Doom Charts – 2022 Favorites – James Sweetlove

Joining us at the very end of 2022. Well, December 29th to be exact, is Cavedweller Music‘s very own James Sweetlove! He hasn’t even been able to send in a list or write a blurb… But that doesn’t stop Mr. Sweetlove! For as a proper Cavedweller, the man has been listening to an incredible amount of heavy music… And you can peruse his list of absolute favorite albums of 2022 below! So, go down into the Cave and dwell among those low and heavy tunes!

“We all know that 2022 was a massive year for music and as such narrowing down the top albums to a top 10 was basically impossible for me. Even picking a top 20 seemed like an exercise in futility, but after weeks of near existential dread I managed to painstakingly narrow a year worth of listening down to 20 albums. These are the releases that really stood out to me, either for artistic innovation, technical proficiency or repeat listenability.”

1. Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture 

Artist: Ashenspire
Album: Hostile Architecture

Label: Aural Music
Release Date: 18/07/2022
Location: Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Ashenspire’s magnum opus is my album of the year. More than that, it secured a place in my top 10 albums of all-time. It transcends the genre of black metal, working in countless avantgarde and progressive elements and an unusual semi-spoken, semi-harsh vocal style. This paired with the album’s sheer ferocity through palpably seething contempt in concept and theme make it one hell of a listen. There’s a flood of raw emotion in this scathing hate letter to late-stage capitalism and those in power

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp

2. Chat Pile – God’s Country (The Flenser)

Artist: Chat Pile

Album: God’s Country

Label: The Flenser

Release Date: 29/07/2022

Location: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States

Chat Pile have presented a close contender for album of the year, but have also created an album that I can see becoming a cult classic. They hit us with a stunning mix of everything from noise rock and sludge to hardcore, and showcase some of the best bass work, vocals and song writing of 2022. They have a rare talent to craft music that is as depressing as it is raw and aggressive, showcasing a huge range of human emotion as they express their anger at the issues facing American society.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp

3. Sunrise Patriot Motion – Black Fellflower Stream (Independent)

Artist: Sunrise Patriot Motion

Album: Black Fellflower Stream

Label: Independent

Release Date: 10/06/2022

Location: Beacon, New York

Its not an easy call to make but this is simply just a perfect album. The seamless combination of black metal, goth rock and dungeon synth makes for a fascinating listen. The trio manage to capture the essence of each influence without compromising the integrity of any. From the stunning guitar tone to the complex song writing, unhinged vocals and amazing texturing employed, there’s a whole lot to love. Add to that the facscinating concept that the album centers around and you have a one of a kind release.


Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp

4. MANTAR – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End (Metal Blade Records)

Artist: Mantar
Album: Pain Is Forever and This Is the End

Label: Metal Blade Records

Release Date: 15/07/2022

Location: Hamburg, Germany

German two-piece Mantar return with a completely unique offering. The band have created a perfect hybrid of sludge, grunge, rock, black metal and punk, extracting some of the best elements of each genre and weaving them together seamlessly. The duo have created one of the grooviest, catchiest albums I’ve heard in some time, but have somehow maintained a respectable level of rawness, aggression and heaviness. This is an album that has earned the title of essential metal listening.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp

5. PRAYERS – Chologoth (Independent)

Artist: Prayers

Album: Chologoth

Release Date: 02/02/2022

Label: Independent

Country: United States

Prayers are a completely unique act, I have yet to find anyone else that sounds quite like them. They describe their blend of post-punk, gothic rock, synthwave and electronica as Cholo Goth, hence the title of their latest offering. They draw influence from classic 80s acts but present it in a completely unique manor. Their use of the Spanish language, fusion of gothic and cholo subcultures and focus on themes of harsh realities of gang and street life and Mexican culture add to their uniqueness.

Listen to and order the album:

Tidal
Spotify
Band Website

6. Hermanos Gutiérrez – El Bueno Y El Malo (Easy Eye Sound)

Artist: Hermanos Gutiérrez

Album: El Bueno Y El Malo

Label: Easy Eye Sound

Rlease Date: 28/10/2022

Location: Zürich, Switzerland

El Bueno Y El Malo can only be described as a stunning album. Other words are applicable such as relaxing, minimalistic, atmospheric, but only stunning truly captures just how moving this release is. Brothers Stephan and Alejandro create some of the most captivating instrumental music of the year using just two guitars. They expertly blend Ecuadorian music of the 50s, 60s and 70s with old Western soundtracks to create highly immersive music that is unlike anything else that I have heard.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp

7. Malignant Aura – Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me (Bitter Loss Records)

Artist: Malignant Aura

Album: Abysmal Misfortune Is Draped Upon Me

Label: Bitter Loss Records

Release Date: 31/05/2022

Country: Australia

If you enjoy death-doom then this album is a must listen. The band have really done something special here and paid tribute to several legendary genre defining bands, but did so in the right way. Their sound straddles two worlds, capturing the sorrow, dread and despair of 90s death-doom, while maintaining the filth and aggression of their OSDM influences. The music carries a heaviness in both essence and in musical force that will put a crushing weight upon the listener as each track unfolds.

