It happens like it does every year: things fall through the cracks, promos don’t arrive, or we simply didn’t have the capacity to cover everything we want to cover, let alone everything that comes out in a calendar year. At this point folks are finalizing end of year lists and maybe – just maybe – some of these records will be represented on them, and so some accounting was in order. Or it could just be that we needed some content this week, so I went through my folder of 2022 music and picked nine albums to briefly opine on for this latest edition of Nine Circles ov…
I most certainly do not need to go into detail about all the chaos and confusion that has existed in the world over the past three years. 2022 has been especially filled with new challenges and uncertainties, to the point where now I just throw my hands in the air and laugh as it all keeps piling up. Chaos. And confusion. But those that know me, know that I have few specific pursuits each day that help me keep at least some order in all of this. One of those, of course, is this blog. And a second one is running. Which is what brings us here today.
Can’t a guy take a few weeks off with dozens upon dozens of new albums being scattered into the winds? Thank the heavens for Ian and Angela, who covered (and covered me) with reviews of Ithaca, Imperial Triumphant, and Wailin Storms so I was able to read up and listen while burning to a crisp in Mexico. But – like every week – that was just the tip of the iceberg for heavy music, so for this edition of Nine Circles ov… let’s play a quick game of catch-up with a bunch of releases from the past two weeks we didn’t cover on the site.
I have coffee and copious amounts of aloe vera applied to various appendages. Let’s do this.
I’ve really been itching to do a mid-year round-up for a while now, but I have a little bit of reservation about it. Mostly, I don’t really want to spoil anything for the end of the year, because it’s usually around this time that I find the one or two albums that I KNOW are going to top my December list, and this year feels no different. You gotta wait if you want the goods, but in the meantime, this edition of Nine Circles ov… is a list, in no particular order, of albums that I have been really enjoying this year. Some are metal, some are non-metal, some may keep their position until the end of the year and some might end up as honorable mentions, but none of them are the absolute top. Sorry, no spoilers, but these are still fantastic albums well worth the repeated listens I have given them.
Okay, so I may have only formally reviewed 11 albums by the mid point this year, but that’s one more than I was at last year, so victory! However, that doesn’t count the 30 other albums covered in earlier editions of Nine Circles ov (like the Stoner Metal one, or the promo pile one, or the non-promo pile one) or Second Circle. Not to mention my folders telling me I’ve listened to 151 metal albums so far this year. It’s scratching the surface, I know…but at least there are quantifiable metrics for you to assess whether or not I’ve met my acceptance criteria to mark this feature as Done.
And now that my work life has completely blended into this post, let’s talk about how massive 2022 has been so far. We’re once again turning this edition of Nine Circles ov… into a dozen and I’m even going to throw some bonus mentions into the mix. Are these my absolute favorites of the year? Kind of: I wanted to highlight some albums I haven’t seen a lot of coverage on as well as some definite big guns I really dig so far. So what I’m saying is, here’s a big list of stuff I love. Maybe you’ll love it, too.