Best of 2016: Dan’s List

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So yeah, this year sure sucked in a lot of ways, didn’t it?

On a personal level…where to begin? My family said goodbye to our beloved dog, Bailey. I had a rough breakup at the end of April. I got into a deeper rut in my professional life than I’d ever experienced before, which culminated in me quitting my job and leaving New York. I also, briefly, quit Nine Circles. (You didn’t think I’d stay away for good though, did you?)

And that’s just my stuff! Beyond that…well, for starters, pretty much everyone died. Prince, Alan Rickman, Phife Dawg, Craig Sager…I mean, you kind of had to know 2016 was going to be shitty on that front after we lost David goddamn Bowie when the year was scarcely a week old. And that’s all to say nothing of the other shit: escalation of racial tensions across the country, continued apathy toward a changing climate, Christmas Eve / Day and New Year’s Eve / Day both falling on Saturdays and Sundays…it was a lot, man. Oh, and we also elected the personification of an Internet comment section to the presidency. That was neat.

In spite of all that, 2016 wound up being a goddamn banner year for metal. When I first started thinking about this list, I was envisioning maybe a Top 15 – but that quickly grew to a Top 25, and then to its current incarnation: a Top 50, with 20 “ranked” albums and 30 honorable mentions, not to mention EPs. It was just impossible to whittle it down any further; that’s how good metal was this year. Hell, I had a number of albums that featured in my mid-year list that didn’t even make it into the honorable mentions section of this one!

Make no mistake, this year would have felt exponentially shittier without all of those records. In times like these, cueing up a metal record that’s driving you bonkers, throwing your head back and howling at the moon kind of becomes essential to maintaining your sanity. And you know what? Sanity was maintained. (Well, mine at least…I dunno about America’s. All the more reason for America to start listening to more damn metal.)

This year may have thrown every possible pile of feces it could at us, but you know what? We made it through anyway. We’re still here and it’s not. And that’s nothing to turn our noses at. Here are the records that helped make that happen for me:  Continue reading

Best of 2016: Jonathan Petkau’s List

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Many of you know Jonathan Petkau from his podcast Respectably Loud or his other podcast, which he does with his wife, The X-Hausted Files or from his tireless efforts with the almighty Skulltoaster on Metal Minute or from his black metal project Domestikwom or possibly for keeping the list for MetalBandCampGiftClub nice and tidy. To say Jon is a busy man is an understatement and what I’ve mentioned doesn’t even include Dad duties. So, it is with extreme pleasure and appreciation that we are able to present his Best of 2016 list. Honestly I don’t know where he finds the time to listen to music at all but even the busiest of people need a soundtrack so without further ado, click that continue reading button and jump in. Continue reading

Best of 2016 So Far: Dan’s List

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It’s been a busy half-year. After promising myself in January that I’d take it easy in 2016 and be more selective with the music I listened to, I proceeded to listen to roughly 125 albums in the first six months of the year. (You know, after listening to 170 all of 2015 and thinking that was too much.)

At any rate, I’ve done enough of these over the years for you to know the drill. I’m doing a Top 10, followed by 10 honorable mentions. A full sixth of my album listening in one post? So be it. As always, I’ll keep the blurbs for each album brief so as not to become tedious. Yada yada yada. Now let’s jump into the list…

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The Nine Circles Podcast: Episode 48

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The guys discuss the recent Ticketmaster class action settlement — and the free tickets to shows absolutely NOBODY wanted to see that were handed out as a result. Plus, news from Decapitated and a recap of a few of our first-half album highlights from 2016!

All that and much, much more in Episode 48, so check it out!

Also available on:

Keep it heavy,
Dan

Initial Descent: May 6, 2016

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It has rained every single damn day this week. Which, really, is just what I need less than two weeks removed from a breakup. Good job, universe! Oh well, May’s upon us. There’s no way it won’t improve upon April from a lifeical standpoint, but it may also do so from a metallic perspective as well. Quite a bit to look forward to over the next 25 days.

That starts today, with new stuff from U.K. death crew Grave Miasma, who release their gnarly new EP, Endless Pilgrimage. I’ll have a full review of that thing up early next week, but as a pre-emptive TL;DR — it’s worth your time. We’ve also got new albums from AlaricVektor…hell, even one from not-metal-but-yes-awesome synthwave mainstay Perturbator. It’s a solid week, so let’s jump in. Here’s what’s on tap for Friday, May 6:
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