Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2022

Best of 2022

Last year, I supplied a list of 20 albums, thinking that I would be able to shorten to ten by the time list season came around. As it would turn out, even the best-laid plans can be upended, so I am back in EOY list hell.

Welcome to slowly wondering if I was too hasty in writing my lists EOY list season!

You know the drill: there are 20 albums here, and I reviewed some of them. Eps are off the list, which means Epica’s brilliant The Alchemy Project will not be here. With this is mind, this list is divided into four parts, which are as follows:

  • the nebulous, where any of those albums’ placements could be placed anywhere at any time
  • the hypothetical, where the albums’ placements are more concrete, but can also be moved around
  • the theoretical, where the albums’ placements have been solidified
  • the top album of the year. Please start placing your bets.

Also, please note: I submitted a previous list to our benevolent editors, which you’ll see soon. Since then, and even while writing this list, I have made so many changes in placement because I couldn’t decide where they all fit in the grand scheme of things. With this, I now present the fruits of my labor.

Here we go!

Continue reading

Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2022 — The Outliers (Honorable Mentions)

Best of 2022


EOY list season is upon us, which means that many will be scrambling to put together lists that are both cohesive and, objectively, correct. Although I knew that 2022 might not be able to compete with 2021’s sheer musical quantity, 2022 had more quality releases. It’s gotten to the point where I now have an entire separate list of albums just to catch up with.

It’s also one of the many reasons why I have decided to expand the honorable mentions list, as I found myself with 28 albums that I had enjoyed but didn’t know what to do with them. After somewhat coming to terms with the 20 I want to officially present in my planned EOY list, I decided that these eight deserved some words from me, as I, once again, have a lot to say.

It’s time to touch the painting sitting in Anor Londo.

Continue reading

Album Review: Phlebotomized — “Devoted to God”

Phlebotomized is a band I can only describe as ahead of their time, one of the odder underground death metal bands that were already mixing extreme metal with violin and synthesizers before other bands started to catch on. In fact, no one seemed to take notice of this band’s legacy until they reformed in 2013 and released two compilation albums to solidify their return. Since their reformation, the band continues to release music that borders on the extremely avant-garde side of death metal, creating music that stays with you long after you stop listening. Their “death metal with a twist” schtick is one of the main reasons I became so invested in them when I first heard Immense Intense Suspense / Skycontact (context) back in 2017. Although I have only listened to their newer releases since then, I think it’s time we turn back the clock and see how this band got their monumental start with Devoted to God.

Continue reading

Album Review: Constellatia — “Magisterial Romance”

When it comes to things perceived as romantic, it generally is sentimental and brings out feelings of longing and passion, and black metal is not the most romantic of genres. I have never heard a proper black metal ballad that pulls at the heartstrings and calls to mind idyllic sentiments. Then again, I have also never heard a band make romantic black metal a reality. Although that sounds like one of the tallest orders outside of the classical (read: orchestral/choral) world, South African band Constellatia bring that front and center on their second album, Magisterial Romance.

Continue reading