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50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1 | EP/Live/Compilation

10. Gospel – MVDM: Magick Volumes Of Dark Madder

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

If The Loser proved Gospel wanted to go proggier, MVDM proves they really are a prog band that just couldn’t do without infusing some mid-’90s screamo into their Yes worship. Having gone through the perilous (but succeeded) step of coming back, nothing holds the band back from showing what nerds they are — look at that goofy-ass title — a good reminder that prog was never cool. So crafting a sprawling tune whose shtick is to build tension through retrofuturistic synth and keyboards was ultimately Gospel’s ipseity — it just took them 15 years to figure out how to properly forge that version of themselves. Maybe that’s why they never showed signs of existence during that period: Gospel could only be MVDM. –Erwann S. / dedex

9. Foreign Hands – Bleed the Dream

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

They say not to judge a book by its cover, but from the instant I saw the album cover for Bleed the Dream, I knew exactly what I was in for. The depiction of blood on a music box is a perfect metaphor for this EP. Aggressive music expresses an abrasively gorgeous duality; there is beauty in the breakdown. Bleed the Dream is a brutally raw and urgent collection of songs recalling early-2000s metalcore that is deservedly enjoying a bit of a renaissance. There is a razor-focus, no frills, get in-smash it up-get out approach that resonates with the nostalgia and passion that makes this genre so fervently beloved by its fanbase. At the forefront of this resurgence is Foreign Hands — truly a band to keep an eye on. –Adam T. / Zoinks

8. Anna von Hausswolff – Live at Montreux Jazz Festival

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

Anna von Hausswolff’s performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival is a dark, energetic, genre-jumping spectacular. Her compositions have always been moody, haunting affairs, but when performed live, take on a new atmosphere that give those studio recordings a run for their money. As guitars drone and drums lurch, you can feel von Hausswolff’s engagement as a performer, howling and moaning her way through one of the most dynamic vocal performances of her career. The room recording provides ample evidence of the chemistry happening in the audience, too. This live album is full of range, heart, and tenacity, making it a release that will charm new and existing fans alike — provided they don’t allow it to continue flying under their radar. –normaloctagon

7. Johnny Booth – Storyteller

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Sometimes all you need is a short, sweet listen… but instead of sweet, it’s more angry and aggressive. In under 14 minutes, Johnny Booth deliver just that. On Storyteller, the band go full throttle and never let up, moving from one ferocious moment to the next with their abrasive riffs and pummeling breakdowns. With their opening one-two punch, Johnny Booth turn the intensity up with little room to breathe as “Storyteller” and “Deepfake” experiment with chunky guitar riffs and rapid fire grooves. “Crowd Control” displays their technical guitar licks and more melodic stylings with impressive progression and dynamics in their songwriting. To finish up the wild EP, the group channels their inner Queens of the Stone Age as they cover “… Millionaire” with their unique take that maintains their heaviness while implementing the effects of the rockier original. Despite its short duration, Storyteller delivers with heaviness and technicality, making it one of the most solid EPs of the year. –Tyler W. / tyman128

6. Asian Glow and Weatherday – Weatherglow

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

So, RateYourMusic decided Korean gazers replaced emorappers as the true emo 5th wave. What does that tell us? Before being a sadboi genre, emo is inherently a guitar genre. And the duo of Swedish Weatherday and Korean Asian Glow know how to process their guitars. With a Wall-of-Sound production that lets lil electronic melodies arise amidst the mathed-up guitar riffs, Weatherglow sounds like the synthesis of the nu emo gaze scene: it’s gazey, noisy, ~lofi~, and ultimately heartfelt. It also brings the ethos at the center of its proposition. Two bedroom artists from two widely different parts of the world team up because they like to play the same-ish kind of music; how’s that for advertising the Internet and its futuristic relationship-fueling?

Another question regarding this scene is: is it a revival? Well, it’s hard to revive something that was never dead in the first place. Emo’s still kicking as it has always been since Embrace and Rites of Spring have been tearing the DC punk scene during the “Revolution Summer”. –Erwann S. / dedex

5. The Sound of Animals Fighting – Apeshit

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

The Sound of Animals Fighting are at their best when they are getting WEIRD. And, go figure, the experimental stuff on here is excellent. –V3XED

The electronic tracks are the weakest things on here; the other two tracks fuck hard. “Wolf” would’ve been really cool if it would’ve just been the first half of the song. There’s some pretty nuts shredding on “Sharon Tate, Despite Everything”. –ShadowOfTheCitadel

A very nice hit of nostalgia. A great EP that hits all the right spots for what I would want out of new The Sound of Animals Fighting. –TSI3

4. Anberlin – Silverline

[Official site] // [Spotify]

On November 26th, 2014, at the House of Blues in Orlando, Florida, Anberlin played their final show together, signaling the end of a 12-year journey of one of rock’s most beloved and unique acts out there. Lowborn was meant to be the band’s final goodbye — the group’s “fin.”, if you will.

However, despite the farewells, tears, and sad faces, I had a very good gut feeling that it would not be the last we would be seeing of Anberlin. Sure enough, in 2018, they reunited for one show during Underoath’s tour, then went on an Australian tour shortly afterwards, then a U.S. non-stop tour, and then fully reunited to record new music in 2020 (and then Sowing creamed his pants).

