TOP ALBUMS OV 2022 W/ EENZAAMHEID, JIMMY MCNULTY, AND BEAVIS CHRIST!

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It is LISTMANIA 2K22 Day 4 as you swim for the surface, for the toilet water’s meniscus, where you and your monies will be safe from impulse buys. Something latches onto your ankle, and fear churns your bowels. Looking down the drain, you see three lumpy apparitions: the ghost (poops) of Eenzaamheid, Jimmy McNulty, and Beavis Christ. They’ve come to warn you of the dangers that beset the miserly during list season.

Eenzaamheid

Holy jesus fuck what a fucking year christ fuck me. Grimace, go smoke your weed somewhere else dude, seriously.

10. Chat Pile – God’s Country
The Flenser

This album has gotten a lot of chatter as 2022’s underground music darling, climbing year end lists as if they were piles of chat, its memes infiltrating your feed like an unwanted purple monster smoking weed in your bedroom. What can I say about this album that hasn’t already been said by the mountains of praised heaped upon it? It’s weird, but precisely weird enough to capture the strange combination of personal desperation and industrial economic victory over its middle-american setting. It’s dark, lewd, and shameless in it’s absolute disgust for what has robbed the band of their hometown. It’s goofy and memeable, much like that (Joker-esque) saying “when you can’t cry anymore you have to laugh”. It is an animal born of sludgy, noisy absurdity that revels in it. Something that could only be created in God’s own country.

9. Wormrot – Hiss
Earache

Wormrot have had the kind of career most grindcore bands could only dream of. From getting their start after Digby pirated Born Stupid off a random server of new releases from Singapore, to a record deal with Earache, a label both famous and infamous within grindcore (fuck you Digby), to three more releases on Earache culminating with Hiss, their most diverse and experimental album yet. The songs jump from bone-breaking grind to almost muddy hardcore riffs to shouts to gang vocals to shrieks to shimmering interludes… it’s easy to get lost if you don’t have faith that Wormrot will take you where you want to go by the time it’s all over. But if you stay the path and your heart is true, Hiss will deliver you to grind salvation.

8. Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
MVKA | Review | Interview

One of the most consistently experimental bands in metal today (and still lacking a MA page) Zeal & Ardor traverses all the musical styles you’d expect from Z&A, but this time around the songs sound tighter, cleaner, and more conceptually focused.  There are only a few songs on this record that I grew tired of quickly, with quickly being after 10 listens or so.  A cogent, coherent artistic concept executed with thoughtfulness and skill, and the best of Z&A’s releases in my opinion.  Add on to that the catchiest black metal song ever written (“Götterdämmerung”) and wrapped up together with Manuel’s powerful, raw vocal performance and I’ll be surprised if this is missing from many top 10 lists this year (except the ones on MA… suckers).

7. Birds in Row – Gris Klein
Red Creek

I don’t think I could imagine a band more apt at writing an ode to feelings felt during COVID lockdown.  Moody, melancholic, bleak, art-obsessed, and French emo boys Birds in Row put together a resonant portrait of life stuck inside in shades of grey.  There aren’t a lot of big emotions here like you’d expect from an emo band but rather a pastiche of tiny ones that hang on like ticks: boredom, loneliness, disappointment, and frustration.  The album discusses the ways in depression slowly whittles away the small bits of happiness you normally find in life until everything’s just turned to grey.  On that front, the album has a message of hope, and the band delivers with all the shoutable-from-the-front-row lyrics you’d expect from post-hardcore like this.  Maybe being emotionally colorblind isn’t all that bad after all.

6. Cloud Rat – Threshold
Artoffact

It’s really been a banne-r year for punishing, chaotic, weirdogrind and I mean all those adjectives with pure affection. Cloud Rat has the ability to grab both my inattentive ears, expecting another 14 min prog track to tune out, and drag those fuckers right down into cloudrat-land. The degree of intentionality of this music, morphing between styles and tempos at will with the lyrics forces you to listen to it in Cloud Rat’s own little universe populated by honesty and dread and harrow. They’re gonna shriek, they’re gonna d-beat, but they also gonna sludge, build atmosphere, and spend a moment letting arpeggiated chords ring before extinguishing them. It’s a chimerical panic attack of musical feelings from within this idiosyncratic band.

5. Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed
Triple Crown/Wax Bodega

Black shoe doom gaze into the void long enough and the voidgazes back into you. I like posty stuff, I like black metal, I like staring at my shoes (especially on stage). This is a pleasant abyss to let gaze back into you.

4. Firtan – Marter
AOP Records

My favorite German Black Metal opus from this year, pure weaponized autumn mood—just inject this musical glühwein straight into my veins. The songs have a more orchestral feel than their previous releases, aided by the addition of violinist Klara Bachmair as a full band member. The songs jump deftly from walls of sound to soft acoustic interludes with the overall feel being both grandiose and fragile, torn between hope and despair. Marter might mean ‘torment’ but it’s far from such to listen to.

3. Trauma Bond – Winter’s Light
Independent

This album is one of the clearest and most cogent translations of extreme emotions into extreme music I’ve heard. Winter’s Light‘s songs alternate between unsettlingly quiet and teeth-gritting grind as it takes you through bleak snapshots of the chapters of its story about a dangerously fraught relationship. Every song change is a panic mirroring the moments of unpredictability and heart-stopping intensity in a traumatic relationship. Churning industrial elements keep the engine running down the tracklist of this sonic assault as it morphs into something more surreal. Eventually the listener is left in a daze with a short ambient track before the cathartic, unbridled grindcore shriek of the closer where the narrator realizes they’ve been left “lesser than the lesser man so lost” in Winter’s light. This album knocked me square on my ass.

2. Brutus – Unison Life
Sargent House

Dreamy. Catchy. Heavy. The songs are beautifully constructed and Stefanie’s vocals are drenched in raw pathos; it’s just pure magic. Maybe it’s an accident they started as a Refused tribute band, but this is what frequency liberation is on now.

1. Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
Epitaph/Secret Voice

Alright, so by now you probably get that Soul Glo are a once-a-generation band whose voice is so earnest and powerful it cuts through the bullshit that has and forever will plague hardcore to some degree. Sure it’s  noise rap delivered at manic hardcore intensity, but this is so much more than Bad Brains rehashed (a band they’ve often annoyingly been compared to). This album is experimental down to its very core, songs shift seemlessly between rapped, shouted, screamed, and death-growled parts and it all makes sense. And the lyrics are so intensely confessional and dense with meaning on songs like Coming Correct is Cheaper, Thumbsucker, Fucked up if True, and (Five Years And) My Family that it seems more like Pierce leads the band with his manic singing and the instrumentals follow in tow. This is exactly the energy hardcore was meant to capture and send back into the world.

Jimmy McNulty

Most of these aren’t in any particular order (except for #1). The problem for me was that I listened to approximately 69x more podcasts than music this year so I didn’t get to really bask in all the glory of an excellent year of extreme music. And I don’t know the rules regarding EP’s, but Winds of Leng released a beast late in the year which I will declare as the best of 2022.

10. Misery Index – Complete Control
Century Media | Therefore no BandCamp 🙁

It’s been a great year for veteran death metal / grindcore acts. It’s Misery Index, you know the drill. Part of my adding this album was going to see the band live earlier in the year—which was spectacularly stellar and made an even bigger fanboi out of your boi D.F.

 

9. Endrot – Suicidal Failure
Independent | Featured on the podcast

One-man grindcore act goes death metal… and knocks it out of the flushing park! Humble Toilet user Endrot claims to be a crappy guitar player but he ain’t fooling anybody. This is chock full of rollicking OSDM riffs and furious solos. The story behind this album is serious AF, humbling, and personal.

