Sabrutin - the dynamic range police

Reviews 37
Approval 97%

Soundoffs 39
News Articles 58
Band Edits + Tags 445
Album Edits 1,664

Album Ratings 926
Objectivity 86%

Last Active 12-22-22 5:40 pm
Joined 04-05-14

Review Comments 8,957

01.01.23 Sab's cozy 2022 list 12.27.21 Sab's smol 2021 list
12.31.20 Sab's tiny 2020 list10.22.20 Italy under curfew
01.06.20 Sab's mini 2019 list12.26.18 Sab's slim 2018 list
12.31.17 Sab's fast 2017 list 08.31.17 Mountain and sea // digs of old and new
01.04.17 Sab's cute 2016 list01.01.16 Sab's lazy 2015 list
07.04.15 Toto last night

Sab's cozy 2022 list

A bit of a troubled list since my free time was reduced a lot in the second half of the year, thus making it hard to keep up with my to-check list. This could be the last time I make such a long yearly list. Anyway, these are the albums I bonded with at least a little bit throughout the year, or ones that I just wanted to mention for a reason or the other. For every entry, other than the quicker shoutouts, I'll leave three(-ish) favorite songs and I'll link the one that I feel could be either an ideal pick to have a bite or an obvious highlight. Enjoy and happy festivities! (∩ ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)⊃━☆゚. ・ 。゚

// 🇮🇳 // nu-metal influenced by Bengali folk music
// Just a shoutout.

92Within Temptation
Don't Pray For Me

// 🇳🇱 // pop metal (symphonyc-y, trance-y)
// Just a shoutout.

// Can't say I've heard a full WT album published after The Unforgiven, but look at that art! Could they have found a tiny bit of edge again? In this 4-track EP, the obvious highlight is the title track: strong chorus, crunchy heavy guitar buzz and the occasional choral-y vocals. Rest is fine background noise, Sharon den Adel keeps it afloat.

// Fav: "Don't Pray for Me".

// 🇬🇷 // thrash/speed metal
// Just a shoutout.

// Only a shoutout because I haven't properly jammed it and I don't even know the band, but apparently this Greek act started in 1984 and released some quite heavy stuff with hints of extreme metal (check 1988's Summon the Dead). And really I don't doubt it, because this return album is just mean. They pummel so effortlessly you'd think they were a new band.

90Hiatus Kaiyote
Mood Variant

// 🇦🇺 // neo-soul
// Just a shoutout.

// 2021's Mood Valiant saw the band adopt a more rigid style and electronic-ish production, and for that I had called it "HK beats to study to". Well, turns out they made an actual remix project out of it! Don't write it off right away.

89Post Nebbia
Entropia Padrepio

// 🇮🇹 // neo-psychedelia, indie pop
// Just a shoutout.

// I didn't ~love~ this, it's quite poppy really, but it deserves a shoutout for simply existing.

88October Burns Black
Two Worlds Collide

// 🇺🇸? // gothic rock
// Just a shoutout.

// Do you crave some goth 101? This band isn't a bad choice. Contains members that passed through Theatre of Tragedy and Fields of the Nephilim.

Nostalgia Like Cancer

// 🇺🇸 // doom-pace gothic rock
// Just a shoutout.

// Now take the goth 101 and slow it down to doomy pace, add some ~spoopy~ piano and lead guitar and there you have it. Basically if you love Bauhaus' "Nerves" (which is 10/10 song btw) you may get something out of this. I'd be lying if I told you I listened to the whole thing though.

Feorm Falorx

// 🇬🇧 // IDM
// Just a shoutout.

// I heard you needed a futuristic comfy blanket. Well, I got you covered my man.

85Neptunian Maximalism
Set Chaos To The Heart Of The Moon

// 🇧🇪 // tribal ambient, avant-garde jazz, doom metal influence
// Just a shoutout.

