I’m new around here so a quick introduction: I’m Mark Doubt. I have lived most of my life in California, currently I’m in San Francisco where I’m an amateur videographer who shoots, edits, and hosts videos for my channel The 3 R’s with Mark Doubt on YouTube. I’m just a dude who loves Riffs, RPGs, and Rasslin’ and I dream of seeing all those things made more inclusive to everyone that isn’t a fascist or abuser. “Mark Doubt” is a moniker. If you know my “shoot-name” keep your mouth shut and don’t break kayfabe.
While this is an “Albums of the Year” list in the literal sense, it’s certainly not the “Best of the Year” because I’m wholly unqualified to make that sort of declaration. I am no expert by any means, my understanding of music is almost entirely based on “vibes.” I just wanted to share some stuff that really made me feel something over the course of 2022, and the folks at Noob Heavy were
gullible cool enough to let me do it here.
What we have here are 20 releases that brought me the most joy this year. The stuff I really connected with. In a year that seemed to have multiple contenders drop on a weekly basis, these were the ones I fixated on the most & kept coming back to.
10 Favorite Full-Length Releases for 2022
I had a much longer list that I trimmed & rearranged to end up here. Out of a field of 22 “Finalists,” I was able to come up with 10 full-length releases that I can point to as my favorites from this past year.
Chat Pile – God’s Country
I won’t keep you in suspense counting down to my “Album of the Year” – hands down, gun to my head, this was my favorite release of 2022. Period. It grabbed me on the first listen, and still has not let go. The music itself brings to mind past favorites of mine like Shellac and Swans, while the vocals reminded me of Tod A. (of Cop Shoot Cop/Firewater). All excellent company to find yourself in if you’re aiming to get my attention. Not only my favorite track, but favorite title of the year, has to be the album’s closer: “grimace_smoking_weed.jpeg”
Revered and Reviled Above All Others – SWINEVOID
They call what they do “doomviolence” which as near as I can tell means they take the concepts of doom and powerviolence, sprinkle it with some samples, and churn out 20 tracks that don’t exceed 3 minutes in length yet are just incredibly sludgy and incendiary. There’s an excellent economy of time and sound at work making short songs while maintaining that heaviness you can only get from a slow and low riff.
Autonoesis – Moon of Foul Magics
The sophomore album from Autonoesis takes blackened thrash and infuses it with melodic and progressive elements. The guitars are exquisite, and the rhythms relentless. The title track is a nine-minute journey that really shows off everything great about this album. The main riff is a scorcher, while the entire thing covers a lot of musical ground and integrates all of it just beautifully.
Tribal Gaze – The Nine Choirs
I’ve heard Tribal Gaze compared to a few death metal legends, including Cannibal Corpse, but for me they conjure memories of Sepultura up to around Chaos A.D. Primal vox over filthy surging riffs, the album only takes its boot off your throat long enough to kick you in the face.
Tyrannus – Unslayable
Slithering out of Scotland comes Tyrannus with Unslayable, a blackened thrash monstrosity that blends anti-capitalism with themes of cosmic horror. The fight against capitalism and imperialism does often feel like a war against blind idiot gods of nearly unfathomable scope, an abyss that will drive you mad if you stare too long. Fortunately there is Unslayable to crank as we hurtle towards it.
Mother of Graves – Where The Shadows Adorn
Does it death? Does it doom? Does it hold up to repeated listening because the riffs get deep into your skull and under your skin? Yes to all of that, and thensome. It’s on a lot of folks’ lists this year for a reason, it’s easily one of my most listened to albums of 2022. A morose and heavy trip I enjoy every time, this is one for the grey days (whether that means outside or just in my head).
Dream Unending – Song of Salvation
This one is far more doom than death but both are certainly present. It gets a bit psychedelic in places, the vocals are a bit growly, but it is never not hella doomy. It packs a helluva ride into five tracks, with the opener and closer clocking in around 14 and 16 minutes respectively, while the middle three tracks bridge the longer epics with more brief pieces. This one clicked immediately, but it was when I went back to listen again I started hearing just how much it has going on.
Spiritworld – Deathwestern
This Las Vegas-based band started as a more alt-country act, but these days lean hard into a thrashing hardcore sound. Their debut LP Pagan Rhythms promised it was “For fans of Slayer, Hatebreed, and Cormac McCarthy” and Deathwestern continues to deliver on that promise, with everything that made the debut great cranked up to 11. This time they delve a bit more into their country roots with bits sprinkled throughout the album that remind you these are Satanic cowboys who also play some of the most driving metal released in 2022.
Legendarium – Death’s Hand in Yours
Legendarium hearkens back to that era of metal where power-metal and doom had more overlap, the same vibe as bands like Manilla Road or Cirith Ungol. With this album, we see Laurence putting a bit more death growl into his vocals, which he calls “powerdeath” and it definitely works. This one came late, but I have played the living hell out of it in just the few weeks I’ve had it. Probably one of the most fun albums of the year for me. Also, best flute intro in the history of metal, git rekt Tull.
Tzompantli – Tlazcaltiliztli
This one channels pre-Hispanic Mexican roots into some of the heaviest and hardest death-doom ever created. Everything I ever wished the post-Chaos A.D. Cavalera output could be, this is. A “Tzompantli” in Nahuatl is a rack on which you display human skulls, so naturally the songs carry that same energy with themes of human sacrifice and brutality.
