Best of 2017: Some stuff Dan liked this year!

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Hey y’all, it’s been a minute! More accurately, it’s been about 221,000! Over the last four months, when I haven’t been watching the world rapidly start to resemble a toilet overflowing with diarrhea, I’ve been slaving away at my first semester of nursing school. Which has meant that finally, after a solid 2-3 years in a row of telling myself, “I’m gonna listen to less music this year,” I actually did listen to less music this year! My best estimate is…probably 165 albums? Maybe 170? Still a bunch, but down more than a hundred from each of the last couple of years. MISSION [SORTA] ACCOMPLISHED.

On the other hand, this puts me in something of an odd position when it comes to picking my “Best of 2017.” I didn’t listen to as much music. I deleted my Twitter and reduced my overall social media presence by, conservatively, 75% — which, by the way, was a fucking AMAZING life decision that I recommend all of you try — so I had neither a steady stream of albums-you-must-hear-or-you-will-be-shunned crossing my radar screen, nor the urge to seek out even more obscure albums that I could shun others for not having heard. Oh, and also, most of my favorite albums this year were from outside the metal genre. Me putting this list together and claiming it to be THE BEST OF 2017 would be a little delusional.

So, that’s why I’m not doing that. Okay fine, I’ve made a list and ordered it — alphabetically, because EAT IT, BIG RANKINGS — but that’s it. This is just some stuff I listened to and happened to really enjoy this year. Authoritativeness be damned. (Or left for the folks over at Last Rites.) Let’s jump in.

A note before beginning:

This list is going to focus on the metal portion of this year’s listening. (And perhaps, in some cases, the metal-adjacent.) So, even though Ulver put out my favorite album of the year in any genre with The Assassination of Julius Caesar, you’re not going to see that thing in this post. Same with Anathema. Same with…I dunno, Steven Wilson, or The War on Drugs, or other contributions from pretty-blatantly-not-metal artists. If time permits, I’ll do a year-end Rainbows in the Dark recap. (Maybe.) But this is my metal list, and it shall be kept metal. Now, all that said…

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Josh Thieler’s Favorite Releases of 2017

9C 2017 EOY Header Image

Its been a long time since I posted anything for Nine Circles. Of all the things 2017 has been for me, it has definitely been the busiest I’ve ever been. I joined more bands, recorded drums / vocals for other bands, art for my bands and other bands, PR for my bands and others, started a record label, and a bunch of other stuff. I miss being more active with Nine Circles but it looks like the current staff has been crushing it!

Anyway, the time has come for year end list. I love reading everyone’s lists and seeing what albums I might have missed or maybe need to check out again. I hope you find some new music in here you will enjoy. Continue reading

Initial Descent: January 22 – 28, 2017

The Ominous Circle
The Ominous Circle

Here we are, the best day of the week. Saturday’s are full of wonder and all that trash but here on Initial Descent they are full of metal. And this week the QUANTITY returns. Diving right in, The Ominous Circle bursts onto the death metal scene with their stellar yet essential debut Appalling Ascension and I’m calling it early this album will be on year end lists. Black Metallers The Ruins of Beverast continue to amaze on their experimental and psychedelic EP Takitum Tootem!, it may have taken Beheaded five albums — and a transformation away from just brutal death metal — to do it but on Beast Incarnate the band has officially put out the best album of their career, and The Great Old Ones return with EOD: A Tale of Dark Legacy which is yet another opus of black metal and doom wrapped neatly in a veil of foggy atmosphere. So yea, great week for metalheads and we still have a long list to go, after the jump.  Continue reading

Album Review: The Ominous Circle – “Appalling Ascension”

 

The Ominous Circle - Appalling Ascension

One of the most common sentiments I heard in the metal circles I run in, and one that I personally echoed in some of my own writing, was that 2016 was the year of death metal. From the old-school pummel of Blood Incantation, to the technical whirlwind of Ulcerate, to the blackened chaos of Altarage, there is no question that last year produced a flood of truly spectacular death metal from all across the spectrum. The question of the hour: was this just good timing, or is there a continuing upward trend in the quality of death metal? If The Ominous Circle‘s debut offering of haunting death worship on Appalling Ascension is any indicator, we have only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what death metal holds in store for us.   Continue reading