Greetings! Just when you thought it was finally over, we have one last piece of 2022 content to share with the masses. I’m sure you’ve already gotten a sense of this across our individual lists, but 2022 was a really, REALLY strong year. In nearly every corner of every metal subgenre one quality release emerged after another. Personally, I can’t remember having a harder time picking the best of the best. And spoiler alert: our team stats at the end of this list reflect that. So while the doomsday clock keeps ticking forward, and the world gets increasingly uglier, we can rest assured that metal as an outlet is as strong as ever. So, once again, we’ve rounded up our favorite albums as a writing team and nailed down the top nine albums between all of us. Here’s how it all works…
Like last year (and previous years), each member of the Nine Circles staff (well, most of them), chose their nine favorite albums (inclusive of EPs), listed in order, and up to nine honorable mentions. Obviously, branding counts. A scoring system was applied to the rankings. For example, one person’s first place album received 10 points, the second received 9, and so on and so forth… and all honorable mentions received 1 point. Then, combining the scores across everyone’s lists, we have ourselves a Nine Circles ov 2022, brought to you by, well, everyone. Almost everyone.
Immediately after the break, you’ll find the top albums of 2022 as chosen by the Nine Circles staff, starting with number 9 and working down to number 1 at the end. And again, we also tracked the labels that produced these albums, allowing us to crown a label of the year, using the same scoring process as above. This is clearly the highest honor in the industry, so I’m sure the anticipation couldn’t be higher. Who claimed this title for 2022? You’ll have to wait until the very end to find out.
Simple enough, right? Right. Enough reading, let’s get into it…
9. Psychonaut – Violate Consensus Reality
8. Inexorum – Equinox Vigil
7. Gaerea – Mirage
6. Misþyrming – Með hamri
5. Saor – Origins
4. Nechochwen – Kanawha Black
3. Dream Unending – Song of Salvation
2. Nite – Voices of the Kronian Moon
1. Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
And that, my friends, is what 2022 looked like at Nine Circles. Let’s get into the fun stuff… stats!
- 136 different albums ended up in a “Best of 2022” list across our team of writers, that’s up from the 125 that made an appearance last year.
- 101 of these albums appeared in only a single list, which is pretty wild. That’s way up from 79 last year, and means that only 35 albums appeared in multiple lists. That’s awesome.
- Falls of Rauros appeared in the most lists (7), followed by Inexorum (6), and then Dream Unending and Zeal & Ardor (5), and Nite, Gaerea and Nechochwen (4).
- 11 different participants picked 11 different albums as their #1. Not a single album appeared at the top of multiple lists, unlike last year where we had a couple albums stand out from the pack. Did I mention 2022 was strong across the board?
- Zeal & Ardor and Nite tied for the most points at 25, with the tiebreaker going to Zeal & Ardor for appearing in one more list. Similar deal for Dream Unending, Nechochwen, and Saor, who all landed at 20 points.
- Oh! I almost forgot! Those 136 albums were released through 77 different labels, and 11 selections were released independently…
Which brings us to our last announcement for 2022. The Label of the Year for 2022, as declared by the fine writers and editors of Nine Circles is… Season of Mist! And truly, it wasn’t even remotely close. Six different Season of Mist albums landed on our lists, with Nite, Gaerea, and Saor leading the charge… that’s right, a third of this list came from Season of Mist. Like I said, it wasn’t close. As far as scoring goes, Season of Mist ended up with a score of 77, followed by Gilead Media at 49, 20 Buck Spin at 46, and then it’s a pretty aggressive drop-off from there. Anyway, congrats to Season of Mist! Your award is in the mail! (No, it’s not. We’re sorry. Unless you want some Nine Circles sunglasses? We’ll do better next year, promise.)
To put a bow on 2022 once and for all, Nine Circles would just like to close out with a massive thank you to the bands, labels, and the PR folks for giving us the goods to enjoy, making it possible for us to celebrate and share the music we love with the rest of the metal community and beyond. To our staff, THANK YOU. Much love to all of you. You keep the wheels turning here at Nine Circles, and the friendship and sense of community you bring to our space everyday makes this a highlight in all of our lives. And of course, to you, our readers, for making the questionable choice of exploring, and maybe even returning, to our corner of the metal internet. Sharing what we’re passionate about is what this is all about, so our appreciation for every single one of you is unending. You make it all worth it.
Cheers to 2022, and a great 2023 that lies ahead of us.