Listen to and order the album:

Bandcamp

8. Titus Andronicus – The Will to Live (Merge Records)

Artist: Titus Andronicus

Album: The Will to Live

Label: Merge Records

Release Date: 30/09/2022
Location: Glen Rock, New Jersey

Anyone who says rock is dead hasn’t listened to The Will to Live, because I am happy to report that Titus Andronicus are keeping it alive and well. Particular influence has been taken from Meatloaf’s music, particularly in the first half of the album. As a huge Meatloaf fan (RIP) and a Titus fan, this was the crossover that I had always wanted but never thought to ask for. Calling the album catchy is a gross injustice as almost every song is at risk of being perpetually stuck in my head.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


9. Psionic Madness – Rotting Dominion (Vargheist Records)

Artist: Psionic Madness

Album: Rotting Dominion

Release Date: October 29th 2022

Label: Vargheist Records

Location: USA

The album is a crushing yet highly complex offering of progressive dissonant deathgrind that balances aggression, technicality and atmosphere. This is the strongest offering to date from this unholy triumvirate featuring members of Acausal Intrusion, Vølus, Maggot Crown, Feral Lord, Out of the Mouth of Graves and numerous other projects.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


10. Dawnwalker – House of Sand (Independent)


Artist: Dawnwalker
Album: House of Sand
Label: Independent

Release Date: 19/08/2022
Location: London, UK

And the title for most stunning yet haunting album of 2022 goes to Dawnwalker’s new opus House of Sand. This is in my opinion the band’s most powerful performance to date and should be a must listen for fans of post/prog metal. The album focuses on the darkness that festers beneath the idyllic surface of suburbia. The themes actually make it one of the darker, more hard hitting albums of the year and the band convey this through top notch musicianship and unsettling spoken word.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


11. Bad Manor – The Haunting (Avantgarde Music, Labyrinth Tower &  Ordo Vampyr Orientis)

Artist: Bad Manor

Album: The Haunting

Label: Ordo Vampyr Orientis & Avantgarde Music & Labyrinth Tower (LP 2023)

Release Date: 31/10/2022

Location: United States
Concept Art: Landis Blair Illustration

Mysterious avantgarde raw black metal entity Bad Manor present us with some of the most deranged, yet captivating music of 2022. The Haunting is an in-depth concept album telling the tale of a haunted mansion, a story told through a séance and with accompanying art work. The album features some of the most unhinged vocals you will ever hear, discordant drum work, dizzying riffs and spooky textured synth elements. Prepare yourself for a truly wild ride where you never know what will come next.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


12. Chrome Ghost – House of Falling Ash (Seeing Red Records)

Artist: Chrome Ghost
Album: House of Falling Ash
Label: Seeing Red Records
Release Date: October 28th 2022

Location: Sacramento, California

California’s Chrome Ghost return with another powerful offering of highly varied progressive, gothic sludge/doom/post-metal. The band have been known to mix things up with each release, but I think it’s safe to say that House of Falling Ash is the boldest move that they’ve made to date. They perfectly blend stunning clean vocals and spacey atmospheric instrumentals with raw aggression, mesmerising drum work, crushingly heavy bass and guitar and powerfully commanding guttural vocals.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


13. Pianos Become The Teeth – Drift (Epitaph Records)

Artist: Pianos Become The Teeth

Album: Drift

Label: Epitaph

Release Date: 26/08/2022

Location: Baltimore, Maryland, United States

Pianos become the teeth may have begun their career as one of the underground scene’s most beloved skramz bands, but their sound has never stopped changing and evolving since. After a long and impressive journey, the band have arrived at Drift, their darkest and most introspective album to date. This is essentially the band perfecting their new sound and style to create an album that is equal parts relaxing, moving and engaging. Impressive drum work, stunning guitar tone and moving vocals await.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


