Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2022

Best of 2022

Last year, I supplied a list of 20 albums, thinking that I would be able to shorten to ten by the time list season came around. As it would turn out, even the best-laid plans can be upended, so I am back in EOY list hell.

Welcome to slowly wondering if I was too hasty in writing my lists EOY list season!

You know the drill: there are 20 albums here, and I reviewed some of them. Eps are off the list, which means Epica’s brilliant The Alchemy Project will not be here. With this is mind, this list is divided into four parts, which are as follows:

  • the nebulous, where any of those albums’ placements could be placed anywhere at any time
  • the hypothetical, where the albums’ placements are more concrete, but can also be moved around
  • the theoretical, where the albums’ placements have been solidified
  • the top album of the year. Please start placing your bets.

Also, please note: I submitted a previous list to our benevolent editors, which you’ll see soon. Since then, and even while writing this list, I have made so many changes in placement because I couldn’t decide where they all fit in the grand scheme of things. With this, I now present the fruits of my labor.

Here we go!

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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 247 (9.3.2022)

Big week for big releases. I must have listened to that Megadeth album five more times after writing up my maiden voyage with the album for the site. Now it’s been a steady diet of Blind Guardian, King Buffalo and the Motörhead tribute Whitespade from the guy behind Midnight. The heavy is strong this week, indeed.

But it’s not all about me. The team has some massive tracks to share as well, from bands like Goatwhore, Armed for Apocalypse, some true insanity from Fluids, as well as the latest from Devin Townsend, Wolfbrigade, Escarnium, Crippled Black Phoenix and Cloakroom. Throw in the latest single from All Them Witches, a classic track from Siouxsie and the Banshees as well as Pantera, Moonspell and Killswitch Engage and, well…you got yourself this week’s playlist.

Get listening. Stay safe. See you next week.

Chris

Album Review: Ithaca — “They Fear Us”

Oh so long ago, back when I was a fan of, as opposed to a contributor to, this site, we featured Ithaca’s debut The Language of Injury as an album of the month chat, and I distinctly remember listening to that episode and feeling compelled to immediately dive into it.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed, and Ithaca have been on my radar ever since.  Now, three years later in a world that seems completely and utterly different, the South London metalcore hotshots return with a new fire, new perspectives and a whole lot more to say on They Fear Us.  It’s the Rawring 20’s, y’all.

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CANTO: Cave In, Pyrithe, Ithaca, and More

Slowly, but surely, I am catching up on life.

  • We’ll open with the latest from Cave In. The second single from Heavy Pendulum was unveiled today, titled “Blinded By A Haze”. And yes, it’s another good one. As a reminder, that album is out on May 20th through Relapse Records.
  • If you missed it, Pyrithe announced details surrounding their long-awaited debut full-length not too long ago. Monuments To Impermanence is out on April 29th through Gilead Media, and today they shared a new single through Decibel. Give “Ekphrastik I” a listen here.
  • Pivoting to some tour news for the sake of mixing things up, Moonspell have announced North American dates with Swallow The Sun and Witherfall. Those dates are in August and September, and tickets are available here.
  • Ithaca shared a new track today, titled “In The Way”, which is the opener from They Fear Us. Their second album is set for a July 29th release through Hassle Records.
  • Texas death/black metal act Haunter shared a clip from “Chained At The Helm Of Eschaton”, a track taken from Discarnate Ails. That album drops next month through Profound Lore.
  • Closing with new material from Clutch feels like the right thing to do, so here’s the video for “Red Alert (Boss Metal Zone)”. Fun fact, that video was directed by David Brodsky. Of course, it’s can be streamed here as well.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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The Nine Circles Playlist Vol. 221 (3.5.2022)

playlist - mixtape

I wish I could say that with the arrival of March, we are also welcoming renewed optimism that comes with the more pleasant weather of the turning seasons. Alas, as we pivot from one global disaster to the next, there really isn’t much time for that perspective. As Chris said last week, tyrants are gonna tyrant… and I’ll add on that oligarchs are gonna oligarch.

So on that note, we’ll usher in an absolutely stacked playlist this week to distract ourselves from the world around us, even if just for a moment. Major props to all our contributors this week, a list of wonderful folks that obviously doesn’t include me. Again. The lineup this week contains everything from Drab Majesty to Absent In Body (a project that I am incredibly excited about), with highlighted new material from Hath and Ithaca. I need to point out that I’m super stoked that Josh made the decision to include the “Screaming for Vengeance” cover from Two Minutes to Late Night, and that Buke rounded us out with one of my favorite Triptykon tracks ever. It’s an awesome list, is what I’m saying.

You know what to do at this point. Press play. Get loud. And please, be well to each other.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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