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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Initial Descent: September 18 – 24, 2016

Neurosis
Neurosis

Anyone complaining that there hasn’t been a great week for metal thus far in 2016 needs to go immediately and start over, but there won’t be any complaining after this week. Mostly due to Neurosis‘ highly anticipated eleventh full length Fires Within Fires finally seeing the light of day. But that’s not all; Fatalist are back with their insanely good Swedeath saturated The Bitter End, Predatory Light further their black metal chaos on Predatory Light, Trap Them punch you in the mouth with their fifth album Crown Feral while Witchskull breaks out the bluesy doom on The Vast Electric Dark. Switching gears a bit, Dysrhythmia bends time on their progressive instru-metal album The Veil Of Control — let the dissecting begin. And last but not least, Insomnium‘s epic fifth full length Winter’s Gate is a blast. As stated, its another stacked week here on Initial Descent and literally, there’s something for everyone. So hit that ‘continue reading’ link. Continue reading

Best of 2015: The Literati Overlord’s List

Best 2015

It’s hard to say how I will look back on 2015. On a personal level, the last twelve months have been significant. Thanks to the efforts of our Nine Circles team, I have been given the opportunity to explore deeper into the metal universe, uncovering more obscure bands that have significantly impacted my musical life for the better. My position within metal’s audience has undeniably reached a new level, and I have no reason to not be excited about what’s to come. So from that standpoint, 2015 has been a phenomenal year.

That said, looking at metal from a higher perspective, when you compare the last couple of years, it would be difficult to say that 2015 was especially exceptional. The peaks of this past year just don’t quite measure up to those of the preceding year in my opinion. But still, a number of great albums surfaced that I have enjoyed immensely. Overall, this past year has been solid across all genres of metal. So, without further delay, here are my personal favorites from 2015.

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The Nine Circles ov… DEUTSCHLAND 2015!

german flag nine circles ov

And what a year for Germany it has been. And I’m referring, of course, to metal. One after another, week after week, we find ourselves discussing another impressive release out of the central European nation. And we’re covering all metal genres: black, death, power, doom… you name it. For a country that has previously been accused of not producing enough extreme metal, 2015 has proven otherwise. In fact, nine spots isn’t nearly enough to cover all the bands worth mentioning from this year alone. Fortunately, Manny-O-War and I are on it. He shared his favorite metal exports from Germany last week. This time… it’s my turn. Let’s roll on. Continue reading

Drinking with Satan: Balmog – “Svmma Fide”

drinking with satan

Here we go again: it’s time for “Drinking with Satan.” Let’s review: in this column, I stupidly get myself immersed in several layers of booze and review, to use that term lightly, an upcoming or recently released black metal album. It’s good fun…less so for me than for you. But let’s be real, I’m doing this for you guys anyway. Well, you guys and Satan, that is. I’m a giver, after all.

Anyway, full disclosure, I didn’t want to write this tonight. In fact, I hate all of you for the peer pressure of getting this done for tomorrow’s run. As I start this, it’s 10:30 PM on Thursday night—the night before this is due to run. I was in Boston from 6:00 AM until about 20 minutes ago working…and maybe a drinking little after. Okay, drinking a lot after. (Mostly Harpoon IPA, because I don’t respect myself.) Anyway, It was a long day and I kinda lost the motivation (and the buzz) during the early stages of the trip back. However, like the true champion I am, I rallied. While sitting in bullshit I-95 traffic hating everyone, I took a glimpse at the artwork for the album I’m going to be talking about and all of a sudden my inspiration was reborn. I thought, “Hey, I hate humanity. I’m in a bad mood. This looks evil. Let’s discuss it… with myself… when I get home.”

So here I am. Episode 2 of “Drinking with Satan” (the game YOU always win and I always lose) features Balmog‘s Svmma Fidewhile I dabble in the wondrous liquids of Ayinger Bräu Weisse (5.1% ABV), Lagunitas NightTime (8.2%), and Andean Brewing Company’s Kuka Golden Ale (9.2%). Oh. And I’m chasing this all with Johnnie Walker Black Label. Why? Because it tastes like a fucking camp fire and I like fucking camp fires. So leave me alone. Shall we begin? The answer rhymes with “yes.”

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