// This is going to look silly placed so low to people who digested the whole thing. Anyway if the genre tags pique your curiosity most definitely give it a shot, this band is kept in high regards for good reason. Also they published a second one this year, but I heard it may have a very similar setlist to this.

// First favs: "Zâr : Empowering the Phurba : Éon Phanérozoïque", the two parts of "The Conference of the Stars".
// (first track acts as an intro despite its length)
84Abhor (ITA)
Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi)

// 🇮🇹 // symphonic black metal
// Just a shoutout.

// It's drenched in horror synths, with that nice lo-fi feel in which you even hear the bass guitar, and with adequately gremlin vox. As cheesy as it is fun. 6.66€ on bandcamp.

83Rina Sawayama
Hold The Girl

// 🇯🇵 // pop
// Just a shoutout.

// I never managed to reach the end of this but can we at least agree that the t/t is a gem?

82Carly Rae Jepsen
The Loneliest Time

// 🇨🇦 // dance-pop
// Just a shoutout.

// It's no Emotion and I remember very little concrete things about this but it scratched the pop itch well enough plus the BOYS AROUND THE WORLD hook in "Beach House" is gold (even though the rest of that song isn't the best). I do remember that it has plenty of better stuff than that song too, by the way. Like "Talking to Yourself" and "Bends".

Il giorno in cui ho smesso di pensare

// 🇮🇹 // pop
// Just a shoutout.

// Speaking of pop itch, I've got to hand it to the song "5 gocce" for living rent-free in my head all year. Unfortunately I don't like the rest of this album (really dislike it in some places, actually), but this song played on the radio quite often and it's so addicting.

80Alice Merton

// 🇩🇪 // indie pop, pop rock
// Just a shoutout.

// Sssspeaking of pop give this a shot, you may find a keeper or two.

// Favs: "Future", "Mania", "Vertigo".
Drums in the Deepwood

// 🇺🇸 // dungeon synth
// Just a shoutout.

// Every year I scout RYM dungeon synth charts at some point. This one's good. Nicely rhythmic and cheese-ominous.

Restoration Magic

// 🇳🇱 // dungeon synth
// Just a shoutout.

// Every year I scout RYM dungeon synth charts at some point. This one's good. Nicely pensive.

77David Paich
Forgotten Toys

// 🇺🇸 // pop rock, pop

// At long last Paich released some solo music! Toto bandmates Steve Lukather and Joseph Williams lend a feature too. Speaking of which, "Spirit of the Moonrise" could easily be readapted into a new Toto record ("readapted" because that rigid drumbeat wouldn't fly for Toto) thanks to Paich's proggy-sounding keyboard break and Lukather's immaculate guitarwork. "Lucy" is the second obvious highlight, a quite good instrumental jazz track. However... I must admit that the other songs don't really capture me all that much as it's pretty rigid stuff and the ballads are a bit on the... err, grocery store side.This third solo album by ex(?)-Toto members (Luke's, William's, Paich's) really makes me wish they could've just condensed everything into one tight Toto album... if it wasn't for the Porcaro lawsuit, unfortunately.

// Favs: "Spirit of the Moonrise", "Lucy".
76The Birthday Massacre

// 🇨🇦 // synthpop, industrial rock

// People keep saying TBM does the same album over and over again, but this is proof that the ingredients' doses definitely change. I can respect their choice to make their most full-blown booming popfest but I won't lie, this might be my least favorite TBM to date for the same reason. It just plods on. I mean I can enjoy it, it is TBM after all, but imo Diamonds' "Last Goodbye" single-handedly beats this.

// Favs: "Precious Hearts", "Like Fear, Like Love", "Stars and Satellites".

