Best of 2021: Angela’s List

Best of 2021

2021 was…. a bit much.  We will take each day at a time cautiously in 2022 and try not to spook it.  While 2021 brought a hefty amount of unpredictability and chaos, some wonderful things were forged in the turmoil.  This was a really great year for music, and I have many albums that I want to shout about from the rooftop, but I am keeping it concise and calling out my Nine Circles nine (we love a good theme).  Once again, I am one of the last of the bunch of wonderful writers here to post my year end list as my indecisiveness and overthinking ruined the party again.  However, I did participate in the group list (though my albums have shifted a bit…) and also the Best of 2021 Audio Thing (which was a blast).

Here are my top nine personal favorites as well as a list of honorable mentions and non-metal albums that brought me some joy this past year.

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Best of 2021: Corey’s List

Best of 2021

Is that it? Am I the last one? Dang. Again. Wait, maybe one more to come… Anyway, I guess I’ll start this off on my soapbox as always, by noting that I truly cannot comprehend where we are as a society. Well, I suppose I can, which is even more frustrating. If 2020 wasn’t a brutal enough year (not in a good way), 2021 seemed to serve as an appropriate encore. Seemingly everything we experience in life has been weaponized for political gain in one way or another, a global pandemic has been widely accepted as an endemic thanks, in part, to widespread misinformation, and, just as bluntly, climate disasters resulting from human activity are on the brink of running rampant for the duration of humanity’s remaining existence… however brief that may be. And those are just my three favorite, non-personal, items to discuss in our corner of the universe. It sucks, and I’m burnt out. Optimism has completely faded at this point, and I’m ready to run screaming into the woods. But hey, cheers to 2020, right?!

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Best of 2021: Vincent’s List

Best of 2021

Don’t call it a comeback. I’ve been here for years.

2021 did force me to put my writing here on pause for a while. Between the very good and the very bad it was a wild pendulum of a year, and at some point I found myself unable to keep up with all of it. I took time away, as I have been want to do lately. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like that time away really did me some good. I’m not just back here writing a year-end list because I feel like I have to in order to earn my keep, I’m doing it because I feel like I have things to say about the music I loved this year. Because there was a lot to love, and because I managed, somewhere along the way, to find that love again after feeling like it had been fading for the last few years. Between long train rides with old favorites and early mornings with coffee and brand new discoveries, I felt that connection between me and the music I love slowly flowing back. I feel hopeful that that connection will allow me to be able to share more with you all about what it is that makes me light up.

But then, I suppose I should talk about what made that happen for me in 2021, right?

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Best of 2021: Rainbows in the Dark Edition

Best of 2021

You know I had to do it, so here it is.  As I’ve already said, this year was a year that was cram-packed with excellent releases, and the world of non-metal and metal adjacent was no exception, so much so that I almost considered doing another, separate honorable mentions list just for non-metal.  The only reason I didn’t is because free time and sanity are at something of an all-time-low, so you’ll forgive me if anything feels like it got left off, because, well, it did.  Still, there are plenty of worthy releases here, and if that stirs up your appetite for more, there is plenty else to be found out there.  Now, without further ado, here are my favorites, in almost no particular order.

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All In: Nine Circles ov 2021 — The Staff’s Combined List

Best of 2021

Greetings everyone, and welcome to Best of 2021 season! News to no one, this year was a flaming bag of feces everywhere else except for the land of metal. We definitely had a pop off valve for releasing all the pent up frustrations in the form of every single kind of metal available and from all across the globe. Bands were bigger, madder, and grander than ever before and made believers out of all of us in one way or another. We’ve already kicked off some Honorable Mentions lists, but before we roll into our individual MAIN lists, we’re kicking the season off with our combined staff list. First a reminder of how this all works…

But, first; this is typically a Tuesday post for the one of you paying attention. However, it’s EOY season so who cares. NOW, 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, so on and so forth… and all honorable mentions received 1 point. Then, combining the scores between everyone’s lists, we have ourselves a Nine Circles ov 2021, brought to you by, well, everyone.

We’re keeping the thing we did in previous years, which is: crowning a label of the year, using the same scoring process as above. Clearly the highest honor in the industry. Who claimed this title for 2021? You’ll have to wait until the very end.

Anyway, that’s all simple enough, right? Right. Enough reading, let’s get into it…

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