Josh Thieler’s Favorite Records of 2018

Nine Circles


2018 has been quite the year. It was a roller coaster personally, nationally, globally, and in the realm of metal. There are people that I loved that are gone now. There are people who are gone that I should have loved more. I failed a lot of people. I’ve struggled in so many ways. If you are curious about that, just listen to the last Slaves BC record or read any interviews I did during that release cycle. I got fatter, fitter, quit smoking, joined five or six more bands, did artwork for some bands, did PR for some others, and spent a lot (but never enough) of time with my wonderful wife and animals.

Anyway, I listened to a ton of music again in 2018. I didn’t get a chance to talk about any of it very much, but I listened to a ton. 2018 was another fantastic year…

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Black metal forces combine in Arête to infuse atmosphere and chaos on earth-tilting ‘Hymnal’

Meat Mead Metal

For anyone who’s ever read a handful of stories on this site, you’ve likely figured out that we like music that makes us want to go into the forest immediately and take in the environment. A few weekends ago, a bunch of us went into the Monongahela National Forest (no Duck Newton sighting, sadly) for a weekend to be amid the trees and waterfalls in order to unwind from the things that haunt us every day. The only mistake was having no fitting music in my ears.

A band that definitely would have made for an ideal soundtrack is Arête, a group made up of members of other noted artists such as Twilight Fauna, Slaves BC, Deafest, and Evergreen Refuge—Paul Ravenwood (guitars, vocals, flute, percussion), Dylan Rupe (guitar, bass, percussion, vocals), Chase (guitar, piano, vocals), and Josh Thieler (drums). Their style of black metal instantly conjures…

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Review: Arête – Hymnal

The Sound Not The Word


Label: The Fear and The Void Recordings

Whilst metal, as a genre,  may largely be thought of in terms of aggression, volume, and speed (doom excepted), the genre also has vast scope for music that is atmospheric and captivating. This is, in itself, no great surprise (as the existence of atmospheric black metal proves, arguably the most popular black metal sub-genre of our times). Yet sometimes, an album can come along that blindsides you with just how masterfully it wields those aspects, conjuring up a dreamscape from a foundation of blasts and tremolo-picking riffs. The debut demo from Arête (who contain members of bands such as Twilight Fauna, Slaves BC, and Evergreen Refuge) impressed me just over two years ago, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting release of Hymnal, their first full-length. Adding traditional folk elements to the core atmospheric black metal sound, theirs is music of belonging; of searching…

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