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: Dan K.’s Favorite Heavy Stuff

Best of 2022

Woohoo! I actually recognize some of the albums in that picture!

Yyyyyyep, I’m still here, y’all. And hey! I actually made a good amount of time for heavy stuff this year. I think the phrase “heavy stuff” is pretty key, here. Not all of the stuff on my entry* will be “metal,” per se. Is that in keeping with the site’s general aesthetics? Perhaps not. Do I care? Also, perhaps not.

* It’s not a ranking. You know how I feel about rankings.

For, uh… almost as long as this site has existed, if we’re being honest… I’ve been putting together these end-of-year recaps and kinda struggling for things to say in any of them. I mean… I love the team we’ve got here at Nine Circles. I like metal (I think). I’m neutral on making-sure-I-listen-to-all-the-important-albums-in-a-given-year. Most of the time, I don’t like justifying my opinions on said albums. And of course, I fucking hate ranked lists.**

** Now you really know how I feel about rankings.

So, where does that leave me? And why do I keep bothering with these kinds of posts?

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Best of 2022: Vincent’s List

Best of 2022

I think that we all have a tendency to give more personhood to years than they deserve. “So long 2022!” is the defining refrain this January, and I know I will be among those more than glad to see last year in the rear view mirror, but 2022 didn’t purposefully single me out to do me wrong. The passage of time is like a natural disaster; we give human names to hurricanes, but a hurricane doesn’t have malicious intent. It simply is. 2023 will be a year that is as well. It will have good days and bad days in store for me just like its predecessor. So instead of imploring for something better and pretending the bad days are all behind me now, I will start this year as is my tradition to start every year, and say only this:

I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.

You, of course, didn’t come to me for my half-baked philosophical ideas. You came here because you are interested in what it was that I listened to and loved this year. Thank you for that, sincerely. However small the number might be, the thought that there are people who take genuine interest in what I talk about is what keeps me wanting to talk about it more. 2022 certainly gave me a lot more to talk about than in previous years, and brought with it some of my favorite discoveries in recent memory. Some of these you’ve heard me mention more than once, some I haven’t had the pleasure to yet, all are worthy of being reminisced on here. Read about them all below.

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CANTO: Seven Spires, Majesties, Anti-Flag, and More


It’s a Friday, and it’s snowing. It’s going to be a good weekend…

  • But first! A new project I am VERY excited about. Majesties, a melodic death metal trio featuring the minds behind Obsequiae and Inexorum, are releasing Vast Reaches Unclaimed on March 3rd through 20 Buck Spin. The hype is real. Give “The World Unseen” a listen here.
  • Next, we have some new Anti-Flag to share. The video for “Sold Everything” is available here. Their 13th album, Lies They Tell Our Children, is out today through Spinefarm.
  • Danish hardcore group Eyes have revealed “Generation L”, the second single from Congratulations. That album is out on February 3rd through Indisciplinarian.
  • Symphonic metallers Seven Spires are releasing a new live album on March 17th, titled Live at Progpower USA XXI. Check out the footage of “Ghosts Of Yesterday” below. They’re also on tour in both Europe and North America in the coming months, so get on that as well.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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