Album Review: End Boss — “They Seek My Head”

End Boss - They Seek My Head

This is why metal can be so exciting. This is why, at their best (which admittedly can be rare) metal fans are a breed apart, never content to stick to the mainstream path, always finding the hidden corners and crevices where great music is being created. I don’t know if you normally think of New Zealand as a hotbed of metal activity, particularly for sludge and doom, but one listen to They Seek My Head, the debut from Wellington band End Boss has me thinking there’s something in the water and we should all be paying attention.

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Nine Circles ov…Clearing Out This Week’s Promo Pile

The last time I did something like this was back in 2018, but maybe I need to do it more. With so much music coming out it’s easy to just sit back and cherry pick the albums you’re already anticipating and write about it. And as many of our staff focus on things other than review writing (thank the heavens for the consistent and consistently excellent output of Ian) I suspect we’re missing out on a lot of great music that just isn’t getting the attention here at Nine Circles it should. So, foolish as it may seem I called out to Fearless Editor Josh™ with my request: give me nine promos for albums coming out this week, and I’ll listen and give some semblance of commentary for them. Ambitious? Perhaps. Stupid? Almost certainly. But if it gets some visibility for some bands and gets me attuned to some new music instead of constantly digging into the bins for rock and prog circa ’69-’74 all the better. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov... let’s take a look at some of the music coming out this week.

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Profile: Stoner Doom Troop Crypt Monarch

Crypt Monarch

Costa Rica’s Crypt Monarch self proclaims their style of metal as “necromantik stoner doom” and since they conjure both Electric Wizard and Sleep on their debut The Necronaut, we’d say they’re right on target. With three tracks in thirty six minutes, there’s plenty of stretched out fuzzy jams that mimic a seance but the band keeps things interesting with tempo shifts and wild riffs at unexpected times. We recently posed our set of Profile questions to the band to gain some insight, so read on below to see how it went down and grab your own copy from the links contained within. 

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Nine* Circles ov…What “Didn’t” Make My 2018 End of Year List (But Could Have)

EOY 2018 Header 9C

* SPOILERS: it’s gonna be 20 albums…buckle your seat belts.

I told myself this year I was going to take it easy – do the Honorable Mentions, get the final list out, and put 2018 to rest.  On a global, national, and personal front the year’s been pretty much a disaster from the start, and the quicker I can put it in my rearview mirror the better.  But the more I tweaked and played with my end of year selections (thank you Trello for making that shit so easy) the more I realized that – like always – music was the thing that propped me up and made every setback if not better, at least tolerable.  And when the dust cleared from all the list building I found a huge excess of albums that didn’t make my lists but easily could have on another day.  Everything is interchangeable; we are not the people we were even a moment ago, and those experiences constantly inform our perspective on the world, metal albums included. Continue reading

Nine Circles ov…Red Lead Media & PR

red lead media

“But hey,” you ask.  “Where do all those promos come from?”

They come from PR groups, my friends.  Many, many PR groups.  Inboxes get stuffed to the gills with pleas for some kind of coverage, whether its a review, interview, profile, track premiere…and as the release date for an album gets closer and the reminders come in, it can get even more overwhelming.  But with so much music out there, having a good PR person in your corner can make the difference between selling your album to six of your friends and family, and getting exposure (any exposure) to an audience that can pick up and carry your work forward.  I’d say PR groups are a necessary evil, except my experience as both a writer and a musician has found, for the most part, these dogged flag wavers to be anything but evil.

And so I thought for this edition of Nine Circles ov… I’d highlight the music that’s come to my attention via Jadd and the folks from Red Lead Media & PR.  Focusing on punk and hard rock in a variety of styles (not to mention being the in-house PR division for Magnetic Eye Records) there’s a healthy variety of music below so keep cool and dig in.  Who knows, maybe something will take your fancy…. Continue reading