Come 2022, Anberlin released a brand-new EP, Silverline, eight years after they originally broke up. In typical Anberlin fashion, it’s as unique as the rest of their records. Rather than attempting to prey on fans’ nostalgia, Stephen Christian and co. did what they do best and decided, “Fuck it, let’s just write stuff and see where it takes us.”  Much like Lowborn, Silverline isn’t some explosive comeback meant to blow us out of the water. In fact, opener “Two Graves” is more or less the most intense track on the record, while things more or less calm down in the four songs that follow it. That being said, I don’t think it was meant to be explosive; to me, it says, “Hey, we’re Anberlin, we’re back, and we want to make music for you all again.” If anything, that’s the most proper statement that Anberlin could make for a comeback, and it fits them so well — much like this EP. Given that Christian himself has said that Silverline won’t be the last Anberlin release, it seems like there’s more longevity to this group than everyone — including themselves — thought there would be. Just like the lyric in “Two Graves” says: don’t you ever count Anberlin out. –Toondude

3. Crosses – permanent.radiant

[Official site] // [Spotify]

Eight years after their debut (and only) album, ††† have finally returned with permanent.radiant. †… I mean, Crosses… delve deeper into the electronic rock style of their debut and further stretch the ambient atmosphere. permanent.radiant keeps it simple, providing catchy grooves and synthwork to allow for Chino’s voice to glide along the electronics with infectious melodies. “Vivien” and “Cadavre Exquis” dabble in the darker side of their sound with pulsating rhythms and more prominent guitarwork while “Sensation” and “Procession” mellow out the sound, focusing more on the general atmosphere and the groove behind the style. One thing permanent.radiant excels at is being able to incorporate the sound of Crosses’ debut while also experimenting with new ideas. “Holier” focuses heavily on the beat itself, emphasizing the trap-like drumwork that helps shape the song throughout its duration. Meanwhile, “Day One” stands out among the rest of the EP, feeling almost like a pop highlight rather than something you would expect from Crosses… and, well, it’s dang catchy. But that’s just what radiant.permanent is: catchy. Each listen slowly reveals more subtleties and nuances that add to the value of each replay, making it one of the most accessible and entertaining EPs of 2022. –Tyler W. / tyman128

2. Circa Survive – A Dream About Death

[Official site] // [Spotify]

While not technically “broken up,” it seems Circa Survive have called it quits. If this is really it, the appropriately titled A Dream About Death is a swan song worthy of the band’s legacy. The record flows with relaxed grace, sounding as equally warm and spacious as it does melancholic and introspective. The seemingly sparse arrangements belie a depth and maturity in their composition and performance. They don’t have to show off or flex their instrumental mastery or ability to hit notes that no normal human should be able to. What makes this EP special is that Circa Survive finally seem to have found peace enough within themselves to create a work of art that is as beautiful as it is restrained and as majestic as it is simple. I guess all things must come to an end; at least A Dream About Death is a proper goodbye. –Manatea

1. Worm – Bluenothing

[Bandcamp] // [Spotify]

After their massive previous record, I believe most of us welcomed this EP with high expectations. However, for those who expected a similar swampy death/doom record, Bluenothing might have been a bit disappointing. But for others, including me, this mini-album turned out to be just as fantastic — or, I daresay, their best effort so far. Basically, we witnessed another step in the band’s evolution as they took the successful death/doom formula and soaked it into mystical psychedelia and symphonic black metal, resulting in a very colorful record (like, literally: the album cover is one of 2022’s best arts, in my humble opinion). Most of the time the record runs on a rather slow pace, accompanied by tons of kaleidoscopic solos and spacey synthesizer melodies, but the faster death metal assaults and the gorgeously epic black metal last track “Shadowside Kingdom” brought fast tempos and even some blast beats in to the overall soundscape. It was definitely one of the highlights of the year, and I honestly believe many of us are hungering for more. –garas

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JoyfulPlatypus
01.16.23
Ah, damn! Was holding out hope that Alpha Wolf/Holding Absence's EP would crack the list, but oh well. Great picks all around!

DavidYowi
01.16.23
WOOOOOORRRRRRMMMMM

tyman128
01.17.23
Get hype for the top 10

theBoneyKing
01.17.23
Nice, I'm glad the Anna Von Hausswolff made it!

JohnnyoftheWell
01.17.23
Weatherglow supremacy lfg

Sunnyvale
01.17.23
1 is 1! Good job folks.

bigguytoo9
01.17.23
I dont think that Worm release is worthy of the top spot personally. It's good but not my fave.

pizzamachine
01.17.23
1 is 1 [2]

Feather
01.17.23
Circa, Anberlin and TSOAF all in the top 5, I am satisfied!

Some other notable releases:
Baysides ep was surprisingly the best thing I have heard from them in years
Bright eyes companion eps were really good, especially the early re-recorded songs that made them tolerable and digital urn songs being released in the style of wide awake

Lepetitchat
01.17.23
Birds in Row :( ?
Imperial Triumphant :( ?

Manatea
01.17.23
Love this list and love that Johnny Booth take Ty!

dedex
01.17.23
yeehaw

jmh886
01.17.23
orphantwin should be on here.

jmh886
01.17.23
much better than the johnny booth

fogza
01.17.23
i am glad broken social scene made it. oh wait :-(

JohnnyoftheWell
01.17.23
Well that's a load of BSS

fogza
01.17.23
acronym jokes are the highest form of wit

tyman128
01.17.23
“ love that Johnny Booth take Ty!”
Thanks dear

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