Best of 2022: Angela’s Honorable Mentions

Best of 2022

This is my first year writing up an honorable mentions list.  I really struggled narrowing things down this year (well, I struggle every year) and thought instead of cutting out albums that deserve praise, I would make an additional list.  This list is not ranked and because it contains artists that I admire, I also wrote up many of the full-length reviews for these.  I have included albums that may not be 100% metal but contain metal elements and are on the heavier side.  I also wanted to bring some attention to albums that my lovely colleagues here may not be writing about so we continue our diverse listings.  I love that the 9C fam has varying musical tastes and we respect everyone’s opinions.  EOY time is our favorite and the lists keep rolling out.  Check them out here.  This list is very much an Angela list (spoiler alert – a lot of doom and a lot of femme power) and I hope others also enjoy and check out these wonderful artists.

Let’s crack into it!

Darkher – The Buried Storm

I was a little unsure of where to put this album.  It is one of my favorites that was released this year, however, it is not really metal but also not really non-metal.  I think the best way to describe The Buried Storm is witchy dark folk with doom influences.  The music is meditative and ritualistic while haunting and dark.  Heavy soundscapes with added depth and eeriness by guest string musicians beautifully back Jayn Maiven’s ethereal vocals.  Each track flows seamlessly to the next offering listeners an escape and a chance to dive fully into The Buried Storm.

Check out my full review here.

Devil’s Witches – In All Her Forms

Devil’s Witches is a unique band that combines doom, heavy metal, psych metal, classic rock, folk rock, and 70’s lounge music into their compositions.  In All Her Forms has more folk heavy tracks interspersed with doom/rock tracks showing the band’s mastery of these genres.  These separated songs also support the album’s theme of the triple goddess (Maiden, Mother, Matriarch) showing all her forms and all Devil’s Witches’ forms.  Filtered hazy clean vocals accompany sludge/doom heavy tracks while serene clean vocals accompany folk rock tracks.  Instrumental moments (and an instrumental track) offer groovy, sludgy, and peaceful interludes adding to the variety of styles in the album.  While this may sound disjointed, it all works together in a way that only Devil’s Witches can do and comes together into a fantastic, unique album.

Check out my full review here.

Crippled Black Phoenix – Banefyre

Crippled Black Phoenix is another interesting and unique band that has a sound all their own.  They pride themselves as serving “as the voice for the voiceless, whether it be animals, the unequal and the different.”  This makes their music original, emotional, and soul-stirring.  Banefyre has cascading sonic sounds, a diverse vocal variety (including chanting as well as clean vocals), enchanting instrumentals, and prog and post-rock melodies to name a few of the intriguing elements the band does very well.  The album is diverse, artistic, spiritual, and overall a fascinating and moving listen with well-crafted compositions and a performance that captivates and inspires.

Frayle – Skin & Sorrow

Doom duo Frayle self-describes their sound as “music for the night sky.”  Skin & Sorrow (the band’s sophomore full-length release) contains dark, witchy, doom laden instrumentals with haunting (and at times straight up spooky) clean vocals by Gwyn Strang.  Layering tones with drone atmospherics, heavy riffs, and Strang’s almost whispered elongated vocals creates a beautifully heavy album.  Each track has consistent elements making them a bit hard to distinguish from each other but makes the album cohesive and meditative.  It is easy to lose yourself in this album and fall into the gentle ebb and flow movement. 

GAUPA – Myriad

Myriad is full of psychedelic riffs, rock goddess powerful vocals, soulful melodies, and exuberant drumming.  It is a joy to listen to as it is clear that the band had fun creating it and performing it.  GAUPA has embraced their sound and their confidence is clear in this release.  Myriad contains the same doom/folk/psychedelic influences from earlier releases but with sonic amplification and no holding back making it the band’s best (in my opinion) work yet.  Each moment is unpredictable and playful resulting in a fun, energetic album.

Check out my full review here.

Konvent – Call Down the Sun

Call Down the Sun is death doom quartet Konvent’s sophomore full-length release and a testament to the band’s talents and dedication to their music.  Each track contains killer rhythm section instrumentals combined with death and heavy doom riffs and deep death growls.  Heavy and emotional, inspired by the pandemic and countless dark events from the past few years, Call Down the Sun is weighted yet cathartic.  While the band’s debut was an impressive and awesome release, this album shows an evolution in Konvent and makes for a very powerful and dynamic listen.  

E-L-R – Vexier

Vexier is full of doomgaze goodness and vast soundscapes.  It has an ethereal quality that makes it another album to completely immerse and lose yourself in for a meditative experience.  There is a constant energy to the album with no stagnant or dull moments.  A rise and fall is experienced in each track, keeping intrigue and a steady flow.  Atmospheric moments are sprinkled in containing sounds of nature.  Vexier is textured and robust with a focus on the instrumental talents of the band.  There is a subtle nature to the vocals which ring out gently (and are not consistently heard) and add to the ethereal feel of the album.  This release is beautiful and just missed my top nine.

Check out Ian’s full review here.

Gavran – Indistinct Beacon

This album snuck in in December and caught me completely off-guard.  I was previously not familiar with Gavran and I am so thankful that they popped up on my radar.  This album is full of clever compositions that rise and fall with unexpected turns.  Heavier moments contain doom riffs, palpitating drums with a bassline to match, and screams pack a punch while quieter moments contain echoing vocals and pensive melodies.  These two styles beautifully combined into five tracks create an immersive and memorable album.

Check out my full review here.

Cavernlight – As I Cast Ruin Upon the Lens That Reveals My Every Flaw

This album is intense and powerful and not to be missed.  It centers thematically on the complexities of depression and mental health struggles with crushingly heavy music that offers a catharsis resulting in a beautifully expressive album.  As I Cast Ruin… is full of sludge/doom emotional musical interludes and poetically real lyrics.  The album expresses feelings and thoughts that are hard to say out loud or even admit to ourselves.  The lyrics do not beat around the bush and offer solidarity to others struggling with their mental health.  The album is a journey and something to experience.  

Check out my full review here.  Check out our Album of the Month podcast episode here.


Other Honorable Mentions:

Dream Unending – Song of Salvation

The Otolith – Folium Limina

Russian Circles – Gnosis

Astronoid – Radiant Bloom

Conjurer – Pathos

Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future

Corpsegrinder – Corpsegrinder

Mizmor, Thou – Myopia

Imperial Triumphant – Spirit of Ecstasy

Wake – Thought Form Descent

Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army

Elder – Innate Passage

Cloud Rat – Threshold


My top nine list is currently in the works and will be out soon. More EOY content is coming from all of us here at 9C so stay tuned.

Angela

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