// 🇺🇦 // psytrance

// [entry for new single Kalyna] It's no ШУМ but still another good one, if predictable. Proceedings from this song go to Ukraine; "Kalyna (guelder-rose) is a symbol that has been a part of Ukrainian culture since ancient times. Its meanings were transferred through the ages in legends and songs. A broken kalyna tree was a sign of trouble and tragedy; abuse of this tree was a shameful act. Ukrainian people carefully protected it because there was a belief that kalyna grew only next to good people. According to our ancestors, kalyna has a power that brings immortality and can unite generations to fight evil. The song “Kalyna” is a message to the World that should be united for the future of humanity."
Anyway, hope to see a longer release sooner or later.

74Jethro Tull
The Zealot Gene

// 🇬🇧 // poppy prog/folk rock

// This starts exactly how I feared: with a poppy rock song driven by a steady beat. However! There's enough proggy flavour to keep it afloat, between flute solos and keyboard/string accompaniment. The rocking (but not highlighted by the mix) guitarwork helps too to recreate a bit of a classic Tull feel. Then you get two interesting songs: the acoustic "Jacob's Tales" has a lovely guitar theme popping up throughout and some bonus harmonica, while "Mine is the Mountain" is a downcast prog rock song that actually favors the progginess... there's even a little section inside it that reminded me of Songs from the Wood! Unfortunately going on all in all the linear steady rhythmic feel does creep up a bit too much (I didn't say "dad rock"... you did!), but this isn't a terrible way to end(?) the JT discography at all.

// Favs: "Mine Is the Mountain", "The Fisherman of Ephesus", "Where Did Saturday Go?". "Jacob's Tales".
Na Severe Srdca

// 🇸🇰 // pagan black metal

// Nicely atmospheric and with enthusiastic melodies including traditional-like synths. Like the duo's Bandcamp page says the music is meant to avoid the nihilism of current bm. Wouldn't lose sleep for this, but it's cute.

// Favs: "Mytogenéza bronzovej doby", "Poklad Tatier", "Smaragdová koruna diabla".
72Sun's Signature
Sun's Signature

// 🇬🇧 // art pop, psychy

// Veeery pretty stuff and faultless Elizabeth Fraser vocals, but perhaps it's also a bit too happy to just do the minimum to be considered good stuff. There's a certain 70s pastoral prog feel too, maybe it's not a surprise that Steve Hackett is featured throughout.

// Fav: "Golden Air".

// 🇫🇮 // power metal

// ooh they sound a bit hungry here. Not incredibly memorable, but it lets you enjoy it. Sonata Arctica should listen to "Glory Days" and take a clue. Also power metal with cheesy eco lyrics like "World on Fire" definitely has a niche.

// Favs: "Glory Days", "Broken", "Firefly".
Gravitational objects of light...

// 🇮🇹 // prog rock

// Guitar-less prog rock. Hammond organ, synths, piano, mellotron... and then just bass and drums. When it's going for the hard rock attack I'm not crazy about it, mainly because of the not-incredible vocals, but the more atmospheric parts help a lot like the opening song from the 3 minutes mark. Thankfully they're abundantly present, like the classic psychy feel of "Five Obsidian Suns".

// Favs: "Five Obsidian Suns", "Marble Eyes", "Devil's Gold".
69Tokyo Shoegazer
Moonworld Playground

// 🇯🇵 // shoegaze (who woulda thunk)

// Serviceable, with some obvious stronger cuts. Seems some of this is a remake of music from the previous album which seems better received than this, but I haven't heard that one so there's that. All in all I'd advise you to check their old song "Bright" before this album.

// Favs: "Constellations", "Moondive", "Destroy". The post-rocky "Lucid" is neat too.
68Without Waves

// 🇺🇸 // mathcore, alt metal, proggywhatev

// I can totally respect how inaccessible this wants to be as a lot of it is a wall of drums with harsh vocals on top, and it's full of twitchy guitars. Even the clean vocals tend to have mechanical-feeling instrumentals underneath, although it's not devoid of soft parts. That said, I'm not sure how much the complete package is pleasant to jam for more than a few songs at a time.

// Favs: "Set & Setting", "Animal Kingdom", "Do What Scares You".

