Written by Barlovv
‘Tis the season for “Best Of” lists, and no one likes a list more than this guy, so let’s fucking go. This year has been kind of buck-wild honestly, joining this absolutely legendary team of writers at Noobheavy was the beginning of one of the stranger years of my life which has culminated in the launching of a record label which was supposed to be a joke and now has weekly releases until May of 2023. Absolutely fucking bizarre. Alright, let’s go.
First off, I want to take a peep back at my mid-year list, and let you know which ones hold on to being absolute top-tier albums from this year. So, the top 5 albums that carry forward from the mid-year list are:
*epic drumroll/fill/blast beats intensify*
- 5. Bloodywood – Rakshak (Listen)
- 4. Olhava – Reborn (Listen)
- 3. Otoboke Beaver – Super Champon (Listen)
- 2. Foxtails – Fawn (Full Review) (Listen)
- 1. Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems (Full Review) (Listen)
Next up, my top 5 EPs of 2022. I’m not going to say anything about them, not because there isn’t plenty to say but because this article can only be so long so just deal with it. Here they are:
- 5. End It – Unpleasant Living (Listen)
- 4. Mothman and the Thunderbirds / World Eaters – Mothman and the Thunderbirds vs World Eaters (Listen)
- 3. Disoviet – Lessons in Dialectics (Full Review) (Listen)
- 2. Transgressive – Fetus Factory (Listen)
- 1. Tristys – Cities and the Dead (Full Review) (Listen)
And now, the big show, the main event, what you’re all anxiously awaiting to see so you can tell me how wrong I am and how fucking basic all my choices are. The top 21 albums of 2022 according to me, an objective and always correct music reviewer. This was, genuinely, one of the hardest lists I’ve ever made. 2022 was a banger of a year for music, even it was literal piss in most other facets. I first cut this down from 100 and from 50 and honestly, I only settled on 21 because there just weren’t any more cuts that I felt comfortable making. Everything on this list fucks. Let’s fucking go.
21. Gonemage – Handheld Demise
Released: September 30
Gonemage is a beautiful rabbit hole, as you start to look into them more and see the absolute glut of work that Garry Brents puts out under different names all year fucking long. It’s unbelievable to me that anyone could do this much with a genuinely high quality product everytime.
All that said, Handheld Demise does stand out amongst everything with its bizarre chiptune/black metal combination that feels like it should in no way work, and then continues to prove that it absolutely fucking works.
20. Tyrannus – Unslayable
Released: April 22
A year of second chances for me, it would seem. Tyrannus is one of a few albums that made this list that I really wasn’t quite on board with the first time around. Thankfully, enough folks were talking about this that I needed to give it another go and fuck me if it doesn’t rule.
Some black thrash metal with Lovecraftian overtones are sure to tick some boxes for someone, and it really doesn’t get much better.
Also, honestly, that fucking cover is so good. Just look at it.
19. Iōhannēs – Jacob’s Ladder
Released: November 22
North Carolina’s Iōhannēs is an undeniable and exceptional talent. A one-person black metal project, there is a whole lot on display across the bevy of releases from this artist, with Jacob’s Ladder being just the latest in that admirable line. The thing opens so strong, with haunting guitars and a genuinely beautiful tone set with a hell of a solo, almost immediately followed by the crushing and brutal vocals that you’ve come to expect from them.
18. Jakey – Romcom
Released: November 18
Surprisingly, of all of the music on this list, Jakey‘s Romcom was my most anticipated album of the year without question. After some delays and things, I wondered if the album would be out this year but I’m sure fucking glad it is.
Now is it the transendent hip-hop album that I had maybe imagined it could be? No, of course not. Is it a jam and should you fucking listen to it right now? Yes. You should. Jakey is a really solid talent in indie hip-hop, and is also funny and seems to be a decent dude so there’s a lot working in his favour. It’s fucking great.
