Best of 2022:  Angela’s List 

Best of 2022

How is 2022 already gone?  I think we are all still processing 2020—I know I am—but here we are embarking on a new year with new albums to enjoy and discuss.  Before we move ahead, let’s take a look back at some impactful albums from this past year.  I have posted my list of honorable mentions which is ultimately an extension of this list (check that out here) and am now here with my Nine Circles Top Nine (™ ™ ™).  These albums accompanied me on many nature walks, commutes, and game nights.  They served as background music while I cooked, cleaned, created, and worked at my day job.  Needless to say, they have stuck with me throughout the year and resonated with me in big ways.  

This is my 2022 soundtrack.  I hope you enjoy it and also check out my colleague’s lists here as we all have diverse tastes and stellar albums to gush about.

9.  Bloodbath – “Survival of the Sickest”

Bloodbath - Survival of the Sickest

Those who frequent 9C and listen to our audio thing know that we all love Bloodbath.  Survival of the Sickest is an album only Bloodbath could have created and it is full of ferocious death metal with the rhythm section packing a mighty punch.  While the tracks all have this death metal consistency, there are some unique moments sprinkled in that make the songs stand apart from each other.  There are guest vocals, different instrumentation, and ambient sounds that add dynamics and amplify the album.  

Check out Chris’ full review here.  Check out our Album of the Month podcast here.

8.  Telekinetic Yeti – Primordial

Telekinetic Yeti - Primordial

Telekinetic Yeti is an impressive band consisting of just two members.  There is no bassist and no bass lines are needed to make their music perfectly psychedelic, sludgy, and awesome.  The band never struggles to create massively sonic sounds with just a drummer and a guitarist/vocalist.  Primordial is Telekinetic Yeti’s sophomore release and contains the band’s signature groovy sound with seasoned songwriting and prime production.  This release brings all the enthusiasm of a live show along with brutal riffs, killer guitar solos, and mesmerizing melodies. 

Check out my full review here.  Check out Buke’s interview with Alex Baumann here.

7.  Faetooth – Remnants of the Vessel

This album caught me completely off guard.  I thought I had my top EOY picks pretty much locked in when Faetooth released this amazing album at the end of October.  This is the debut album from the band and I was hooked after I heard the first single released from Remnants of the Vessel.  They describe their music as “fairy doom” and that description is accurate, mystical, and badass.  There are dreamy clean vocals, echoing harsh vocals, entrancing riffs, and meditative shoegaze melodies with lyrical themes around nature and lore.  Every second of the album is captivating and the talent of these four musicians is obvious.  I hope 2023 brings more fairy doom from Faetooth.

Check out my full review here.

6.  Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed

I struggled a bit with where to place this album as it is not quite metal.  I decided I would mostly classify it as “doomgaze” as well as one of my absolute favorites from 2022 so to me, Dimensional Bleed belongs on this list.  This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year as I loved Holy Fawn’s debut and it did not disappoint.  The album is full of electronic and ambient passages that feel cosmic, while at the same time grounding listeners with lyrical themes around death, nature, and the cosmos.  This album is uniquely Holy Fawn—beautiful, otherworldly, mesmerizing and somehow heavy while also light and airy.

Check out my full review here.

5.  Sylvaine – Nova

I admire Kathrine Shepard more than I can ever say.  She is a very talented multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer and her passion project Sylvaine, always creates beautiful amazing albums.  Nova is no exception.  It is deeply emotional with atmospheric driven instrumentals backing her ethereal clean vocals, black metal passages with harsh vocals, and an overall dreamy yet dark feel.  This is an album to sit with and experience and let surround as the music flows and wraps around the listener.  Every moment on Nova is clearly intentional and Shepard’s passion and care put into this release is clear and what makes it such a success.  I was able to catch Sylvaine on tour with Imperial Triumphant and Zeal & Ardor and the concert was predictably stellar.  Seeing her perform pieces from Nova and watching it come to life is a joy and secured this album in my top five.

Check out Ian’s full review here.

4.  Bhleg – Fäghring

Swedish black/folk metal band Bhleg creates impressively intricate and creative music.  This release is no exception and in fact may be one of their best.  There is unique instrumentation including lyre, hurdy-gurdy, mouth harp, nyckelharpa, flute, bullroarer, and birch trumpet which makes Fäghring something special.  Also included in this album are guest vocals and with all the elements and layers, there is something new to discover with each listen.  There are ambient moments with ethereal vocals, marching riffs with blackened growls, and musical interludes sure to whisk listeners away to Scandinavia.  What’s not to love?  

Check out my full review here.

3.  Messa – Close

MESSA_CLOSE

Messa is a unique band that brings various influences including jazz, blues, sludge, black metal, and dark ambience to their predominantly doom sound.  In this release they create a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean vibe which elevates the music to a whole new level.  Sara Bianchin’s enchanting vocals are backed by doom-filled riffs, and there is an array of unique instrumentation including saxophone, oud, mandolin, and Moog bass.  Close is original and powerful and the talents of the band are made obvious in each and every note.  I knew as soon as I heard this album that it would be on my EOY list and it has remained a very strong favorite of mine from this year. 

Check out my full review here.

2.  Saor – Origins

Andy Marshall can do no wrong and each release from Saor seems to be better than the last.  Origins is their best to date in my opinion and I was blown away upon first listen.  Saor’s black metal/folk metal with a Scottish flair is unmistakable and at its peak here.  Killer riffs and infectious melodies drive this album home.  Each moment is expertly crafted with pensive, somber ebbs before roaring black metal infused flows.  The title track is one of my most listened to of the year and I will never tire of it or tire of the album itself.

Check out Ian’s full review here.

1.  Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor

Zeal and Ardor - Zeal and Ardor

This is my most listened to album of 2022 and I even landed in Zeal & Ardor’s top 0.5% of listeners on Spotify.  Making this release my top album for 2022 was a no brainer.  Zeal & Ardor’s signature blend of black metal and African-American spirituals is alive and well with added synth-filled soundscapes.  Melodies are catchy and moving and Manuel Gagneux’s vocal blend of enraged screams, guttural spoken word, and clean vocals makes Zeal & Ardor a work of art.  As I previously said, I was fortunate enough to catch the group on tour and seeing them live is an experience that I am so grateful for.  Gagneux’s vocal range had my jaw dropping and his stage presence did not disappoint.  Hearing “Death to the Holy” live cemented it as my favorite song released this year and every member on stage performed with passion and showcased their talents.  Seeing the album come to life was one of the high points of my 2022 and I will continue to spin Zeal & Ardor probably at least once a week.


Other (Non-Metal) Favorites:

Florence + The Machine – Dance Fever

Regina Spektor – Home, before and after

The Mountain Goats – Bleed Out

Heilung – Drif

Pencey Sloe – Neglect (Check out Vincent’s review here.)

Sowulo – Wurdiz

Soccer Mommy – Sometimes, Forever

Wickerbird – The Sea Weaver

Imogen Heap, Dan O’Neill – Chordata Bytes I and II

Mom Jeans. – Sweet Tooth

Emily Jane White – Alluvion

Ethel Cain – Preacher’s Daughter

Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis II:  A Window of the Waking Mind


That’s a wrap from me for 2022.  More EOY content continues to roll out from the 9C fam including a combined list and a podcast episode (stay tuned).  As always, I am eternally grateful to be a part of this amazing team of metalheads and look forward to many more reviews and podcast episodes in 2023. 

– Angela

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