@@@ Holy Fawn: Dimensional Bleed (Wax Bodega, 2022) Pretty much the last listen off a very good rando best metal of 2022 list. I don’t think from the first track that it’s going to work for me but it’s an interesting mash of internal, shoegaze feels and dark vibes that metal traffics in. For example the second track is Death is a Relief, which is kind of a goth teen sentiment while the music hits with an ’80s snare sound and a big Tears for Fears rock rush. It’s dark but more in a sweet, chocolate-y sad way and not just the pure rage and alienation of a classic metal record. This could work for NPR listeners though I’m not really in the NPR listener business. The singer could really work for mondo dark NPR teens, for real, it’s like the Cure had a baby with a metal band. That’s interesting.
@@@ Messa: Close (Svart Records, 2022) I keep on keeping on with the weird metal list because I’ve heard a bunch of good stuff off it. This is marketed as a mash of blues, jazz, dark ambiance and metal. Cool. Sporting indigenous folks on the cover the opening track is a big ol’ epic hard rock banger with an epic singer over waves of rolling distortion and big slow drums. These guys coulda opened up for Black Sabbath as they sure got the formula down. I skipped to the second track Dark Horse which is the starred track on Apple Music. It’s further proof that this is much more a hard rock record than a metal record, which is fine. You can hear the singer, who sings btw, the drums are presented as rock drums, and it’s a civilized situation. I like it, though I think it could use more unique components, it’s pretty standard in its construction and execution. The singer does bring it. This I imagine would work great for stoners.
@@@ Zeal and Ardor: Zeal and Ardor (MVKA, 2022) I got to this record blending hard rock, heavy metal and black gospel music influences via a best of 2022 list. There’s a lot of shit to listen to. I checked out the first few tunes yesterday and my draft blog post got smacked around and lost so today I start with the rave up fourth track, Emersion. It goes from poppy, looped sections to full on smashed thrash, a classic relax and release program that’s been run for decades. I like this, it’s uplifting and extreme in its way. Maybe the younger crowd doesn’t hear the cowboy hard rock of Bon Jovi and Bad Company but I sure do and I don’t love it, it’s needlessly macho. To be honest, this record does jump around quite a bit, it has electro influences as well as arena rock, hard rock, thrash, I have no problem with the mashing it’s more the end results. I really felt the fourth track Emersion, that hit me the most. I would like this more if it upped the black music quotient and took down the cowboy rock but hey that’s just me.
@@@ Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard: The Harvest (New Heavy Sounds, 2022). I found a pretty good list of off the beaten path metal records and this record which is described as an homage to 1980’s science fiction shows up on it. These guys are from Wales and they do bring it on the opener with some space lasers and weird synth melodies on top of the big bucket of crunch. There’s a little dreaminess packaged in here with the singer framed angelically. It’s a creative formula and I’m feeling it. There’s plenty of Black Sabbath sauce on the big long banger Logic Bomb, keeping the angel voice but cranking the riffs up bigly, it’s quite a mindbending contrast. Somebody did a bang up job on putting this record together sonically. There’s some really great sounds and songs on this record so if you’re sitting around waiting for Santa have at it, it’s a big ol’ stocking of guitar sounds.
@@@ SOM: The Shape of Everything (Pelagic, 2022) I got to this via a best of list and my first impression if you took the fuzzy, Dave Grohl vocals and put them into a heavier context it would sound a ton like these guys. They also sound a bunch like the band Torche I was into for a bit. This is slotted as gazecore on Youtube and I get that. Big wall of guitars but less squally than yer usual shoegaze, this is most definitely a ‘metal’ pick for NPR listeners as it’s not full on stuffed with desperation and hopelessness. And not molten it’s gauged. I usually don’t dig this formula but the vibes here are good. There are alot of reference points for this flavor, Smashing Pumpkins big guitar rock also comes to mind and I’m not a Pumpkins fan. While this wouldn’t make my best of year list it’s good shit and quite solid for normies who can only go so far in their listening.
@@@ Dischorida: Triptych (Transcending Obscurity Records, 2022) More metal you shittaz!!! This is some chaotic rocking business with overlapping guitar action and a sparying drummer. It’s doesn’t have stomping feel as much as it has a stumbling drunken bum fight feel, I dig it. The first two songs are hot nuggets for sure with surprising riff action, mathy explosions and an in the moment flavor. The ‘singing’ here is not particularly noteworthy but I’m finding the playing super engaging. These guys are very talented musicians and they’re showing off by segmenting their tunes with quiet sections, herk a jerk transitions and wild unexpected guitar madness. If you like metal and you appreciate heavy musicians playing their asses off check this record out, they’re killin’ it here.
@@@ Mizmor and Thou: Myopia (Myopia, 2022) I’ve come up a bit short on the heavy music this year which can always be remedied by hitting the interwebz and then hitting the streaming service. These guys are a no brainer from a blog called No Clean Singing and I got to that via a twat on the Twatter. Go Elon you dumb fuck! This record comes out of the gate swinging with both thrash and drama. Great drumming and impassioned singing — he sounds both very human and like an orc at the same time. Big melodies in places, this is pretty happening but let’s peep more. At 1 hour 14 minutes and eight tracks these are big bangers, epic metal bangers. I like everything about the record but it’s not making me jump up and down. It could be an of the moment thing where I could feel differently about it later. I’m going to circle back on this. As for execution they’re on it, great guitar sounds, great drummer, really impassioned singer.