// 🇺🇸 // indie folk, singer-songwriter

// The interludes and nature recordings like rain and crickets help create the album's mood. "Duet for Guitar and Rain" really just gives you what it implies to give, doesn't it? All in all this isn't my territory, but I enjoyed it.

// Favs: "Spring in Hours", "43", "River's Bed".
66Blind Guardian
The God Machine

// 🇩🇪 // beefy power metal

// My inner weeb wanted to like this more for the art (which has a killer unique palette in any case) but all in all it's just a cool record from an old band that managed to re-ignite some thrashy fire in them. Hansi Kürsch has to be one of the best metal frontmen ever and there's some nifty melodic guitarwork scattered throughout. Absolutely worth a spin for fans, others may want to check the classics first.

// Favs: ironically I'm most addicted to "Life Beyond the Spheres"' vocal work in the chorus despite it being the softest song other than the ballad.
65Marxist Love Disco Ensemble

// 🇮🇹 // disco

// Not particularly memorable by themselves but GREAT production and slick songs from front to back. Very comfy, but somewhat cold in a good way.

Bela Lugosi's Dead

// 🇬🇧 // dub, goth

// [entry for the 2022 single "Drink the New Wine"] A single constructed during lockdown by sharing audio files. It comfortably picks up from their typical dub experiments and I'm surprised by it after how the last LP went. A pretty decent addition to the Bauhaus canon.


// 🇦🇹 // nu jazz

// [this entry is for the 2022 single "Nature by Numbers"] voljum is for sure an artist to keep an eye on. This new single scratches both a jazz and later a dubstep-y itch. Check the EP Dayscapes if you want more.

62Ottone Pesante
...And the Black Bells Rang

// 🇮🇹 // avant-garde metal (they call themselves "brassmetal")

// Apparently a trumpet, a trombone and a drumkit is enough to form an extreme metal band. Sweet decadent feel all around, that goes well with the distorted screams of the first song. Also notable the post-something feeling of "Die ewige Wiederkunft des Gleichen". This short EP is little more than an appetizer, though! I invite to check the last LP DoomooD if you want more.

61Dead Head
Slave Driver

// 🇳🇱 // thrash/death metal

// No idea what they're singing about but they sound convinced. Just some tight, crispy pummeling from an old band that won't win many awards but will probs make you nod.

60Simon Phillips
Protocol V

// 🇬🇧 // jazz fusion

// Being a Toto cultist, Simon Phillips is one of my heroes. This album isn't terribly special, but if you are looking for slick fusion bgm (with both sax and electric guitar) here's an option. I'm not sure it breaks away from being "musical wallpaper" though.

// "The Long Road Home" is def the best here:
Modern Primitive

// 🇬🇷 // symphonic death metal

// The singles had me worried and... yeah, I'd say it fights with A Fallen Temple for the spot at the bottom of their discography for me. The band is still hellbent on acting as if the tasteful guitarwork of their 90s days never existed, and so we get yet another spin on Communion. However it'd be silly to say I disliked this new album because at the end of the day the symphonic motifs are catchy, the vocals (growls AND cleans included, you Sotiris haters) are great, the drumming is thankfully less overwhelming than recent albums and the acoustic / atmospheric touches are always welcomed. So it's not a bad album at all (I could live without "A Desert Throne" though), I'm just grumpy and I believe I'm justified lol.

// Favs: "Coming Storm", "Modern Primitives", "A Dreadful Muse".
58Kelly Lee Owens

// 🇬🇧 // ambient, post-industrial, techno something

// Nocturnal sonic corridors with mechanical sounds and surprisingly varied vocals, them being repeated samples, singing, vocalizations or spoken word. Quite a bit more ethereal as a whole than what the first tracks make it appear to be. Not terribly memorable all in all, to be honest.

// Favs: "Release", "S.O (2)", "Sonic 8".
57The Tangent
Songs From the Hard Shoulder

// 🇬🇧 // prog rock + jazz fusion

// This is smoooth! Very long songs of freeflowing jazzy melancholy with great production too. Or that's what I would say, if I didn't feel this peaked with the first song and then progressively got colder. Still worth checking!

