Flush it Friday: Tippity Top Albums ov 2K22
List Season is over! Or is it? It’s not. It never ends.
15 Toilet ov Hell contributors, editors, and overlords offered up Year End lists to everyone’s unequivocal delight. We all found records to check out for the first time, records to can’t wait to revisit, and records we regretted omitting from our own lists. We also found, as we always do, a clutch of albums that appeared on multiple lists. Yet, we also found much less crossover than we usually do. Only 12 albums appeared more than once, and only six of those albums appeared more than twice. Jimmy McNulty and Joe managed to skirt any crossover whatsoever. What an eclectic and far-ranging bunch of intrepid consumers we all were in 2022! Brava, brava. Enough preamble. Enough talk. Let’s take a stroll through the favourites of the favourites.
My fellow Atlantan and weekly bar trivia rival Eenzy concluded about Diaspora Problems that “this is exactly the energy hardcore was meant to capture and send back in the world.” Yours truly wrote such nonsense that the band responded on Twitter asking if the review was in English. Biting and almost unbearable at first blush, this album opens up and is shockingly smooth after a few listens. Once it clicks, it clicks. (And then it click, click, booms.)
I was lucky enough to spend a night at Lord Hobo, eating french fries and drinking pickle beer with Rolderathis last weekend, listening delightedly while he waxed poetic about choice cut “Béton Brut” and the collective history lesson it spurred on our Discord. Our dear Cornholio even gifted me this album way back when. Beavis championed it for its “grandiose, theatrical feel” and as the musical vanguard for “a revolution led by a coalition of goths and theater kids.” With Douglas Stuart’s Young Mungo, the follow-up to the unbelievable debut Shuggie Bain, being a bit of a letdown, this automatically makes Hostile Architecture my favourite piece of Glaswegian art of 2022.
Dream Unending – Song of Salvation (2 Lists)
20 Buck Spin |
My Nemesis Theophrastus Bombastus & Megachiles
For Theo, the “dream-doom duo” that is Dream Unending “managed a solid front-to-backer bookended by two truly titanic compositions.” Megachiles notes that Song of Salvation “pushes the dreamscape further and deeper with added instrumental depth… and more ambitious—yet somehow punchier—songwriting.” And who am I to argue with such lovely people gushing about such a lovely record! More importantly, Justin DeTore was in Mental and Righteous Jams and R’n’R and Rival Mob and Mind Eraser. I just think we shouldn’t forget these things. Throw your TV out your window and let DeTore and Derrick Vella take you on a most sublime journey.
Just a total and absolute ripper of an album even if the portmanteau of their band name doesn’t really work. B. Christos called this record “a particularly T H I C C, nasty mess” that conjures “the kind of atmosphere some band could only hope to create with a synth.” The Golden Roldy did the damn thing and released a letter from the Office of Forensic Evaluations, noting Succumb to Rot’s disruptive effluvium, “purulence and bloating,” and a worrying “presence of deep grooves in the musculature.” Give me “Sublime Indignation” every day of the week and twice on a rotten Sunday.
Spear tried to write a list that avoided explicitly any cross-pollination with other lists, but he couldn’t bring himself to omit The Signal Heard Throughout Space and combine with that ol’ Walkin’ Schtick to bestow porcelain honours on this “space opera epic.” As Spear notes, “It’s the sort of the thing that should have failed on paper, but it’s honestly astounding how well they pulled it off.” Stick, not without a hint of irritation, admits that “this stupid space opera blew me away despite its obvious inspiration from the corniest bits of BTBAM and Dream Theater.” There’s something doubly pleasurable, I find, when you love an album even when you don’t want to. You can’t help it! It makes a special kind of demand of you. How lovely.
This is what makes sharing music fun. This is what makes friendships. A buddy recommends an album to another buddy and the second buddy loves it as much as the first buddy so the two buddies can delight in an object as buddies. If you haven’t heard, this album pays homage to the early Mastodon records which are still the best Mastodon records. Roldy’s not wrong that “The Trees, The Trees, The Trees” provides a “breezy, delicate” lift amidst the “bludgeoning.” I’m not wrong to bring up again Black Sleep of Kali. None of it is wrong! Listen to this record, my beloveds.
