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What the fuck happened to music in 2022?

Started by altered, December 13, 2022, 12:11:50 AM

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No, really. I wrote a giant fucking thread for Twitter on the releases that stood out to me, and it's ... something was up with this year's music.

Crossposting here in case you weirdoes want to read it too. It's enormous.

The music to come out this year is unreal. I had my AOTY overturned several times when it seemed locked in -- I'd dare to say if any of these releases had been anywhere in the past 16 years other than 2022, they'd have been the top of that year.

Let's start with the non-nu metal releases that crossed my radar this year.

Chat Pile's God's Country is the Texas Chainsaw Massacre of ugly AmRep noise rock. I don't have the words to give it what it deserves, just trust that it's worth your time. Slaughterhouse, The Mask and especially Why are particularly impressive. Go listen.

But noise rock wasn't just remade in the image of an ugly rotten-meat deity. It was also beaten to a pulp by Thank's no-wave dancepunk abomination, Thoughtless Cruelty. Dread is delicious, Good Boy is anti-centrist genius, and A Social Contract violates several such beasts.

The last noise rock artist to blow the wheels off of the genre was Haunted Horses, with the fevered panic attack dreamscape of The Worst Has Finally Happened. It reminds me of my actual AOTY in just how bombastic and maximalist it is. Check out Swarms especially.

Next up: jazz-ambient project Crooked Light released a trio of hazy fog-drenched Silent Hill-ass EPs -- and I mean the hypnotic, low-key softer tracks of the first two games, not the death industrial/triphop that eventually swallowed the series. I Have Crept In is my favorite.

Still in ambient territory, Tineidae's magnificent Exo was followed by the even more overwhelming Mothership, once again capturing my love of Cryo Chamber's soundtracky vibe and my obsession with space ambient soundscaping.

Also from Cryo Chamber, Gdanian released Induction, which is a more aggressively atmospheric approach than Submersion's dubby bassline chillness, and manages to nail it. Honestly beats Tineidae for space ambient excellence, and that's saying a fucking lot.

ANOTHER Cryo Chamber masterpiece, Skrika released an impressive follow up to Fifth Nature in Soludenia. Crunchy alien electro-dark-ambient is the order of the day, with distant vocal lines and a nearly unparalleled mastery of the solitary individual sound. Incredible.

The final one I'm including from Cryo Chamber, Metatron Omega's ISIH manages to match and exceed the work of Kurt Harland's Soul Reaver soundtrack in vast, ancient occult grandeur. It's an apt comparison too: this album would easily slot into a Soul Reaver remake.

Author & Punisher's Kruller is everything you could want from Tristan at this point in his career. It's not just more of the same, but it attacks new realms of electronic music without compromising the core goods. Misery is particularly impressive to me.

Zeal & Ardor, of course, released the best thing Manuel's put his name on to date in their self-titled album. If you haven't heard it, just go listen. I want you to realize this isn't the AOTY, and I want you to know WHAT missed that bus.

And I want to reiterate, all of these could be AOTY in any other year. Many of them would be effortless winners, just walking in the room and immediately demanding all eyes on them. 2022 had something extra special.

Unfortunately for everyone, I'm a nu metal freak and particularly horny for nu-metalcore, so that's what you're getting. I'll apologize, but I won't mean it and you'll be more disappointed about me lying than my actual love of nu metal, so let's not do that.

Let's start with the one I've raved about since release: Gloom in the Corner released Trinity, a fucking masterpiece. I haven't heard music this good since 2006. Tristania's Ashes. There have been releases that have almost met that mark in the years since, but Gloom is special.

Yes, Trinity is my AOTY. It's not up for debate. The weakest songs are wildly inventive and take skill I don't possess. Beyond moshing and emotional resonance, it also tells a story better than the band's past releases, and covers such a wide range it's not even fair. MUST HEAR.

Next up: 156/Silence's Narrative is a leering nightmare of self-loathing, spite and mean-spirited brooding that belongs somewhere around Haunted Horses and Crooked Light for sheer atmospheric depths. But don't despair, it knows how to fucking thump too. Check Say The Phrase.

Moodring's Stargazer is lighter than the nu-core shit I obsess over most, so I was ready to write it off. But on release day it took over my ears for a solid month. Unreal. The album doesn't flow like an album so much as a mixtape, but it kicks anyway. Amazing. Check out Xeno.