14. Armory – Mercurion (Dying Victims Productions)

Artist: Armory

Album: Mercurion

Label: Dying Victims Productions
Release Date: 22/04/2022

Country: Sweden

Armory present one of the most powerful albums to emerge from the NWOTHM or new wave of thrash movements. Mercurion is a lesson in how to take an old school sound and make it feel fresh, exciting and innovative. Powerful, wide ranging vocals meet some of the catchiest riffs, hooks and melodies you’ll hear all year. When paired with the album’s impressive song writing and immersive sci-fi themes, you have a release that is simultaneously complex and technical, as well as catchy and accessible.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


15. Orville Peck – Bronco (Colombia & Sub Pop Records)

Artist: Orville Peck

Album: Bronco

Label: Columbia, Sub Pop

Release Date: 02/11, 03/11, 04/08/2022

Country: Canada

Canada’s alt country king returns with a darker, more mature offering, the aptly titled Bronco (following his lighter more playful debut Pony). As always I would describe his sound as Johnny Cash meets Elvis, meets Morrisey with some David Bowie flare. While Peck’s playful brand of humour is still present on the album, this is definitely a deeper, more personal release. Lyrically the album touches on many notes that should connect to most listeners and musically its a truly outstanding offering.

Listen to and order the album:

Tidal

Apple Music

Spotify

Order the album HERE


16. TURIAN – No Longer Human (Wise Blood Records)

Artist: Turian

Album: No Longer Human

Label: Wise Blood Records

Release Date: 05/08/2022

Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

Seattle’s Turian is a force to be reckoned with, a force made up of some of the best elements of a number of genres ranging from grindcore and noise rock to hardcore and sludge. The album perfectly balances moments of atmospheric tension with outbursts of raw, unbridled aggression. The band’s technical proficiency, paired with their raw, rapid fire vocal delivery and their impressive song writing/genre melding ability makes for a very bright future ahead of them.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


17. Hell Fire – Reckoning (RidingEasy Records)

Artist: Hell Fire

Album: Reckoning

Label: RidingEasy Records

Released: 12/08/2022

Location: San Francisco, California

Hell Fire hit us with a fantastic offering of new wave traditional heavy metal and thrash. The entire album has an unbeatable energy and pace to it that really gets the blood pumping. Pair that with Jake Nunn’s incredible vocal performance and you get a winning combination. Honestly Ronnie James Dio and Tim Aymar would be proud of his performance on this one. The final piece of the puzzle are the riffs, of which there are many and all of them are simply fantastic. All in all, the band present the full package with this one.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


18. Tribal Gaze – The Nine Choirs (Maggot Stomp)

Artist: Tribal Gaze

Album: the Nine Choirs

Label: Maggot Stomp

Release Date: 16/09/2022

Location: Longview, Texas, United States

I was drawn to this album due to its art work, then I saw that it was a Maggot Stomp release so I knew that it was going to be top quality death metal. However, nothing could have prepared me for how savage this album was. From start to finish its just absolutely punishing in the best way possible. Imagine if your favourite 90s death metal bands had grown up on hardcore and based their energy on that but maintained the aggression and filth of death metal. Well, you don’t have to imagine anymore.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


19. Koldkrypt – Holocauste Global (Hessian Firm)

Artist: Koldkrypt

Album: Holocauste Global

Release Date: 10/06/2022

Label: Hessian Firm

Location: Pays de la Loire, France

The album is a prime example of what sets French black metal apart from its global contemporaries. Raw, biting vocals spit venom in their native French tongue, paired with stunning guitar tone, barbed riffs, depressive atmosphere, catchy melodies and avant-garde experimental flair. This is a release driven by total disdain for all humanity, addressing our failures as a speciesand I can’t get enough of it.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp


20. Vieux Farka Touré and Khruangbin – Ali (Dead Oceans)

Artist: Vieux Farka Touré & Khruangbin
Album: Ali

Label: Dead Oceans
Release Date: September 23, 2022
Location: Bamako, Mali and Houston Texas

Vieux Farka Touré shows that just as his father was before him, he is a master of his craft. This mastery is only amplified by his partnership with the incredibly talented Khruangbin. Despite their differences their sounds gel seamlessly. There’s a beauty here that most listeners should be able to appreciate regardless of their musical taste. Music this good transcends not just genre boundaries, but also language, cultural and geographic boundaries to speak to the listener’s inherent humanity.

Listen to and order the album: Bandcamp

One thought on “Doom Charts – 2022 Favorites – James Sweetlove

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