17. Snotty Nose Rez Kids – I’m Good, HBU?
Any opportunity to put SNRK on people’s radar is an opportunity I will take. While this one may not rank as high in their discography as previous efforts, it is still a fucking bop and you should hear it. Indigenous hip-hop from up here in Canada, and these dudes are really popping off right now, so it’s time to catch the flight or whatever they say. Every song is a jam and shows of the unquestionable talent of SNRK so get on board.
16. Ghosts of Shadow Moses – Demons
Released: October 12
Demons rips from moment one, introducing itself with a swarm of flies and some vocal-chord shredding opening screams. There is also this really beautiful melodic nature to the guitars that almost feels tinged with an 80’s vibe, though that could just be me not knowing hot to describe music again. I’m also realizing, the more I write about music, that I am extremely nostalgic for metalcore because goddamn does this take me back. It doesn’t sound dated either; it’s a fantastic and up-to-date version of a thing I liked when I was young—and gives me that exact same feeling of energy and satisfaction.
15. Kanine – Karnage
Released: July 8
This is, without question, one of the most absurd, junk food, pig squealing, slam dancing album I’ve listened to this year— and I genuinely loved every single second of it. Typically that pig squeal scream is kind of a non-starter for me, but for whatever reason right from the beginning of “Furie”, the little serotonin receptor in the back of my brain lit up and this album and I were going to have a long and beautiful friendship.
14. Revered and Reviled Above All Others – Swinevoid
Released: August 5
Perhaps the nastiest piece of work that I’ve heard all year. Absolutely downright fucking filthy. If it’s not clear, those are absolutely my deepest compliments. Another explicitly political album for the pile, and the thing is just fucking nasty. Somehow a band that has made grind into sludge and I don’t understand how this alchemy was done but fuck me does it ever work.
The kind of album that makes you want o go out and flip cop cars. ACAB.
13. Thotcrime – D1G1T4L_DR1FT
Released: October 28
Thotcrime‘s D1G1TAL_DR1FT absolutely slays, and is one of my favourite albums among a year of brand new favourite albums. I’ve said it before, but I sure can’t fucking believe how strong 2022 has been for music, and we should count ourselves lucky. We’ve got all kinds of truly excellent music to get us up to the impending nuclear apocalypse and then after, until all of our phones die and we can’t charge them because electricity doesn’t exist. Sorry, I seem to have left my body there for a second…this album rules. Get it.
12. Knoll – Metempiric
Released: June 24
Truly, the first time I heard this effort from Knoll, it bounced right off me. I don’t think I had yet come to properly appreciate grind in all of its glory, and so it wasn’t until my second run at Metempiric that I really understood why this ruled so fucking hard. Honestly, something about those fucking trumpets that hit so hard and so good in my brain that unlocked my now overwhelming love for grind music and avantgarde music.
An album as vicious as it is unique, this should be right at the top of your pile of shit to listen to as we end the year. Get it in you, yesterday.
11. KEN Mode – Null
Going back to an album isn’t something that I often have a ton of time to do with the glut of excellent music coming out this year, and any album that gets me to come back is well worth remarking on. That significant honour goes to the fellas from Winnipeg: KEN Mode. Null goes fucking hard and is not at all interested in wasting anyone’s time when it can misanthropically make you miserable instead. I have the phrase “I don’t believe that you mean well” permanently etched into a deep recess in my brain now, and I get goosebumps every fucking time. Goddamn. KEN Mode is on something fucking serious, and you need to listen to this album right now.
10. Belarus Beaver – Symphony of Falling Trees
Released: July 29
Look, the album is a beaver-themed grind album, and I had an actual blast listening to it. Given the genre it feels weird to call this “light” but honestly. The world is such a fucking shit-show right now, and existential crisis are a frequent as we all stare down the end of the earth. So, a goofy, heavy album about beavers eating bones is kind of the exact balm that I needed. Your mileage may vary, but it’s in my end of the year list with no regrets.