8. Live Burial – Curse of the Forlorn
Transcending Obscurity

A terrific follow-up to Unending Futility, an album I purchased a second time on vinyl because I was enjoying the devil’s lettuce and scratched the heck out of my first copy. You know I’m not that big of a doom boi, so it’s good that Live Burial mixes it up with really fast death metal passages between the Slow Parts.

7. Veilburner – VLBRNR
Transcending Obscurity

I know it’s a cliché saying, but here goes: “I’m a simple man… I see an album by [insert band name] and it goes on the list.” Veilburner is one of those bands for me. It takes a LONG time to fully grasp any material released by the band; and while I’m not there yet, it’s safe to claim that this one is [yet] another butt-kicker.

6. Dischordia – Triptych
Transcending Obscurity | Premiere

Dischordia ages like a fine milk: they get nastier as time passes. This is their best work so far, because it’s the proggiest. As a huge fan of Jethro Tull, I say BRING ON THE FLUTE!

5. De Profundis – The Corruption of Virtue
Transcending Obscurity

Sensual bass licks. Booty-shakin’ guitar riffs. Songs that are simultaneously catchy and progressively composed. De Profundis are currently two-for-two on the wonderful Transcending Obscurity label.

4. Immolation – Acts of God
Nuclear Blast | Snooty Reviewty

Immolation can safely be grouped in with other bands like Cannibal Corpse and Exhumed in their consistency. If I like one of their albums, there’s a great chance that I will like the others! This is an excellent record, one that I often spin on the turntable. (Bonus points for being anti-religious.)

3. Cosmic PutrefactionCrepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones
Profound Lore

Holy mother of heck, this is a monster of a Junior record from the insanely prolific G.G. His previous records were good, but this is amazing. I would call it simultaneously cavernous and erratic.

2. Deathbringer – It
Unique Leader

Industrial, progressive death metal. This 15-song collection might seem intimidating upon first glance but Deathbringer does a wonderful job with composition: songs of various lengths with spooky ambient segues here and there, even a few instrumental tracks. You’ll hear keyboards, samples, choirs, all the ingredients of typical industrial metal, wrapped up in a huge, cohesive package. The whole “stop-start” style of death metal will make your mind travel about 15 years back in time when it was more common. This album flows so perfectly from beginning to end, it’s a fantastic—albeit lengthy—journey.

1. Tranzat – Ouh La La
Independent

The greatest Devin Townsend album that he never wrote. This is straight-up DT worship without feeling like plagiarism; let’s call it a tribute. It’s got goofy moments but nothing that poisons the well, there’s just as much professionalism as there are silly antics.

Beavis Christ

I went into making this list thinking that it had been a comparatively weak year for metal. I quickly proved me wrong. It was pretty easy to pick these ten out from what I listened to this year, but I would have a pretty hard time ranking them. Although I wrote them in a random order let’s say they’re in ascending order. I wouldn’t be mad at that ranking actually lol. My listening habits this year were pretty smooth-brain, no-thoughts, so enjoy.

A Forest of Stars AshenspireHostile Architecture
Aural Music

My choice for wordy political album with black metal influences of the year. The grandiose, theatrical feel might not work for you but if it does, you’re in for a treat. It’s music for a revolution led by a coalition of goths and theater kids. It’s also an album where reading the lyrics really helps rile me up. Get mad, comrade. Only thing is, it could really use a song titled “the_hamburglar_doing_bumps.tiff” or something like that.

TzompantliTlazcaltiliztli
20 Buck Spin

Sorrow, rage, and grooves that will have you dragging your hairy Paleolithic knuckles clean off abound in Tlazcaltiliztli. The man behind the band, Huey Itztekwanotl o))) dedicates the album to the indigenous peoples of the Americas, which really adds depth to the album’s emotional range, indigenous instrumentation haunting the ludicrously stompy, Xibalba-esque blasting and chugging. Add your skull to the rack the band’s named after.