// Favs: "The Changes", the instrumental "The GPS Vultures", "In the Dead of Night... " (bonus track for some reason).

// 🇮🇹 // alt rock, post-punk, kind of "singer-songwriter" in spirit

// Classic band - check 1984's Siberia for some cold-sounding post-punk with Italian lyrics - still alive and moderately kicking. Definitely not particularly dark anymore (lyrics ain't no sunny day tho), even though Fiumani still sounds a bit like an Italian Ian Curtis, but still worth a spin. Enjoyable performances all around. Neat 33 minutes, though there's a bit of an "easy" feel in places.

// Favs: "Coperte tumorali", "Ora", "Nella testa di un attore porno".
55Envy of None
Envy of None

// 🇨🇦 🇺🇸 // art pop/rock

// This is not what I expected from a band with Alex Lifeson. There's even a subway-esque vibe here and there like in "Enemy". It's not bad at all, pretty enjoyable actually and it definitely picks up after a bit of a slow start, but it's still quite linear which prevents it from reaching higher. Maiah Wynne's vocals do some heavy lifting for sure. Shoutout to Lifeson's electric guitar solo in "Spy House" too, his only one here. They can definitely drop a banger record if they try.

// Favs: "Spy House", "Liar", "Look Inside".

// 🇯🇵 // electropop

// The one-two punch of the synthwave-y intro plus "Time Warp - v1.1." tells you everything. A pop collection to rely on.

// Favs: "Spinning World" (funky!), "アンドロイド&", "Time Warp - v1.1". Closer "さよならプラスティックワールド" deserves a mention too.
53Kaizo Slumber
The Kaizo Manifesto

// 🇱🇧 // hardcore breaks

// Pretty seamless 32-min streak of bangers of what seems to be a concept album in support of mother nature. It comes, it slaps, and it goes away. I love it when the internet gives me a random album by an artist from Lebanon that rules.

// the official album visualizer looks sweet too:
52Ludovico Einaudi

// 🇮🇹 // modern classical (solo piano)

// Just like the last time I tried, Einaudi's music is tender and can sound rich despite the minimalistic style but the degrees of success vary between tracks. Sometimes it's really precious, while other times it's a bit white noisy. Underwater is solid, but it can't fully escape the curse. Still, don't underestimate it! Nicely lyrical and with some great usage of silence.

// Favs: "Rolling Like a Ball", "Underwater", "Temple White".
Fault Lines

// 🇨🇦 // miserable post-punk

// If you like cold and unwelcoming music check this out. "Body and Soul" has an almost post-industrial-ish mechanical feel, whereas "Credence" starts normal enough but later switches to a much tenser rhythm with spoopy piano as seasoning. Then comes the minimal synth of "Amulet" that may remind you of early Tuxedomoon, and so on. Not a masterpiece ("Syndicate II" for instance feels kind of amateurish, vocals especially, though it has a neat doomy middle), but worth a shot.

// Favs: "Body and Soul", "Credence (Ash in the Winds of Reason)", "Amulet".
50Billy Talent
Crisis Of Faith

// 🇨🇦 // alt rock

// Another BT album you're going to sleep on, however this time the backlash is at least partially understandable: other than the obvious proggy elephant in the room "Forgiveness" (easily some of their best stuff period), this is surely their friendliest record to date. That said it's still well executed so I'm not bothered by that at all. "End of Me" for example has this simple but steady drum shuffle going on that ties together the infectious vocals and comfy guitar/bass work. "The Wolf", despite being an undeniably cheesy ballad, is saved by neat Steve Copeland-ish drumming again. And you could go on for (almost) every song here, like the storytelling style of "Hanging Out with All the Wrong People" with appropriate instrumental punctuation. I was disappointed at first, but after a couple listens this is honestly (mostly) pretty good.