For emo-crazed grindfreaks only! Michigan’s unimpeachable Rat Pack is back on the Artoffact attack. ASM muses that “grindcore is the shortform poetry to metal at large’s multistanza verse, so perhaps it’s not so contradictory to say Cloud Rat is as elegant as they are extreme” on Threshold. It’s the “degree of intentionality,” the “morphing between styles and tempos at will,” and “the lyrics [that force] you to listen” that make this a banner record for Eenzy. Rolderathis concludes, tapping into the very poetry of the band noted by ASM, “Much like life, Cloud Rat walks a wire between beauty and bedlam that could snap at any second.” Cloud Rat continues to be as special a band as there is.
Things finally clicked for Hans and Zeal & Ardor: “Either I’ve been missing something until now or this project has indeed never sounded as big, as catchy, and as menacing as it does here.” BSG was less shocked, writing bluntly, “It’s Zeal & Ardor, come on.” But maybe something is different only Zeal & Ardor. Eenzy rates this as the band’s best album yet, as “the songs sound tighter, cleaner, and more conceptually focused” than ever before. I think “Blood in the River” is still the coolest song Zeal & Ardor ever released, but this triumvirate of toilet typists has charmed me into Zeal & Ardor the time it most assuredly deserves. Never forget, though, that “a good god is a dead one.”
“Raw, emotional, and real,” writes 365 Days of Horror. “Complex, layered, and doused with pain and severity,” he continues. “There’s always some little angle thrown into the thrashy riffs,” notes Joaquin Stick, “or a word melodic twist in the clean verses.” It’s unpredictable and peppered with vital novelty and innovation, Stick means! Picking up on the dichotomy of Ithaca’s brand of fight-and-bright hardcore, ASM is somewhere listening to this record while “one hand holds the soothing tea, [and] the other holds the lit Molotov.” Get Lithaca.
Technically, technically, this does not appear on Theo’s list, though he calls it the best album of the year—both on the Toilet and elsewhere—so I’m omitting his commendation. Rather than talk anymore about this album, which deserves all its accolades, I’m just going to tell you to read Leah Garces’ Grilled: Turning Adversaries into Allies to Change the Chicken Industry. If you can’t read, she was recently on the Ezra Klein Show in one of the more harrowing interviews you’ll ever hear EK from here. Industrial animal farming is going to kill us all. We will all die in the slaughterhouse, too. Take up your hammers and grease alongside unlikely allies and bring this daily massacre to an end.
I mean, you get it by now, right? This is it. This is the album. “All other bands, take notice,” concludes 365. It’s “incredibly fucking powerful,” Theo avows. “This is what frequency liberation is on now,” Eenzy drops as he references Refused. I cried a bunch about it, I told you all. I could talk more about Stefanie Mannaerts’s vocals, but you should just go listen to them instead, because only her vocals can do her vocals justice. What I will say, though, is that “Brave” is the most overlooked track on Unison Life, and if you ever find yourself jumping straight to the stunning “Victoria,” you are making a mistake. “And I’ve been through your desert / Every silence you break / You’re so brave.” How brave—and lucky—we are.
Snooty finally joins the club! “The overall vibe and energy level strikes me as if it were the spiritual successor to Nasum’s unparalleled Inhale/Exhale, “Snoot tells us. For Snoot, Hiss “is a rapturous sonic delight, a rare gem that smartly exhibits a loving attention to detail as well as a penchant for punchy recklessness.” For Spooky, Hiss has a “fluidity of form” that “only makes it more frantic” (emphasis added). Hans calls it “next level shit”—which it is! Theo, correctly, selected Hiss as the best grind record of the year. Eenzy implores us to “stay the path” and keep our hearts true so that this album may deliver unto us “grind salvation.” Roldy even takes note that Wormrot’s “drummer goes fast and also fast,” an irrefutable statement if ever there was one. I’d also like to mention that this was my BFF Hank’s favourite record of the year, and he appreciates seeing his taste reflected in the flushing waters of our porcelain palace.
There it is, y’all. The 12 records that a lot of us loved in unison. Are these records on your lists? Let us know in the comments and share your lists and your G/B/U’s. I hope that, whatever this weekend is to you, that it is what you most hope it to be. Or, if it cannot be that, that you can still make it something beautiful. Let’s all just wish for the Packers to beat the Dolphins. And, as always: be well, my beloveds, be well.