Graphic Nature is an underrated unknown in the nu-core arena, and New Skin kept on proving the point. It's no full album, but it punches way above its weight class and every song is an instant moshpit classic. The coming album is a likely AOTY contender in 2023.

Notions' self-titled release was an AOTY contender itself for MONTHS, with songs like WOODGUTS and Velvet Room holding their own against the snarling chaos of World Arcana and TxxthTxker. Unfortunately, this is 2022 and this genius rapcore falls into the top ten. What the fuck.

Northlane's Obsidian tightened up their sound from the incredible Alien to the point that the whole album could have been pop music, taking a lot of elements I recognized from futurepop and other goth-club genres. Nevertheless, it felt inventive throughout.

I don't have the space to explain how much I loved Obsidian, so I'll just point out Clarity, Carbonized, Cypher and Nova all coexist. Oh, and Marcus has a voice that manages to go from grimy snarls to enervated goth-stomp intoning to angelic belting. Please listen.

In other goth-club-meets-nu-core releases, Void of Vision feels like they've finally nailed their sound in the Chronicles series. Chronicles II: Heaven exceeded my high expectations, with Berghain and Into the Dark especially sounding like Aesthetic Perfection doing metalcore.'s This World Is Going To Ruin You was an early favorite for AOTY, easily burying 2021. I didn't know what 2022 had in store, though. A song like Funeral Sound reminds me of The Paper Chase, and then there's The Killing Womb. The album is meant to be looped, too.

It's composed as perfectly as Gloom's Trinity, as a matter of fact, and has songs as wildly varied as Magazine Beach's pop-punky propulsion, Wherever You Are's tense ambience, Wavery's ratcheting energy, etc, etc. I could go on forever. LISTEN.

liveconformdie has come a long way from the pretty damn good Vol I: Cigarette Lullaby. Circa '94 should be rightfully considered a classic, and Vol II: Music for Living Failures improves upon that even further. As repetitive as Terrorwave and Nu Life are, they never get old.

Fetish is practically my theme song, Help Yourself is right at home next to Northlane and Void of Vision, Trash Culture is a pitch-perfect piece of trapcore, and even the interlude, In The Dark, manages to be memorable and delicious. You're missing out if you skip this.

Are we done? ARE WE FUCK. Weeping Wound put out idontbelonghere, a horrifying, alienating blend of dark-core DnB, evil industrial experimentation, and nu-core loathing that smashes your car to bits and overdoses in your kitchen. Unreal stuff for a 5 song EP.

Honestly, idontbelonghere. is so good it takes EPOTY from Graphic Nature, and that's just not fucking fair. How the fuck do you beat Chokehold? Apparently with If there's a full-length in the works, 2023 is going to be a fucking knife fight for the crown.

But wait, there's more! ten56., one of my favorite bands, released three singles from their 2023 EP Downer pt. 2, and do you know how many of them broke my fucking legs? ALL OF THEM! Honestly, Aaron Matts is up there with Jack Murray and Mikey Arthur for my favorite vocalist.

Yenta is a full-song hostile breakdown that leaves you barely able to move your busted toes. Traumadoll is almost nothing but screaming trap-rap, alienating production and chugs like a bombing run. RLS is Soundcloud-rap-core, and I'm underselling it because of space. LISTEN.

Just when you thought we might be near the end, I'm here to tell you there's two more of these fucking things. Witness Orthodox's Learning to Dissolve, a full-length audio torture chamber. It's just aggression from start to finish, with the industrial interlude 11762 for flavor.

Head on a Spike, Cave In, Digging Through Glass, and Dissolve are all must-hear, but singling them out undersells the other songs on the album. It's another album that would have been AOTY any other fucking year, but it picked the stacked-as-a-motherfucker 2022 instead.

Finally, the release I thought would be the also-ran honorable-mention, but ended up being back of even that line: Profiler's self-titled EP. If you're looking for nostalgia, just go here. Glitch Theory is a lost Linkin Park song, Alpha Nine could have come from Deadsy, etc.

And that's it. I can't fucking believe how long this shit is. 2022, what the fuck was wrong with you? It's fucking distressing. If the bar for good music jumped that high that fast, the coming years look grim. Good luck, up-and-comers! You have some stiff fucking competition.
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