I think that we all have a tendency to give more personhood to years than they deserve. “So long 2022!” is the defining refrain this January, and I know I will be among those more than glad to see last year in the rear view mirror, but 2022 didn’t purposefully single me out to do me wrong. The passage of time is like a natural disaster; we give human names to hurricanes, but a hurricane doesn’t have malicious intent. It simply is. 2023 will be a year that is as well. It will have good days and bad days in store for me just like its predecessor. So instead of imploring for something better and pretending the bad days are all behind me now, I will start this year as is my tradition to start every year, and say only this:
I am gonna make it through this year if it kills me.
You, of course, didn’t come to me for my half-baked philosophical ideas. You came here because you are interested in what it was that I listened to and loved this year. Thank you for that, sincerely. However small the number might be, the thought that there are people who take genuine interest in what I talk about is what keeps me wanting to talk about it more. 2022 certainly gave me a lot more to talk about than in previous years, and brought with it some of my favorite discoveries in recent memory. Some of these you’ve heard me mention more than once, some I haven’t had the pleasure to yet, all are worthy of being reminisced on here. Read about them all below.
Alexisonfire – Otherness
Brutus – Unison Life
City of Caterpillar – Mystic Sisters
Cloud Rat – Threshold
Gospel – The Loser
Imperial Triumphant – Spirit of Ecstasy
Nechochwen – Kanawha Black
Russian Circles – Gnosis
Wake – Thought Form Descent
The Winners’ Circle
9. Absent in Body – Plague God
The metal world’s greatest meeting of minds this year, Plague God is exactly as good as a collaboration between members of Neurosis, Amenra, and Sepultura would have you believe it could be. Claustrophobic, crushing, and yet hauntingly beautiful at times, this album stuck with me for a large portion of this year.
8. Sunrise Patriot Motion – Black Fellflower Stream
The brothers Skarstad can absolutely do no wrong. Yellow Eyes, Ustalost, and now Sunrise Patriot Motion have cemented Will and Sam as being the most forward thinking black metal musicians running today. There are few other bands out there attempting to combine old-school goth and black metal, but to my ears none of them have been as successful as Sunrise Patriot Motion have at merging the two styles. In a year where I dove into my love of goth music head first, this album was like mana from heaven to me. I cannot wait to grab the vinyl on Gilead Media next year.
7. Terzij de Horde – In One of These I Am Your Enemy
In one of the rare W’s 2022 threw my way, we were finally gifted the long awaited follow-up to Terzij de Horde’s 2016 rager of an album Self, and somehow its successor managed to be even better than I could have imagined. Overflowing with transcendent beauty and righteous fury, this album contains some of my favorite bits of music I have heard all year.
6. Inexorum – Equinox Vigil
We need more black metal that fucking rocks, and Inexorum clearly answered that call this year. The Minnesota duo’s third album is by leaps and bounds their strongest to date, its memorable hooks, skyward melodicism, and musical wizardry showing a band with no signs of slowing down.
5. Dream Unending – Song of Salvation
They just don’t make death metal like this anywhere else. Song of Salvation is one of the rare albums that actually succeeds at moving death metal forward as an art form, its perfect marriage of picturesque soundscapes and skull-caving riffs oozing emotion and heart. What will this duo think of next? I’m already excited for it.
4. Scarcity – Aveilut
Aveilut is perhaps among the strangest albums I heard in 2022, but it is one that captivated me from minute one. Microtonal, neoclassical influenced avant-garde black metal isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but there is a deep human element to this album that drives its points home and allows you to really connect with the oftentimes overwhelming amount of stuff going on at any given moment. Every time I listened to Aveilut, I had to listen to it twice because one pass-through simply was not enough, which is perhaps the best compliment I could pay it.
3. Birds in Row – Gris Klein
Screamo is the stuff that makes my blood burn hot and Birds in Row are doing something special with the formula. Gris Klein is a brand new height for the French trio; artful, experimental, and their most impassioned work to date, these songs are pure magic. Don’t believe me? Throw on “Grisaille” and you’ll get it immediately.
2. Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future
Every Falls of Rauros album is a journey, but this album takes you to places the band hasn’t ever set foot before. It is both darker and more hopeful than their previous work, it draws from much heavier and weirder places than before, yet when those ‘sun breaking through the clouds’ moments happen, you feel their impact that much more. Very few bands could pull off a drastic change in sound like this, let alone put out the best album of their career, but Falls of Rauros are like very few other bands out there.
1. Pyrithe – Monuments to Impermanence
Every year, I feel like the albums that I end up loving more and more are the albums that give me something I can’t get anywhere else. The weird and the unique are what I end up coming back to, the ones that stick out in my mind come list season. I can say with absolute certainty that Monuments to Impermanence is unlike anything I have ever heard in my life. It is wild, ugly, brash, loud, noisy, unapologetic, and perfect in every way. It is the most exciting album I have listened to this year, and it is the thing that has kept me coming back to it over and over again to hear something new every time.
Thank you for another great year of writing for this site. To you reading this, to my colleagues new and old, to the editors putting the finishing touches on this piece, I couldn’t do this without you, and I wouldn’t want to do this for anyone else.
By endurance we conquer.