@@@ Gaston De La Cruz Quinteto: Constelaciones (Self released, 2022) I’m closing in on being done with bandcamp’s best jazz of 2022. I can’t say I’ve been blown away or found a bunch of stuff but I keep digging. This is a medium sized outfit and it’s the very definition of shambolic. It’s not one of those superbly manicured jazz/post jazz records, it’s got some swing and jank to it. I wouldn’t say the playing is straight fire but they sound fully caffeinated. I’m checking the third tune before I tip out. This third tune is a sweeter ballad that I’m not super into, let me check track 4. Track 4 is another sweet potato and I think I liked the opening track the most of what I heard and I could have used a full record of janky bangers but hey it’s his thing and other folks may super like it.
@@@ Lamentations: Passion of Depression (Willowtip, 2022) I got to this metal record via Twitter. It pops right out of the gate with the tune Terminal, lots of classic guitar riffage and octopus drumming and a synth that sounds like it comes straight out of a Styx track. Then the caveman, what will these nuts think of next? At other points they bring the tune down to a flaxen haired sounding gent and acoustic guitar playing. All over the place. It’s not the all over the place-ness that doesn’t work for me, it’s that classic metal is a tough sell for me. Lots of energy and lots of shredding but I enjoy more chaos.
@@@ Wesli: Azounke an Yanvalou (Cumbancha, 2022) A Haitian musician that blew up last summer (I think?) with a full length that sprawls from traditional drumming and singing to full band somewhat Cajun flavored band music. I understand Cajun music was influenced by Haiti and not the other way ’round I was searching for a connection. It’s hard to make any definitive statements regarding this record because it’s 85 minutes and it’s all over the place. I like the tunes that are smaller ensembles though a part of me will always get down with big drum circles with vocalizing. Poke around to find some jams you didn’t even know you were looking for
@@@ Psychonaut: Violate Consensus Reality (Pelagic, 2022) Day 2 of late 2022 metal fest. It’s a brighter metal sound with plenty of hard rock especially in the vocal areas, this is not super far from older Pearl Jam just with a lot less pretension. I like the guitar sounds and some of the playing and the drummer has a bee in his bonnet but I like the really anti-social, meltdown shit.
@@@ Ripped to Shreds: Reek of Burning Freedom (Relapse, 2022) Oh shit, this is some dome thwacking heavy on the riff metal that is most definitely coming for you. Talk about releasing the Kraken and then breeding it with a giant ass frog stomper. Oh what a cleansing bath of distortion, frenzied guitars and low impact frustrated grunting. I think this gent is somehow tied to Asia and I say well done regardless of location this is just banging. I fast forwarded to the second track, Split Apart by Five Chariots and it’s a touch more brutal than the opener/title track. What an absolutely blazing paper bag of dog shit, beautiful!!!
@@@ The Otolish: Sing No Coda (Blues Funeral Recordings, 2022) I’ve been feeling for a bit a bit out of touch with the metal side of town and when I happened upon a best of October list for metal I leapt at the dark opportunity. This is not typical metal as it features two violins. It opens dark with some keyboard action and stringy bass. I like the blend of sounds but I was hoping for some drums. Lemme skip ahead with the hope that I can get the violins and the weird ass keyboards with some drumming. The first tune is a 13 minute banger and I hung for about 1/3 of it and when I clicked to the second tune I was greeted with the familiar crushing of heads. There’s still some violin stuck back in the mix and a female singer and I dig that but it’s horns up ya shittaz! I’m checking out the beginning of the third tune, Ekpyrotic, and it’s the same as the second track. The replacement of lead guitar melodies with violin doesn’t have enough impact on me to make this record stand out. It’s perfectly good metal and I like the singer but I’m not jumping up and down.
@@@ Dead Cross: Heart Reformer (Ipecac, 2022) @@@ Dead Cross: Heart Reformer (Ipecac, 2022) The participation of near legendary Faith No More vocalist Mike Patton automatically pushes this music above a lot of other music. I dig him but I never super understood the genius at work. This is a blend of old school hardcore/metal and a bit of No Wave punk. They are blurbed as a punk supergroup and in this second track I hear plenty of revved up punk feels. I’m on the second track and it’s pretty fiery, I’m feeling it. This feels like it could end up on my honorable mention for 2022 so some other folks who are more into hard music might shit their trousers over this. It’s rough, smartly put together, and conducts itself differently.
@@@ Scarcity: Aveilut (The Flenser, 2022) I got to this death metal/black metal record via Pitchfork’s 10 most reviewed albums of the week. There are five tracks on the record and all of them are big fat 5, 8, 10, 13 minute bangers. They’re titled I-V and the first one is a slow unfolder with big sheets of distorted guitar and now some steady tom tom intro drumming that morphs into speed rolls. I skipped to the second track because the opener wasn’t really working for me and it’s more straight ahead rock/metal. I listen to a fair amount of metal and this is decent stuff but I could use something to really draw me in, it’s got a bit of a restrained art school feel to it, gimme a fucking meltdown and I’ll hit that.
@@@ Lil Silva: Another Sketch (Nowhere, 2022) This is slotted as electronic music on Apple Music but it has a vocalist in the opener and really sounds like r&b. Electro r&b, but r&b nonetheless. Like if Stevie Wonder rocked all his tracks in a computer — not all cuz there’s a guitar here but it’s mad friendly and is pretty electro. I like it, but I often come back to a similar theme — a lack of contrast in sonic elements. If there was some hard funk nestled in the middle of some of these tracks I would be much more interested. As it is it’s kinda of a sci-fi, electro friendly thing but it could use some teeth. Like when your cat lets you pet her but then she play bites you out of the blue to keep you on your toes. Some equivalent to that.