Here we are with the first edition of Please Sir, I Want Some Core for 2022. As bands like Vein.fm, Foreign Hands, Wounded Touch, Helpless and Soul Glo have already proven, it looks like we’re set for another great year in the world of all things core, so here is a list of ten records which may have flown under the radar a little more than those albums. There should be something for everyone here: grind, metalcore, crossover, mathcore, melodic hardcore, blackened stuff, modern stuff, punky stuff – find your thing and get stuck in, or listen to all ten records in a row right here.
Anna Pest has also kindly added a couple of reviews for some upcoming releases which you definitely won’t want to miss.
APES – Lullabies For Eternal Sleep
Released January 4th 2022
Kicking off the year in abject misery, Quebec’s APES set a seriously high bar when it comes to the very nastiest side of the whole core spectrum. With three guitarists fleshing out a powerful six-piece line-up, and additional noise work provided by Dylan Walker of Full Of Hell, the band conjure an absolutely apocalyptic sound on the 12 minutes which make up Lullabies For Eternal Sleep. Not content to deliver on blackened deathy grindcore alone, the band also show an almost post-metal-esque command of dynamics, with the record’s most crushing moments landing all the harder thanks to the builds and breaks which surround them.
Conduit – Conduit
Released January 14th 2022
All Conduit’s Bandcamp really tells us is that they’re from New Jersey. No bios, no socials, no line-up details, just an email address and the three punishing tracks that make up their self-titled debut EP. The record itself provides a potent hit of chaotic metalcore that seems particularly reminiscent of Wisconsin legends Misery Signals. The vocals are absolutely rabid, delivering aggressive and emotional lyrics over all the essential riffs and chugs. With a few experimental and electronic flourishes to keep things fresh and dynamic, these eight minutes will no doubt leave listeners hoping to hear more both from and about this band very soon.
Slowbleed – The Blazing Sun, A Fiery Dawn
Released January 15th 2022
To be honest, California’s Slowbleed are just as much a metal band as they are a ‘core’ band, but Kep said it was ok to put them in here so here we are. Anyway, there’s no way anyone could listen to the chugs on pretty much every one of these tracks and say this album doesn’t have plenty to do with hardcore. It’s kind of like if all those awesome metalcore bands from the early 00s had spent more time listening to Entombed and Sepultura instead of At The Gates and In Flames, and it’s every bit as rad as that sounds.
Wish You Death – Mortis
Released February 1st 2022
The state that’s given us everyone from Converge to Vein.fm delivers again with Wish You Death (formerly Pushed Out). The Massachusetts metalcore band’s latest EP could give Killswitch Engage a run for their money with some of its riffs and grooves, but it’s also much more chaotic than those guys. Opening with some kind of panicked police radio call, it soon runs into 13 minutes which cover everything from stabby mathcore to 90s hardcore swagger to more extreme metal-indebted blasts. Mixed and mastered by Andy Nelson and Brad Boatright respectively, this is a record that sounds great and hits hard from start to finish.
Sweat – Gotta Give It Up
Released February 4th 2022
Easily the most straight-up hardcore/punk choice on this list, the debut full-length from LA’s Sweat is a total riot. It’s got that classic primal energy that’s defined the genre since its inception – the kind of record where you can almost feel the musicians bouncing off one another in a single room. Vocalist Tuna Tardugno steals the show a bit, spitting out politically-charged lyrics with a bristling and believable vitriol. There’s also definitely a hard/garage rock influence here, with the band mixing in influences from bands like Motörhead and Thin Lizzy for a result that lands somewhere between their Angeleno forebears in The Circle Jerks and The Bronx.
Fatalist – Ruination
Released February 4th 2022
Manchester’s Fatalist point to a lot of blackened and post-metal influences for their latest EP Ruination, and the results are unsurprisingly bleak. It’s a record that delivers comfortably on a kind of Converge-esque crusty intensity, but arguably even more so on a slower, heftier menace that should definitely please fans of bands like Cult Leader. Its lyrics are equally desolate, with tracks like “The Sabre” and “Disasters” standing out as merciless indictments of war-mongering politicians and the Church respectively, while others appear to provide more personal outpourings of despair. “Gather the bones, gather the spoils / One and the same, they are one and the same.”
Ghost Fame – Nobody Wants To Be Here, Nobody Wants To Leave
Released February 18th 2022
Another great band from Massachusetts, melodic hardcore five-piece Ghost Fame recruited a few of their state-mates for their latest EP Nobody Wants To Be Here, Nobody Wants To Leave – specifically Ethan Harrison of Great American Ghost on opener “Scenes From A Marriage”, and members of Mouthbreather on “False Chevalier”. Those guest spots could be a little misleading though, as this record actually has far more to do with bands like Bane and Have Heart (seriously, what is it about Massachusetts?). The results are intense and emotional, with six tracks of semi-metallic lung-searing catharsis crowned by the devastating, dynamic and melodic highlight of fifth track “In Mourning”.