9. Biollante – J’espere Que Tu Danseras Quelque Part
Released: May 13
Experimental and explicitly political hip hop from the absolute fucking legends of Non Serviam. This side project from these folks is unreal, and manages to be among the best metal and hip hop albums I’ve heard this year. Honestly, the cross-over potential of metal and hip hop that you can find here and later on in the list really show how limiting a focus on genre expectations is.
Biollante manage to be unlike anything else and still have the accessible qualities that fans of both genres will be looking for, making it a truly excellent crossover piece of work that really would have been higher if not for number one on this list. Goddamn.
8. Besna – Zverstvá
Released: March 11
What can you say about this? It is criminally underheard, I say that only from looking at my extremely small circle of the internet, but jesus christ, this should be on everyone’s fucking lips and list this year. A truly stunning and beautiful album from start to finish that manages to combine peace and fury in a way that feels almost effortless.
It should be clear to everyone who listens that Besna are something special, and a band to have your eye on moving forward.
7. Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture
Released: July 18
Truly, Hostile Architecture being this low on the list speaks to the absolutely insane quality of the releases we saw this year. A weaker year would have seen this one at the top, but here we are all the same.
This album is undoubtedly a challenging one; pulling from so many genres and at times settling into an almost spoken word album in places, this is a dischordant, brutal, and explicitly political record that I would not be shocked to hear that many bounce right the fuck off of. However, if you’re willing to give it some time and really sit with this, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most poignant and powerful albums of the year.
6. Non Serviam – We Are Nothing but Your Krill
Released: August 15
We Are Nothing but Your Krill is the latest from Non Serviam and god fucking damn is it ever something special. The last time I felt similarly was listening to the absolutely exceptional Here I Lie Buried With My Rings and My Dresses by Backxwash. This open defiance of genre and avant-garde production just instantly gets it’s hooks in me and I can’t stop listening to it, and it sticks with me even when I’m not listening to it.
5. Ammothea – Terminal Burrow
Released: July 7
This album creates such a wild trance-like state in my brain, settling somewhere into the wrinkles in my grey matter and just vibrating around in there in a way that manages to be disorienting and beautiful all the same. It’s also shockingly chill for what is, ultimately, a pretty heavy album. With screaming vocals way down in the mix, shouting to you across a blizzard.
4. Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist
Released: September 2
So listen, I was going to write a full review back in September, because honestly Callous Daoboys are something special, and Celebrity Therapist absolutely fucking bangs. HOWEVER, this album had already been talked and hyped to death, so I will just say this: the thing lives up to the hype, and I fucking love it. There’s a real nostalgic feeling here too, growing up on mathcore, this beauty does take me back, while still feeling like something wholly new and exciting.
3. Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed
Released: September 9
Every once in a while, an album comes along that slots itself perfectly into an empty hole in my brain and nestles there. It’s a hole I wasn’t aware was even there, but once its filled, there really isn’t anything quite like it. Turns out that time has come again in the form of the Arizona band Holy Fawn – and to put it quite simply: holy fuck.
2. Chat Pile – God’s Country
Released: July 29
40 minutes of absolutely relentless suffering plays out over the course of this album, ending with absolute despairing cries of “I don’t want to live anymore” and you are front and center for every second of this, unflinching and brutal. There is a part of me that wanted to get my full review done as quickly as possible so that I could take a bit of a breather from the album, and another part that doesn’t want to ever stop listening to it.
1. Backxwash – HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING
Released: October 31
HIS HAPPINESS SHALL COME FIRST EVEN THOUGH WE ARE SUFFERING is one of the best pieces of music released this year. Regardless of genre or preference or opinion, this is an objectively terrific album. There is no excuse not to go and listen to this album 1000 times. It’s raw, angry, and just so absolutely fucking terrific from end to end. Go listen to this, go buy the whole goddamn trilogy, and keep your eye on every single damn thing that Backxwash releases. Just do it. I will take no more questions at this time.
And finally, because this wasn’t already long enough here is a chart with everything. The bottom 7 are my favourite EPs, the rest are the blended rankings of my mid year list and current list so you can really fight about it. Thanks for a wild year, and for reading this.