And here we are. A few more pages of the book before it closes.
Two thousand and seventeen years after we decided to start again at zero it feels like a reset is needed more than ever. And this doesn’t even take into consideration the collective chaos and suppurating hate that seemingly fills the space between the molecules in our media, our politics, and our increasingly hostile behavior toward each other. That poison surrounds but has yet to work its way into my bloodstream. It’s a selfish ask, entirely due to my own weaknesses, insecurities and inability to take the steps needed to be just a little better each day: as a husband, a father, a writer, a musician, but most of all as a human being. It’s been a challenging year, and I have a long road ahead if I want to keep on having challenging years, let alone any years.
More than ever it was music that kept my head above water, allowed a glimmer of land to guide me ashore. Continue reading
Another trip around the sun, another stellar year for metal, with a wealth of riveting riffage, pulverizing beats, blood-curdling growls and blazing tremolos. Verily, this is an era of abundance, where it is impossible to stay on top of the deluge of top-shelf metal released every week. Best of all, quality seems to go hand in hand with quantity. If there ever was an antithesis to the contemporary temptation for instant gratification and disposability, every album I included in my mid-year stocktaking exercise ended up on my end-of-year list, having continued to impress and astonish me as time went by, testament to the spectacular songwriting, boundless creativity and killer riff delivery of the bands that conjured up these stunning works of art. And just when I thought things could not get any better, both seasoned veterans and hungry newcomers arrived, bearing gifts of seismic impact. I hope the following releases enrich your life, even if only with a fraction of the effect they had on me. Now, dig in! Continue reading
For those of you unaware, Godz ov War Productions is a record label from Poland that specializes in the extremely extreme side of metal. Just this year alone the label has released albums from Pig’s Blood, Persecutory, Corpse Garden and Loathfinder just to name a few. And behind every good label is a workhorse capable of vaulting insane amounts of work with bands, day to day business of said label, PR, keeping up with a store and Bandcamp page, constantly curating a social media presence and overseeing various streaming platforms. For Godz ov War this workhorse is Greg Rosenstahl and I’m convinced the man never sleeps. It’s obvious he lives, eats and breathes for the label and the bands he works with based on the results we all can easily see. Just what does someone who works in, and with, all things extreme pick for the best of 2017? Head inside to find out. Continue reading
I get it – we’re all under the crunch here at Nine Circles getting our 2017 lists in order, and the last thing you need is to look at another list of albums you might want to consider before signing off on your own EOY list. And hey – I’ll be the first to admit that in the interest of full disclosure I don’t think any of these are actually going to make my list…
But that doesn’t mean they don’t warrant some consideration. So for this edition of Nine Circles ov… please think of this as some of my alternates – maybe they didn’t quite resonate enough with me to make my list, but that doesn’t mean you should leave them off yours! Continue reading
Thanks to the demands, deadlines and drudgery of my day job, this stocktaking listicle was delayed two weeks past its intended publication date at the half-way point of the year. In the intervening time, additional waves of releases were unleashed, a reminder of the golden era of quantity and quality we are currently living in. It has become increasingly challenging to stay on top of must-hear releases, even with obsessive research and vigilance, but the untold satisfaction of unearthing new records that hit you like a brick in the face, make being a metalhead in this day and age such a thrilling glory ride.
I had a difficult time narrowing the following list (in alphabetical order) down to only ten releases (ultimately, the aforementioned day job dictated its final length) that have made a lasting impact in my heart of hearts during the first six months of this year, thanks to their creativity, vision, emotion, pummeling ferocity, gripping melody, riff mastery, headbangability, confident musicianship and that certain je ne sais quoi that elevates some albums and the whole genre to dizzying artistic heights. Continue reading