Funeral Singer – Skin Of Stone, Sword Of Plastic
Released February 19th 2022
The latest EP from Kansas City’s Funeral Singer should scratch an itch for anyone who loves mathcore legends like Botch, Norma Jean and The Chariot (so, everyone really). Three tracks, seven minutes, and what feels like a new idea every ten seconds or so, Skin Of Stone, Sword Of Plastic is everything anyone could possibly ask for from a record like this. It’s noisy, dissonant and chaotic as anything, with pained and panicked dual vocals that recall some of the scene’s very finest. Naturally, it benefits from plenty of repeated listens, which is easy to do given you can get through the whole thing eight-and-a-bit times in a single hour.
Graphic Nature – new skin
Released February 25th 2022
What is it with bands and all these lower-case titles? Doesn’t matter really – Graphic Nature are here with another one for all you nu-metalcore fans. Like many others, the Kent-based five-piece borrow heavily from the Code Orange/Vein.fm school of thought, injecting throat-grabbing hardcore with tonnes of bounce and loads of electronic and industrial embellishments. It’s made even more compelling by the painfully personal lyrical content, with vocalist Harvey Freeman leaving it all on the table as the band match his gut-punches every step of the way. George Lever’s production is great too, this capturing the five-piece’s maximalist intensity with beefy modern clarity.
Smash Your Enemies – Genocide
Released March 4th 2022
Upstate Records are fast becoming the go-to label for hard as nails metallic hardcore, and the new album from Detroit’s Smash Your Enemies is no exception. There’s nothing subtle about this whatsoever, with the band delivering seven tracks of pure hatred both musically and lyrically. On opener “Genocide” for example, one of the band’s dual vocalists promises “You will all burn with me”, while the title of third track “God Hates The Living” speaks for itself. You’ll find no respite in the music either, with every one of these tracks coming with a stink-face guarantee for one of the most wall-to-wall crushing records you’ll hear all year.
Falsehoods Of Today – If Our Dreams Collapsed By The Seams
Releases April 8th 2022
British post-hardcore quartet Falsehoods Of Today have made a poignant and accomplished statement with their debut EP, If Our Dreams Collapsed by the Seams. Featuring members of mathcore outfits Lure In and Pupil Slicer, Falsehoods Of Today eschew angular riffs and wacky time signatures in favour of a sound that is atmospheric, contemplative, melodic, and even soothing at times. They weave together start-stop power chords, delay-rich lead guitar melodies, pained screams, rugged clean vocals, and halftime drum beats for a sound that brings to mind acts like Touché Amoré and Casey while still managing to sound unique. There’s a lot of genuine heart, convincing energy, and great songwriting on display here, especially on hard-hitting opening track “Does My Destiny Co-Exist With Mortality” and pre-release single “Fixating on How Much Time Aphrodite Has Left.” I also dig the guitars throughout, which are well played and sound pretty huge. If there’s anything here that could use a bit of improvement, I’d say it’s the production. It’s perfectly serviceable, but the drums feel a bit squashed, the vocals are a little buried, and the master is a little rough around the edges. These are very minor issues though – by and large, this is an excellent first offering from a talented band brimming with potential. Fans of post-hardcore old and new should find a lot to enjoy here.
~ April Pest
Anna Sage – Anna Sage
Releases April 15th 2022
Parisian mathcore four-piece Anna Sage blast open the gates with their self-titled debut full-length album. Chaos is the name of the game here, and with its seemingly endless barrage of panic chords, slamming odd-time drums, pissed-off, full-throated shouts & a songwriting sensibility that feels like it could tear apart at the seams at any given moment, Anna Sage absolutely delivers. Tracks like “Double Bind,” “Hostile Cage,” and explosive opener “The Holy Mice” just go and go, and barely stop for a moment. The melodies here are relatively simple and subdued, but they are absolutely present, and wherever they pop up, they add a sense of foreboding, dark majesty to the mix. Dramatic chords straight from the post-hardcore/screamo playbook make for some borderline poignant moments on tracks like “Sinner Ablaze” and “Walls of Hate.” We even get some slow ’n sludgy elements on tracks like “V” and “Silence.” All in all, this album is remarkably diverse and well-paced for how aggressive and in-your-face it is, and offers just enough breathing room to preclude listener exhaustion while still never losing momentum. It’s a remarkable achievement, and absolutely worth a listen if you’re a fan of mathcore or chaotic hardcore in any measure.
~ April Pest