Best of 2016: Dan’s List

Nine Circles Best of 2016 Standard

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

Initial Descent: April 15, 2016

Phew. We’ve had a few big weeks in a row, so I’m not gonna lie…it’s kinda nice to have a bit of a slower one this week. And also, I’m off work today, so I can actually catch up on some of this stuff! Anyway, “slower” doesn’t mean “slow,” though. There’s still a bunch of cool stuff dropping: from Swedish hardcore legends Victims (whom our own Manny-O-War just interviewed), to the debut full-length from Chicago death crew Nucleus. As you can see, this week’s no slouch — so let’s not waste any more time talking about it. Here’s what’s on tap for Friday, April 15:
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Album Review: Victims – “Sirens”

Victims-Sirens-1500x1500Five years is a long time for any band to not put out a new release, but in circles of punk and hardcore, it’s practically unheard of. The exception to the rule is when you’ve put out a spree of albums so significant and critically acclaimed that you can bask in the afterglow. Such is the case with Stockholm-based Victims, whose newest album Sirens continues in the tradition of the fiery but melodic Swedish crust punk. Sirens does introduce a few subtle changes into the band’s sound, though, which makes it stand out all the more from their already near-flawless discography.  Continue reading

Interview: Victims talk New Album, Concerts and Politics

There are few bands that span the hardcore and punk river as well as Victims. They’ve been around since 1997 and have not slowed their output or their veracity. Their upcoming album, Sirens is yet another terrific edition to their catalog. On the album Victims continues their assault against global injustice with their straight forward, hardcore influenced d-beat punk rock. In advance of that album we got a chance to sit down and have a brief chat with Victims. Below are the results.

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