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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Phil Demmel of Vio-Lence on new EP “Let The World Burn,” changing of the Bay Area scene, a long career, and much more!

Vio-Lence couretsy of Gene Ambo

Vio-Lence may not have the largest back catalog of releases but they’re a band that’s been around since 1985 and have been a huge force in thrash metal, even through the 29 years since their last full length. New EP, Let The World Burn, sounds like they’ve been steadily releasing work since then, they haven’t lost a step and in fact rip it up like never before. As an EP, it rolls by way too fast but is an amazing piece of work that no one should sleep on. Buke recently sat down with guitarist Phil Demmel to discuss the new EP, how it came together and getting back in that thrash mindset. They also cover Phil’s storied career in Machine Head and how The Blackening was such a lightning rod as well as how his other projects have colored his playing over the years, fatherhood and how it’s the best thing ever, Phil’s bar and how that experience has been, and so much more.

This is a killer conversation, so grab your beverage of choice and settle in for another edition of the Nine Circles Audio Thing.

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Nine (or so Heavily Qualified) Circles ov…2021: A Mid-Year Report

2021 mid-year report

Wait…so the guy who only wrote a total of 10 freakin’ reviews this year thinks he has any weight when it comes to a mid-year report? Well, uh…I guess that’s why I put the “heavily qualified” in the title of this post?

But seriously, I’ll be the first to admit that metal hasn’t really been my #1 go-to when it comes to music lately, but like everything else, what you see on the Internet never tells you the whole story. I haven’t been writing nearly as much about the genre lately, but I have been listening. Listening, and refining. Finding the things that really resonate despite the press and the push of PR, or what the pundits tell you on the 1,001 other sites out there scrambling for clicks. And what I’ve discovered is that more and more I’m coming to the sounds that drew me to the genre: thrash riffs, lots of melody, and tasty solos. So yeah: expect some old school bands putting out great records more than 30 years into their existence here. And maybe a few newer bands as well.

Is that qualified enough for ya? Then let’s dig in.

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Album Review: Expander — “Neuropunk Boostergang”

It’s getting really hard to tell what’s real and what’s been pulled from a young adult dystopian novel these days.  I’m pretty sure we started living in the future about 5 years ago, what with all the rapid technological and scientific advancements coupled with the rise of authoritarian governments and oligarchic corporations spying on and tracking every move we make and everything we say and think.  If all this seems overwhelming to you, good news!  You’re far from alone, and chief among your allies is Austin, Texas’ Expander, whose new release Neuropunk Boostergang is the perfect soundtrack to the technopocalypse.

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Album Review: DEATHCAVE — “Smoking Mountain”

In the ever-expanding world of metal, new bands seem to constantly be emerging and stepping up to the plate.  DEATHCAVE is here to take a big swing with their debut full-length release, Smoking Mountain.  Their is, at times, as haunting as its namesake (the Apache death cave in Winslow, Arizona) with lyrics to match.  The general theme here focuses on the inexorable concept of the decay, demise, and death of humans and nature.  While the lyrics are enough to sink into a depression, the music is a delightful combination of thrash, doom, and psychedelic metal.  While at times haunting and dark, it has some lively high-energy moments mixed into the doomy haze.  The trio formed in 2018 and released a three-song, self-titled demo last year.  Their music is a captivating combination of metal sub-genres performed by just three skilled musicians.  Smoking Mountain is an enticing introduction to DEATHCAVE and their experimental sound. Continue reading