Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2021

Best of 2021

I am the Scholar of the First Sin, and I have insight to give.

Last year, my list was short and to the point, as I spent more time listening to music that gave me respite and comfort than to new releases. This meant that, once I had more time on my hands, I was finally able to go out and see what I had missed. The fact that I can’t include Dark Tranquility’s Moment, an album that deserves more attention, on this list because it came out last year fucking kills me.

Despite the Omicron variant (at this time) destroying all hope for a small sense of normalcy, 2021 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. After many bands either couldn’t tour because of the onset of the pandemic or postponed a lot of their releases, this year provided us with new music, which meant that a lot of vetting had to happen in order for me to make this list. After graduation, I suddenly had more time than I ever had to do with and decided to dive deep into what I had been ignoring for the better part of five months.

Welcome to EOY list season!

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CANTO: Seputus, An Autumn For Crippled Children, Majestic Downfall, and More

Alright, it’s Bandcamp Friday. What did everyone snag today?

  • An Autumn For Crippled Children have a new album dropping on May 21st. Their second release as part of the Prosthetic Records roster will be called As The Morning Dawns We Close Our Eyes, and pre-orders are available here. A new single, “Carefully Breathing”, is also available at that link… while you’re at it.
  • Majestic Downfall have nailed down a release date for their new album. Their sixth album, Aorta, will be out on May 21st as well, through Personal Records. Listen to a new track called “Roberta”, and get your pre-order/wishlist-ing on, over at Bandcamp now.
  • And the final album announcement for the day comes from Seputus. The extreme metal trio is releasing Phantom Indigo on June 4th via Willowtip, their first album since 2016’s Man Does Not Give. Check out the first track from that album, “The Learned Response”, which features Dan Garguilo of Artificial Brain.
  • Last but certainly not least, we close with the new music video from Soen for “Deceiver”. That track is taken from their latest album, Imperial, which is available now through Silver Lining Music. Curiously, that’s an album I still haven’t explored this year. Big problem.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 166 (1.30.2021)

playlist - mixtape

Last playlist of January and even though it’s a little late, there’s still plenty of time to rip your favorite beverage and jam. I mean, what the hell else you got to do?! Anyway, this week’s edition is stacked with stuff we’ve been digging this week; I’ve got the new Empyrium and 16, Vince has Amulets and Laster, Zyklonius has the new Stortregn, Angela has a cut from Heilung and the new Chelsea/ERR track, Ian brings new Genghis Tron and Tribulation, and Didrik drops new Soen and a pick from Baulds Draumar. All that and so much more behind the play button below. So, drink, listen, and be merry.

– Josh

Album Review: Soen — “Imperial”

Soen - Imperial

I bloody hate snakes. I don’t wanna look at them and I don’t want them anywhere near me. However, if there’s an exception that makes me excited, it’s this black mamba on the cover of Soen‘s new album. Their previous release, Lotus, was my favourite album of 2019 and naturally I have massive expectations of Imperial. This will be the fifth full-length album for the Swedish supergroup, founded by ex-Opeth man Martin Lopez and vocalist Joel Ekelöf.

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Initial Descent: January 24 – 30, 2021

Tribulation

I don’t know if the best of 2020 glut has me temporarily bloated on music or what, but it’s been tough to really focus on new albums for more than a cursory spin. Instead, I’ve been catching up on some long overdue reading and burning the midnight oil in the mountains and it’s been a head clearer, to say the least. However, this week’s new release haul has offered at least a few that have me refocused and paying close attention. The first of which is the new gothic barnburner from Tribulation, progressive metallers Soen have given reason to pause, neofolk group Rome give much to reflect on as well as a bevy of amazing tracks, and Werewolves’ brand of intense yet melodic yet groovy death metal has been loads of fun. So, you could say that just when I need it the most, the artists have come through with precisely what I need and right on time. Obviously, there’s a ton more included below so there’s something here for everyone. Thrill of the hunt type of deal. Or whatever. Just do it.

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