Initial Descent: July 14 – 20, 2019

TOMB_MOLD by_Jake_Ballah_
Tomb Mold – photo courtesy of Jake Ballah

Summer is my favorite but even I’ll admit that it’s hot. I mean, skin melting hot or even better, swamp ass hot. Seriously, the early morning dark gives up 92% humidity and a real feel of 95 when the actual temp is 80ish. So yea, time to find a cool mountain stream or something. Anyway, short list of new metal this week so let’s get to it…

Tomb Mold is one of those rare bands that started out on fire but on their third full length of stellar death metal, they’ve hit a whole other level of superiority. Much the same can be said of Falls of Rauros fifth full length — and debut for Gilead Media — of folky, atmospheric black metal – all roads of this band’s past lead here, period. Rogga Johansson’s involvement list over the years reads like a mile long rap sheet which means this dude is so well versed in the ways of death metal that his latest solo effort bleeds straight up insanity in the best kind of way. And then there’s WORMED, capitalized for a reason – these guys make technical death metal look easy as they continue the wild tale of Krighsu, the last human in the cosmos. Put that in your cosmic pipe and smoke it. 

Do the thing and jump in there, the quality continues even though the quantity wanes, temporarily. I’ll be over here taking an ice bath. Continue reading

The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 83 (6.8.2019)

playlist - mixtape

Compared to last week’s short holiday schedule, this week has felt like it’s dragged on forever.  Thank whomever it’s Saturday now and you and I both get to enjoy another one of our mixtapes, replete with the best music new and old we all have been listening to.  There’s bound to be something good in there for you, so take a beat and dig in.

– Vincent

CANTO: Wormed, Wolvhammer, Batushka, and More

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Life is weird.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
– cmb

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

Best of 2016 So Far: Dan’s List

nine circles

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…

Continue reading