// Favs: "Forgiveness I + II", "End of Me", "Hanging Out with All the Wrong People".

// 🇺🇸 // nu-metal

// Despite the horrid mastering job I decided to brave the storm because the album's got a handful of their strongest reunion songs; it's barely above 30 mins long and most songs are satisfyingly constructed especially in the center duo of "Disconnected" and "Hopeless and Beaten". Luzier is Luzier (a surgical air drum machine) and Davis is more uplfiting than usual shining in the harmonies of "Let the Dark Do the Rest"'s bridge or throughout "Start the Healing". Honestly if you filled a disc with highlights off the last three albums you'd easily obtain a top-tier Korn record. Guitars feel nicely heavy and/or twitchy ("Lost in the Grandeur"). Shame Fieldy's bass is quite meek here though. Requiem won't win an originality award, but it rocks. Tracks 1~6 are a pretty noteworthy streak.

// Favs: "Hopeless and Beaten", "Disconnect", "Let the Dark Do the Rest".
48Just Mustard
Heart Under

// 🇮🇪 // post-punk, noise rock

// Bets everything on its atmospheric textures and dreamy vocals, it's not surprising seeing this with so many additional rym tags like post-industrial, dream pop, shoegaze and gothic rock. In a full listen it's a bit on the monotone side, but I think it deserves some love.

// Favs: "I Am You", "Blue Chalk", "Sore".
47The Weeknd
Dawn FM

// 🇨🇦 // synthpop

// I can always count on The Weeknd to force radios to play something I can dig for a change. Dawn FM is cohesive, addicting, and best of all it feels honestly devoted to the wintery synthwavey feel with songs that take the right amount of time to settle, Daft Punkish seasoning included. It also flows rather seamlessly from song to song. A cute package, really.

// Favs: "Sacrifice", "How Do I Make You Love Me?", "Less Than Zero".
Morbidity Triumphant

// 🇺🇸 // death metal, death doom

// Does what it says on the tin. Autopsy doesn't disappoint. One thing though is that the production is really "soft" and widely panned guitar-wise, and perhaps stylistically it's a little basic compared to the other reunion stuff, but it still slaps.

// Favs: "Final Frost", "Born in Blood", "Skin by Skin".
Synchro Anarchy

// 🇨🇦 // alien prog metal (basically weird ass post-punk?)

// Voivod's in a bit of a comfort zone lately, but really, their brand of quirky alien jagged bass-tastic prog is one hell of a comfort zone. "The World Today" even boasts their classic post-punky energy with delicious results. Overall is just another good Voivod record to me, but I'll take it.

// Favs: "Holographic Thinking", "The World Today", "Synchro Anarchy".
We're Not Here To Be Loved

// 🇺🇸 // alt metal (post-hardcore and shoegaze influence)

// The chunky almost nu-metally riffs get your head bobbing while the double vocals (female and male, the latter clean and harsh) broaden the soundscape. There's a shoegaze feel for sure but the production is on the claustrophobic side for some reason which doesn't serve it too much. So I checked out "Linda Claire" in its demo version and... yeah, now we're talking. The riffs there are fuzzier and the vocals more expansive/ethereal. Still, that aside, this rocks and has a cute Deftonish coating. The first listening was a bit underwhelming, but revisiting individual songs actually turned them into jams.

// Favs: "Enjoy" cover, "Foreign", "Kiss the Ladder".
Moon of Foul Magics

// 🇨🇦 // proggy thrashy black metal

// Energic thrashy bm nicely spiced up with softer sections with catchy solos.

// Favs: "Moon of Foul Magics", "Descending the Void", "On Black Wings of Eternity".
42Sunrise Patriot Motion
Black Fellflower Stream

// 🇺🇸 // unexpected gothic rock

// I say unexpected because it has somewhat of a bm/screamo(?) feel and an interesting dungeon synth ambience ("Oil Dream Field", "My Father's Christian Humidor"...) in places. It's also a brisk 33 minutes experience. Not bad at all! Let's see where they go from here.

