading

Best of 2016, Q2: Literati Overlord’s List

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With June winding down (already, somehow), it’s time to start looking back at the past quarter and highlight some of the better albums that have dropped. I suppose another way to look at this is by way of a mid year recap. However, with the abundance of quality albums that have come out in the past few months, going back any further than that is just a bit too arduous. (You can only imagine what year-end does to me.) Regardless, allow me to usher in the end of Q2 with my highlights from the last few months. Continue reading

The Nine Circles Podcast: Episode 48

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The guys discuss the recent Ticketmaster class action settlement — and the free tickets to shows absolutely NOBODY wanted to see that were handed out as a result. Plus, news from Decapitated and a recap of a few of our first-half album highlights from 2016!

All that and much, much more in Episode 48, so check it out!

Also available on:

Keep it heavy,
Dan

The Nine Circles Podcast: Episode 46

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The guys talk recent news from Wax IdolsKing Woman and Corrosion of Conformity, then Dan launches into not one, but TWO concert reviews! From TWO nights in a row! It’s like 2015 all over again! Plus, new albums from Sarabante and Astronoid.

All that and much, much more in Episode 46, so check it out!

Also available on:

Keep it heavy,
Dan

Initial Descent: June 10, 2016

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Big week here on the new metal front, and of course, your boy’s nursing a bit of a hangover from last night’s Noisey showcase at Saint Vitus. Big ups to all the bands that played, and big downs to the amount of alcohol that was consumed coming back to bite me in the ass. Oh well. I guess this is what happens when Dan tries to concert on a weeknight…

Anyway, what’s dropping today? All kinds of stuff. We’ve got new full-lengths from Aaron Turner and Sumac, as well as from Boston’s Astronoid and San Diego’s Ghoulgotha. Plus, if you feel like getting #MetalTwitter’s panties in a knot, there’s also a physical reissue of Ghost Bath‘s Moonlover, which originally dropped last year. A bunch more in the works, so let’s jump into it — here’s what’s on tap for this week:
Continue reading