All In: Nine Circles ov 2022 — The Staff’s Combined List

Best of 2022


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…

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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: Josh’s List

Best of 2022

I had this enormous amount of words set to open this thing but opted for… not that. We’ve all lived through another year so there’s no need to reiterate. Instead, I’ll say that 2022 was great for me. It’ll be one of those years I’ll look back on as one that changed things for the better and I’ll have extremely fond memories of it for reasons I can’t mention here. But, I’ll also look back on it as a tremendous year for metal. And it doesn’t matter what strain you dig as pretty much all of it had a banner year. I know it seems like we’re a broken record saying that every year, but 2022 was damn strong. If you don’t feel the same, please rewind and revisit and get back to me. Otherwise, welcome to all the things that made a huge difference for me throughout the year and what was my 2022 soundtrack, what made the biggest impact…whatever, you get the idea. This list of 18…, wait…you ask “why 18?” Well, branding of course. We’re Nine Circles so you’ll get my top 9 and my 9 honorable mentions… and a few special mentions. 9C, as it was. So, let’s do it…

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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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Best of 2022: Ian’s Honorable Mentions

Best of 2022

What a year.  It’s hard to believe that most of the hubbub and fervor of the last few years is fading into the background (read: not gone, not even a little bit).  I feel like for once I had so much going on outside of sitting at home that I felt like it was a little hard to keep up with everything that came out this year, but nonetheless, there were a ton of albums that captivated me and kept me company, and we’re going to start with the honorable mentions.  You get it by now: these albums are fantastic, but I only have room in my personal tops for nine albums, so don’t feel like I’m shortchanging any of these.  Without further ado, here we go:

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