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.
Okay, so I may have only formally reviewed 11 albums by the mid point this year, but that’s one more than I was at last year, so victory! However, that doesn’t count the 30 other albums covered in earlier editions of Nine Circles ov (like the Stoner Metal one, or the promo pile one, or the non-promo pile one) or Second Circle. Not to mention my folders telling me I’ve listened to 151 metal albums so far this year. It’s scratching the surface, I know…but at least there are quantifiable metrics for you to assess whether or not I’ve met my acceptance criteria to mark this feature as Done.
And now that my work life has completely blended into this post, let’s talk about how massive 2022 has been so far. We’re once again turning this edition of Nine Circles ov… into a dozen and I’m even going to throw some bonus mentions into the mix. Are these my absolute favorites of the year? Kind of: I wanted to highlight some albums I haven’t seen a lot of coverage on as well as some definite big guns I really dig so far. So what I’m saying is, here’s a big list of stuff I love. Maybe you’ll love it, too.
Everyone go spend a bunch of money on Bandcamp Friday.
I like the idea of leading off with Venom Prison. Check out the visualizer for the new track titled “Comfort of Complicity”. That, of course, is taken from Erebos, which is officially out today through Century Media.
Josh was right, Kreator still has incredible album art. Such is the case with their upcoming new album, Hate Über Alles, which will be released on June 3rd through Nuclear Blast. Check out the music video for the title-track right here.
The for-profit prison system across the world is a vile, repugnant institution where no true reform is doled out; punishment for its own sake is the transaction, along with torture, violence and trauma. In the US, we feel this all too well in the pipelines that seem to transport the vulnerable straight into cell blocks with no deviation, and Wales’ Venom Prison feel it as well in their home country/ies. Erebos, the latest release from a band that has never shied away from outspoken political and social commentary, revolves around these horrors and the lives that are destroyed in the process of “justice.”
It is not today as I write this so maybe your team got in the Super Bowl, and maybe not. If so, I’m sure you’re still celebrating and if not, or maybe you just don’t care, welcome to another list of new metal. Glad you stopped by as we’ve got new stuff from Thorn who made my best of 2021 list with their genius take on death metal, straight forward and lacerating metal from Venom Prison and Mass Worship, another death metal album from Golgothan who I’ve seen some positive feedback on as of late, and of course a few more bangers in the list that follows. You know what to do from here…get in there and get some.