10 Favorite EPs & Splits
I felt like it was unfair to try to group EPs & splits with full-length releases, so in addition to the above 10 albums, these are 10 shorter releases I thought were great in 2022:
Worm – Bluenothing
My absolute favorite short release of 2022. Perhaps it’s a bit of an odd comparison, but the soloing on this EP is transcendent in ways that Eddie Hazel’s were on Maggot Brain. Comprised of two tracks left off Foreverglade along with two new ones, what we have is just under 27 minutes of swampy blackened doom to serve as a bridge to the next full-length release.
Bog Wizard / Froglord – A Frog in the Bog
I make no secret of how big a mark I am for the demigods of Nerd Doom, Bog Wizard, so it’s no surprise my favorite split has them on it. It was via Bog Wizard that I discovered Froglord, so this monster doom team-up seemed inevitable. This is a five-track tale of the meeting between The Bog Wizard and The Froglord, including tracks featuring members of the other band. Nothing is really new here, just taking the classic fuzzed-out doom formula to some wonderful places. Places where wizards and magical frogs face off in the ultimate battle over smokey and slimy riffs.
Terminal Nation / Kruelty – The Ruination of Imperialism
Both bands here bring a style that mixes death metal with hardcore, but it definitely isn’t “deathcore.” What it is could best be described as “beatdown death” where only the most brutal bits of both genres find their way into the recipe. Terminal Nation really shines with vicious one-liners announcing the most unnecessarily slamming breakdowns, while Kruelty has a slightly more OSDM vibe that underpins the hardcore elements. Easily one of the most ruthless splits to drop this year.
Short Term Memory Loss – a bat eating her wings
This EP takes me back to tiny goth clubs choked with clove smoke, where you’d see a really interesting opener for a slightly more popular band and wonder why they weren’t getting more attention. The mastermind behind this, Audrey Hornet, calls what she does “witchy, bitchy, vampire stoner queercore/metal” which just about covers all the bases. I call it a stompy good time that draws on the best bits from all its influences. The best time for me to hear this would’ve been as an edgy teen in the 90’s, but the second best was this year, where I nearly wore out my tape.
Mothman & the Thunderbirds / World Eaters – Mothman & the Thunderbirds vs World Eaters
This is the type of split the format was really made for: two bands with very different styles that both go hard for their respective genres. Mothman & the Thunderbirds have a very industrial-metal sound that reminds me of Stabbing Westward, and dare I say they’re also a bit nu-metal, a la Powerman 5000? Their first of two tracks strings together Dale Gribble quotes into somewhat coherent verses and ends with a harrowing repeated chorus; hooked me immediately. World Eaters plays mean OSDM that is heavily influenced by Warhammer 40K. With that description the Bolt Thrower comparison is inevitable, but they’ve added their own touches that prove this is not just a copycat but something born of love for their influences. We need more inclusive and queer people in 40K spaces, too, so that’s just another reason I welcome whatever World Eaters has for me.
Cryptophaser – IIXX
A mysterious instrumental duo rumored to be siblings, Cryptophaser put out two rather beefy doom EPs in 2022, with this one being the second and the one I liked most between them. Both are NYP on Bandcamp, or available on one tape (this may no longer be true as of publication). This is really meat and potatoes stoner doom, no vocals to distract from the riffing and tight drumming, just heavy fuzz interspersed with more frenetic bursts, making the whole vibe borderline jazz at some points.
Adzes / Putrescine – SPLIT
Oh look, the third release from Euphoriadic Studios to make the list! I could easily fill a list of stuff I got this year just from them, they had an amazing slate of releases this year. Adzes brings a heavy death doom vibe with some sick soloing for their side, while Putrescine delivers a more blackened death sound with piano and strings used to great effect on theirs. The styles are not so similar as to bleed into one another, but not so dissimilar as to cause whiplash when you flip the tape, and both sides are equal in heaviness and quality. Just a solid collection of nasty riffs, with the added bonus of both bands being very openly and vocally antifascist.
Sectarian Bloom – New Spring
Here’s an anomaly in that it is not metal, or even “metal-adjacent” in any way. Sectarian Bloom are a San Francisco-based post-punk outfit with two EP releases on Transylvanian Tapes. Their latest doesn’t change the recipe for the style’s mainstays: tandem male/female vox, bouncing basslines, minor keys; it’s all present here, bringing to mind genre heavyweights like Fields of the Nephilim or Siouxsie. But what it does, it does incredibly well, all the elements are executed in a flawless display of music that is both gloomy and upbeat.
Worried – EP 2022
Yep, one more from Euphoriadic. Three songs is way too short. As a fan of doom and sludge, this EP took me places. I come back to it often to unwind with. Some of the Bandcamp tags call it “grungecore,” “dirge” and “sludgegaze” – all of of which I’d call accurate. Definite 90’s vibes to be found here, as well as a lot of doom influences; I could see fans of bands like Acid Bath really digging this.
Anna Pest & Colin McAndrew – A Moor Beneath the Cold Dead Sun
Apparently 2022 was the year I learned that I like deathcore way more than I realized. This EP grabbed me within seconds and held on through all three tracks, with a furious flurry of riffs and a mixture of vocal stylings. There are some hella proggy influences at work here, this isn’t “generic” by any means, it is a hypomanic episode distilled into EP form. The digital on Bandcamp also includes the instrumentals, so you may be hearing bits in my videos next year, too.