If you grew up listening to metal in the 80s, you know just how important the name Johnny Zazula was. If I found a cassette put out by Megaforce Records or otherwise had Johnny Z’s name associated with it, I was buying it. He was a giant in the field of thrash metal, and losing him at the age of 69 is a crying shame. So yeah, we’re kicking off the 2017th edition of the Nine Circles Playlist with a bunch of stuff associated with him. Throw one back for a titan of the genre.
The rest of the crew is all over the map, so let’s get to it. Anton brings the heavy and the new with Absent in Body, Wait, and The Last of Lucy. Ian hits with Celeste who I’ve really been digging lately, and throws in some Warning and Stormkeep to keep it moving. Josh threw me into a timewarp listening to the great first album by Tora Tora, but quickly amps the heavy up with Corpsegrinder, Extinction A.D. and Centinex (oh, and some DMX which is as heavy as anything else on this playlist). Vincent reliably brings The Mountain Goats and adds in some Elle and Cremation Lily. Angela keeps the new train moving with the new single from Messa, the latest from Rolo Tomassi and some Microwave while Buke – perhaps sensing my bringing in enough of the old school – goes decidedly modern and heavy with Dying Fetus, Ihsahn, Arcturus, and Diabolical Masquerade.
Pour one out for Johnny Z. We’ll see you next week.
Is that it? Am I the last one? Dang. Again. Wait, maybe one more to come… Anyway, I guess I’ll start this off on my soapbox as always, by noting that I truly cannot comprehend where we are as a society. Well, I suppose I can, which is even more frustrating. If 2020 wasn’t a brutal enough year (not in a good way), 2021 seemed to serve as an appropriate encore. Seemingly everything we experience in life has been weaponized for political gain in one way or another, a global pandemic has been widely accepted as an endemic thanks, in part, to widespread misinformation, and, just as bluntly, climate disasters resulting from human activity are on the brink of running rampant for the duration of humanity’s remaining existence… however brief that may be. And those are just my three favorite, non-personal, items to discuss in our corner of the universe. It sucks, and I’m burnt out. Optimism has completely faded at this point, and I’m ready to run screaming into the woods. But hey, cheers to 2020, right?!
David Stepanavicius of Atræ Bilis is no stranger to the podcast as he and Buke discussed Apexapien at length back in November and it was such an electric discussion that Buke reached back out to have David on again to discuss all things Best of 2021. The two catch up a bit since last time then launch into their biggest disappointments of 2021, their Honorable Mentions, and their collective Top 10. They also discuss Best of lists in general and how an artist / band views list season, how music usually finds David and how much labels play a part in it, whether Chris Barnes or memes are better, upcoming things for Atræ Bilis, and so much more. You’ll definitely want to keep a pen and paper handy as they cover a ton of great albums, forty in total. No surprise here at all, this is an excellent discussion!
The beginning is the end. Literally, in this case. I started this post with the entries for my list a few weeks ago, wrote my 1,000 word review (sorry) on my Album of the Year and concluding paragraph right before Christmas, and now here I am in the vaporous ether before the new year pondering the introduction.
And there are no words left.
I’ve wrangled with the why, trying to make sense of the music I consume and what it says, and I hit a point where trying to find an answer was…pointless. Not because it’s unimportant to know, but in the last two years the rest of the world became so much harder to deal with, life became so much harder to deal with, something in my brain went into emergency mode and just shut down the logic circuits, sending one single message over and over again:
That’s it: we’re officially in End of Year™ territory now. The big guns are coming out, as Decibel Magazine preemptively shared their Top 40 of 2021 prior to publication in the vain hopes of staving off blogs who simply post the list for views. I’d rather give them the props and the views, so head over there to check it out. In the meantime I’m on my fifth listen of the new Stormkeep and debating how high to have it on my own list. Because yeah…it’s gonna be there.
But enough of that. Welcome to Volume 206 of the Nine Circles Playlist, where we may or may not have some music that will appear on own own lists. In addition to our fearless editor Josh priming the pump with Stormkeep he’s heavily digging the latest from Hypocrisy and Sanguisugabogg. Angela has fallen hard for the hardcore punk coming from Fucked Up and the murky psychedelic cosmic stoner sounds of Tortuga. Buke never fails to bring the classic heavy to the list, so buckle up for some new retro courtesy of Haunt and Traveler as well as old school flavor from Judas Priest. Jon emerges from the snowy depths of the Great North to champion new stuff from Archspire and Every Time I Die. Vincent wallows in the despair of heavier fare from Emma Ruth Rundle, Lantlôs, and Dream Unending. As for me? I’m sitting here in the CLOUDS with Enslaved, digging the skramz of Warren of Ohms, and am in hook line and sinker with Josh about the new single from outlaw country bastard Paul Cauthen.
Country as Fuck, folks. No better way to close out the playlist this week. See you next time!