Ripped to Shreds劇變 (Jubian)
Relapse Records

Death metal so grindy and fast, you’ll think, “these guys each need to be shipped two reds!” It’s a straightforwardly good time, with hooks, soaring leads, machine-gun drumming, and all. Probably their best album yet.

CorpsessedSuccumb to Rot
Dark Descent Records

The air of 2022 was thick with a plague of doom-ish death metal albums, with Gutvoid, Autopsy, Tzompantli, Writhing, Reeking Aura, and Sedimentum all becoming endemic here in Lake Titicaca. With two guitarists and three band members doing backing vocals, this one’s a particularly T H I C C, nasty mess. It’s got the kind of atmosphere some bands could only hope to create with a synth. Call me Corpsessedsessed.

Don BoloBAHAMUT
Blowjob Records | Mini

I could’ve sworn this came out last year, but nope, January 2022. Rolderonymous did a mini for it back then, but just look at the cover. You are now both completely ready and hopelessly unprepared for what the music sounds like. It’s like… avant-garde latin jazz rock, I guess? There’s a brain-sauteeingly scratchy guitar tone that I cannot get enough of, lots of bouncy weird sounds, horns, and shouting, coming together to somehow form an extremely punk attitude. The band is having a lot of fun, and you need to fucking deal with it. You could call it LoL sO rAnDoM if it wasn’t so damn catchy and compelling. Look to “SIKA” for an entry point, or “Solo Tolerala” for some samples of Mario yelling.

Tomb MoldAperture of Body
Independent

Moar liek aperture of booty lmoa. My hype when this surprise-dropped one day turned out to be entirely warranted. This is just a three-song EP, really a two-song EP with an intro track, but all three tracks rule. After an ominous cyber-outer space synth intro come two of the best Tomb Mold tracks yet. They’re a bit less riff salad-y than usual, thankfully, and all the riffs totally own, as always. Just enough prog is thrown in, along with some cross-pollination from Dream Unending to really distinguish these tracks from the rest of the band’s catalog, possibly even enough to convert those who think of themselves as preferring their tombs dry and clean. I can’t wait for the next full-length.

Faceless BurialAt the Foothills of Deliration
Dark Descent Records

This one’s a trip and a half. Manic, desiccated, labyrinthine, propulsive, catchy. I’m always being catapulted into the next riff just when I’ve started to feel on top of things. 2020’s Speciation feels downright tame in comparison. If nothing else, give it a second to hear the driest guitar tone you’ve ever heard.

InexorumEquinox Vigil
Gilead Media

Meloblack doesn’t always hit for me, but when it does, it hits hard. Equinox Vigil is a nonstop helping of a triumphant, folky march that does not overstay its welcome. I find it very easy to get exhausted by such a mood, but I haven’t gotten tired of this album yet, somehow. Cleans even pop up a couple times, but they’re totally righteous. It’s also fun that my friend happens to work with one of the band members, but I learned this after I’d gotten into the album. 

Reeking AuraBlood and Bonemeal
Profound Lore Records

Will Smith’s performance really slaps in this album. This here “agricultural death metal” album sees him exploring more of his range than he does in this year’s Artificial Brian [siqq], particularly a mid-range bellow that shows a lot more grit, and that really fits the rest of the album. Mixed by the mighty M’arston, every part is clearly distinguishable, but still rill gnarly, in keeping with the album’s grizzly farm theme. Check the lyrics if you want to get pretty freaked out. But more to the point, the guitars go fast and also slow, and they do both really well. The riffs are a festering swirl of decomposing matter. I hope we see a lot more from this band.

Sadistic RitualThe Enigma, Boundless
Prosthetic Records

Just look at that cover art: unhinged, paranoid, overstuffed, and angry. It fits the music well… Thrash that, both the lyrics and sound borrow black metal’s best quality, that feeling of determination against unfathomable odds. This is one of those albums that came out of nowhere for me and immediately enthralled me. May your face be blazed by the neutron star-density riffs, the acrobatic solos, and the pummeling of the drums.

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