Album Review: Kvaen — “The Funeral Pyre”

Kvaen - The Funeral Pyre

Boy howdy, it’s been something of a week over here.  Things in Chicago are still looking pretty bleak and gloomy, I simultaneously have too much to do and no motivation to get a whole lot done and I just have a feeling like I need something to kick my ass into high gear.  Fortunately, the long-awaited debut album, The Funeral Pyre, from Sweden’s Kvaen is there to remind me that if the Fimbulvinter truly is upon us in the Midwest, it might as well come with hefty doses of old school speed and black metal fury. Continue reading

Album Review: Bütcher — “666 Goats Carry My Chariot”

Bütcher - 666 Goats Carry My Chariot

I’m the resident goat guy ’round these parts, so it was my solemn duty to check out any album with the horned beast featured so prominently in the title.  Alas, I only see six, and not 666 goats actually carrying (though pulling would be more accurate) said chariot, but despair not, because Bütcher make no pretensions of math being their strong suit.  Their trump card is metal, and 666 Goats Carry My Chariot is an almost ridiculous blast of old school thrash and speed: full of bombast, screams and leads that will melt your face and drive you away to dismal cold.

Even though the current logo reminds me of a burning in hellfire Stryper. Continue reading

Album Review: Midnight – “Rebirth By Blasphemy”

Midnight - Rebirth By Blasphemy

Even if you don’t know Midnight, even if you haven’t been on that depraved and sadistically gleeful ride to the edges of metal excess, just take a look at the band pic that accompanies this review.  Then listen to the first song off Rebirth By Blasphemy, which couldn’t be more perfectly titled but will be discussed below the break.

If you’re not on board at this point, nothing can save you.  Take your goat and go home.  We’re here to rage. Continue reading

The Be(a)st of 2018 – J’s List

 

EOY 2018 Header 9C

Every year is an interesting trip around the sun.  New music comes and goes like the ebb and flow of time, and some albums hit us harder than others.  2018 for me was a very rich year in metal, yielding tons of great material from all over the heavy landscape.  There was a lot I enjoyed, so sorting the wheat from the chaff for this year has been enjoyable and fairly difficult, which is a testament to all the bands putting out great albums this year.  Below is my top 15 list for this year with a brief explanation with each album as to why I picked them.  Feel the misery (wait, that wasn’t this year?!).  Continue reading

Nine Circles ov… “Special” EOY Awards (2017 Edition)

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

2017 turned out to be a strange year for me musically.  In my first full year writing for Nine Circles I had the opportunity to explore different genres and bands I never would have discovered on my own, and taking in so much music (even when I didn’t want to, in all honesty) not only broadened my horizons and (hopefully) improved my critical thinking on music, but also helped me to understand better what it was I needed from music.

Next week I’ll be unveiling my personal Top 25 albums for 2017, along with a second post of 15 honorable mentions.  But there was so much that impacted me, and so for this final 2017 edition of Nine Circles ov… I wanted to give out a few of my own personal awards to some bands and albums that left their marks on me.  So without further ado, let’s dive in…   Continue reading