I always have a tough time with these introduction things when it comes to End of Year lists. The temptation is to sum up the year with some anecdotes about what it meant to me and how the music I loved played into it. Yet what could I say about a year that was such a mixed bag for me? On a personal note, my mental health took an all-out nosedive last year that I’m still trying to claw my way out of, yet my partner and I got engaged and are looking forward to spending the rest of our lives together (not that we weren’t already, but you get the point). The weight of the worst depression and anxiety I’ve ever faced affected my ability to connect to a lot of the music I heard last year, yet I started a column on here that lead me back to a genre of music I had not seriously kept up with for some time, and in doing so I found a little piece of myself again. Years are years are years, and life is cyclical and spiralic in nature. I won’t pretend there weren’t good things to come out of last year, just as I won’t pretend there won’t be hard times in the year ahead. But I will always have a carefully curated soundtrack to help me along the way, and below represents what helped me get through 2019. Continue reading
By now, it has become customary for me to recall at the turn of the year how great the past 12 months were for metal and its myriad sub-genres and styles, and how difficult it has become to keep one’s head above the water in the face of the deluge of releases. I have been listening to metal for over 25 years but am still astonished and impressed on a daily basis by the boundless imagination on display, be it the ever-blossoming creativity of bands who have been operating for 20 years or the ravenous appetite of newcomers. Continue reading
Did you listen to the June Album of the Month podcast episode? Did you do the homework? Did you think we would leave you hanging? Fear not, for below you will find a quick list (with links to boot!) of all the albums mentioned by the Nine Circles crew as early 2019 favorites. Dive in, take a listen, and let us know what else is killing you so far this year.
*Note: Abbath isn’t actually in this list. That is an oversight, because I’ve been loving Outstrider. But any chance to post a picture of Abbath can’t be passed up, so… Continue reading
How do you describe something that defies description at every turn? What does ‘avant-garde’ even mean when you are so far removed from your peers that you don’t even seem to notice them? George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is not necessarily your go-to spirit guide for examining and understanding boundary-pushing psychedelic metal, yet here we are, listening to Waste of Space Orchestra’s monumental Syntheosis and witnessing abstract concepts swirling and coalescing around us. True to Hegel’s dialectical method, concrete meets abstract and both are reconciled to pure absolute during the course of the album, in the sublime manner of an eternally recurring sonic metamorphosis equal parts primal and cerebral. Continue reading
Like Stephen Tyler said, ‘I’m back in the saddle again.’ Thanks to Josh for once again picking up this column while I was off on my sojourn to the Pacific Northwest. I fought no demon hordes in my tenure there (although I did steal a couple souls…), just a lot of hiking, sightseeing, and stuffing my face with doughnuts and beer. As all good vacations should be. And now, back to business. We have a ton of good tunes for you on this week’s playlist, so dive right in and see what’s been running through our collective headphones lately.