Best of 2022: Corey’s List

Best of 2022


That, my friends, was a fucking ride.

Honestly, where do I even begin in recapping the year that was? Of course, all the global issues I lamented about at the end of last year are only getting worse, with a few new additions to the pile just for fucking fun. So to quickly catch everyone up, that doomsday clock is most definitely still ticking! But let’s narrow the scope a bit and make this all about me. That’s what we’re all really here for, right?

I’ll repeat: 2022 was a fucking ride. Challenges existed in seemingly every aspect of life in 2022 — perpetually dumb family drama, a complete collapse of job security (a situation that seems to be resolving itself, thankfully), an unexpected and subsequently chaotic move from the ocean to the mountains that has now been in process for four consecutive months (an overall positive development, but a challenge nonetheless), and, of course, the fact that costs are continuing to greatly outpace wages so being alive has become a massive financial burden on my life. You read that right. Yet, at the same time, 2022 was one of my best years. I can finally say I live among the mountains, even if that dust is still far from settling. I ran the Berlin Marathon and followed it up with a few days in Munich and Oktoberfest, two major bucket list items checked off. I photographed some of my favorite bands (twice, in the case of The Ocean), and had the privilege of shooting The Metal Tour of the Year, by far the largest show I’ve been fortunate enough to cover. And then, of course, Wyoming. A week of backpacking and exploring Yellowstone, followed by the return of Fire In The Mountains in the Tetons (the greatest festival on Earth, and one I am proud to say I was able to photograph as well) was probably the greatest single adventure I’ve experienced as an adult. The entire trip was a dream come true. So, yes, 2022 had its ups and downs, but when I look back on the year that was, it will be hard to do so with a negative perspective. And now that I’ve highlighted the last year of my life in a few sentences, let’s talk metal!

This was, without a doubt, the toughest EOY list I’ve ever had to assemble. I changed the order of my favorite albums dozens and dozens of times over the past couple of months. The difference between my favorite album and, say, my fifth favorite album is razor thin, and any of them could have ended at the top of this list. It was a great year, but when all was said and done, there was one that captivated me just a little more than the rest. Let’s stop the rambling here and finally get into it…

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Best of 2022: D. Morris’s List

Best of 2022

2022: The Year I came back… to writing about music that is. When the year started, I had no plans to write about anything and now I’m writing for Nine Circles. It feels good to write about music again, especially heavy music. Putting together a best of list felt like cramming for an exam, especially since I just started here. There’s excellent albums, not on here, that I purposefully left off because my fellow Nine Circles writers would mention or because they were similar to albums I simply loved more. Here are 15 heavy (and heavy adjacent) albums I loved in 2022 in alphabetical order.

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Best of 2022: Chris’s List

Best of 2022


We’re going to keep the intro brief on this one. Year after year I struggle to find the words to open this post, where I ostensibly count down my favorite 25 metal albums of the year. Typically the first thing I do is check out the previous year’s entry…read and see if the themes are still relevant, if there’s anything I want to refine or emphasize for the current year. And for the first time, I didn’t find anything worth changing. Yes…I may have finally nailed it with my 2021 Best Of introduction.

By now you’ve (hopefully) read my post talking about nine albums that didn’t make my but could have, and my 15 Honorable Mentions and how the very concept of an honorable mention seems to contradict itself when the music is so good. I would usually say that was all prelude to this, but that’s a lie. You know, and now I do as well. In the end, all we can do is recount the things we love, and hope it inspires something in you.

So if you will, a request: go back and read that intro to 2021. And then check out the albums listed below for this year. Don’t worry about rankings, don’t worry about omissions. Just check out the music, and let it hopefully inspire something in you.

All of these albums did that for me.

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Album Review: Elder — “Innate Passage”

Elder - Innate Passage

To steal a quote about another band from the late great DJ John Peel, listening to a new Elder album is always different and always the same. It may be familiar but there’s always something different to be found. Every album is its own unique journey. It may be easy to go “Ho hum, Innate Passage is yet another excellent Elder album,” but doing so ignores this is a phenomenal album.

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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 259 (11.26.2022)

For those of you who celebrate it, welcome back from the throes of mass turkey consumption, of stuffing annihilation, and of pie decimation. For the rest of you, simply welcome back. I got a huge Thanksgiving gift when I learned Elder released their latest album Innate Passage a day early on Bandcamp, and then it just kept coming when I finally got to hear the totality of the new Spiritworld album. Both albums are putting serious crimps in my already drafted end of year list, so let’s kick off with them for this, the 259th Nine Circles Playlist.

The rest of the gang managed to pry themselves off the couch and offer up the usual assortment of metal maladies to get your body in shape for the holiday rush. We’ve got Jade, Fvnerals, live Der Weg Einer Freiheit, new Nothingness and Shedfromthebody. We’ve got a big ol’ epic from The Otolith, tracks from Esquela Grind, Intranced, and Reeking Aura. You want a little more moody and a little less extreme? Okay: we’ve got you dialed in with some Kathryn Mohr, some Silversun Pickups, and for the countryheads out there even a little slinky funk courtesy of Paul Cauthen. And one of the best bands in the world to close it out.

Get listening. Stay safe. See you next week.

Chris