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.
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.
“But wait, Chris! What happened to Episode 236 of the Nine Circles Playlist?!”
Sometimes playlists are just too wild to be contained on the webpage of a humble music blog. Even now, if you listen closely between the high pitched whine of the street lamps you can hear the fading tremolo picking and blast beats of a runaway playlist, foraging on the remains of boy bands (rest in peace, BTS) and the tattered remnants of forgotten 00s dub step. If you love something, set it free…but if you simply forget to post something at least make the story fun.
Anyway, let’s talk about the much more present edition, which is literally below for you to relish with your favorite accoutrements. Josh is kicking it off with the latest from Megadeth…maybe the best song they’ve done in 15 years or more. And if that doesn’t rock your world, the new Krisiun is even more brutal. Followed with a hefty dose of Lorna Shore you should be off to a great start. Anton gleefully shoves some Antigama, Aenaon, and Xenoglyph to ensure you have 100% of your extreme intake complete. Vincent gets a massive track from Scarcity on and is slowly fulfilling an unspoken promise to feature every track from Bloc Party‘s debut in the playlist. Hera fuels my nightmares with something called AWS which I am assured is not Amazon Web Services…unless it is? She also has White Ward, Apocalyptica, Leprous, and a great collaboration between Trent Reznor and Danny Elfman. Ian brings in some great new music from the likes of Wake, Saor, and Russian Circles, as well as a classic banger from Alexisonfire to celebrate the release of their new album. Finally Angela returns as a voice of calm and serenity, giving us soothing lullabies from the likes of Deathwhite, Silent Majority, Stay Inside, and Aptera, which I’ve also been enjoying immensely.
As for me? I’ll end the playlist this week with a few tracks you can expect to see me review in the coming weeks.