Listmania: Metal Noise Top #5 EPs of 2022!
It’s that time of year again! Our Listmania Awards Season between Christmas and New Year is an annual look back at the great and good as well as a look forward to what 2023 might bring, specifically designed for a modern age where people read this s*** on their phones and don’t want to be scrolling through the top #50 or the top #100. We have limited time, resources and battery life as well as attention span so lets keep it short and sweet! So without any further much ado about nothing, lets get into the first category for this year, our top #5 EPs of 2022! As ever, competition in the EP category has been fierce this year due to the nature of streaming services and so choosing just 5 is like choosing a favourite child. Damn near impossible. So there are going to be some honourable mentions, just for s***s and giggles. The rules are simple; this is 5 EPs which we’ve reviewed in 2022 and have stood the test of time…
Rewinding the clock back to January and we have “ΣΚΕΛΕΤΙΚΟ ΣΚΟΤΑΔΙ” by Penny Coffin. Otherwise known as “Skeletal Darkness”, the sophomore EP from the Scottish Greek Death Metal quartet continues the bands journey down the left hand path with the snarling, venom and vitriol spitting vocals accompanied by blood and thunder percussive battery from drummer Panagiotis Rodopoulos (Bionic Origin, Dominicide). It manages to capturer the atmospherics of Black Metal and inspirations of horror like lightening in a bottle within the confines of the bands sound and for that we highly recommend it!
After performing at Rabidfest in November 2021, March 2022 saw Oxford’s The Hope Burden paint in Post-Metal with elements of Ambient, Black and Sludge Metal in their hearts. They gave us the near 20 minute pairing of “Abandonment // I Want To Be Well”, a spellbinding offering of dark majesty that is so dark it we had to shine a spotlight to find it. An accomplished piece of writing it has some melancholic piano parts that send a shiver down your spine as well as the more traditional guitar work and the transitions between passages have been nailed to perfection.
From the month of March to the month of May and the long awaited, highly anticipated debut EP “Upside Down” from by STELL/\RIS. The Prague Czech Republic based Progressive Metalcore outfit had previously stunned us with singles alone but in 2022 finally gave us what we’d been begging for. Showcasing the incredible vocal range of Nicol and combining it with guitar work and influences from other genres including Nu-Metal and DJent the record opened the door for appearances at not only Fajtfest festival but Brutal Assault as well. It’s without a doubt the fix that was worth the wait.
Three down, two to go and things start getting tougher but “As The Sky Begins To Break” by Ruina stands out like a hammer smashed sore thumb at a Wedding. Line up changes around mastermind Harvey Lake handling guitars and clean vocals with the introduction of a second vocalist in Chris Owens to handle the uncleans and the results are incredible. Partly down to the improvement in the clean vocals, the band brought an “The End Of Heartache” era Killswitch Engage styling to the table and absolutely smashed it with a trio of cuts that scream Metalcore at its finest.
Last but by no means least comes “Cunning Punts” by xygrbryrx which finds one man, a guitar and a drum machine holding the world to rights with a one two punch of Extreme Metal meets Grindcore. It shouldn’t be legal and it probably isn’t in parts of Malaysia, it’s the kind of record which has the instant appeal of a page turning thriller with all the riffs you could possibly want alongside a snarling vocal that has plenty of bark and bite as well as a refreshing honesty. How Michael Jon White could find the inspiration to churn out an album and an EP in 12 months and have the later being this good is just mind blowing.
Honourable mentions? There are plenty of those but “Forever Nothing” by Weaponry, “It Lives” by Blight Town, “Apechtheia” by Chestcrush, “Having Fun At Gunpoint” by Good Cop and “Circle” by Where’s My Bible where all a cigarette paper a way from appearing on this list.
Tomorrow will be time for the next chapter… what will it be?