// Favs: "Warp of the Window", "Oil Dream Field", "My Father's Christian Humidor", "Drippings of God".
41Katia Krow

// 🇦🇪 // ambient, drone

// Gave this a shot when I had to write down a couple observations about the movie Queimada (1969) for my anthropology professor. It worked pretty well! It is abrasive, being drone, but there's a melancholy to it that makes it enveloping and gets you in the zone, so to speak . The album is name-your-price on Bandcamp:

// Favs: these stretch starts soothing and gets brutal: "Diluminite", "Julfar", "Duwais".
All That Has Never Been True

// 🇩🇪 // atmospheric black metal

// Pretty dramatic with its dense layering and symphonic feel, the latter extending both to synths and guitawork. This definitely has its atmosphere. My main gripe is the "meme blackgaze" yelp vocal style, but I can bear it for the enveloping sound the band (and producer) crafted. The opening song is a bit of a generic-ish start but then there are ambienty/posty bits too.

// Favs: "Der alte Feind (Jeder Tag reißt Wunden)", "Bathed in Lightning, Bathed in Heat", "Carrion (to Walk Among the Spiders)".
Acts of God

// 🇺🇸 // tech death metal

// Let's get the important things done first: the cover art slays! Brown is an underrated colour. Anyway, this is tech death done as tight as you could. Cocaine drumming, juicy riffs with some respectable attempt at having memorable themes and sensible soloing, solid growls, even solid enough production for polished dm. I'd be lying if I said I didn't find it very samey and that my attention didn't fluctuate throughout, but it's still certified slapperoni.

// Favs: "The Age of No Light", "Noose of Thorns", "When Halos Burn". Also I believe "Let the Darkness In" is what you'd call a certified gym jam.
38Big Thief
Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You

// 🇺🇸 // indie folk, folk rock, americana, a few psychedelic undertones

// Pleasantly surprised by this. I honestly dreaded to check it out as usually I'm not huge about the new whining-to-a-guitar albums people tend to love, and this is almost a hour and a half long. But eh, you gotta be a party pooper to hate on this one. Also this is a *band* (I say it for all my fellow "oh no not another acoustic white noise album" people lol), a detail I managed to miss before listening. I appreciate all its shades, especially the more psychy songs but I even dig the americana stuff! Also that cute flute solos in "No Reason".

// Bunch of favs (out of 20 songs) by appearance: "Time Escaping" (even though it baited me hard for the rest), "Little Things", "Flower of Blood", "Blurred View", "Wake Me Up to Drive", "Simulation Swarm", "Love Love Love".
Shortwave Memories

// 🇳🇴 // ambient techno

// The old-school sounds give it a wonderful feel halfway between warm and nocturnal. Very comfy stuff. I guess it's inexperience talking, and I do understand that it's not exactly reinventing the wheel, but this feels underrated to me this year. The tracks, at their leisure pace, progress nicely. The first two tracks are a bit of a slow start to the album though, maybe that influenced some ratings a bit? That and how the 14-minute closer "Transfigured Express" doesn't justify its length.

// Favs: the "Night Shift" - "Formanta" - "Shortwave Memories" triple punch, which then keeps going on seamlessly to the end.
36Diamanda Galas
Broken Gargoyles

// 🇺🇸 // dark ambient with a witch singing over it

// 2017's All the Way was my proper introduction to Galás' music in full album form, thanks to its accessibility. Now, Broken Gargoyles sees her return to disturbing formless soundscapes. It sounds like being lost in the wild at night while a banshee recites poetry to you (verses by German poet Georg Heym, I believe it's WW1 themed - "[broken gargoyles] is how the facially maimed soldiers were termed by their hospital keepers")... a banshee with terrific vocal range, no less. Sometimes she uses multiple tracks and it feels like you accidentally walked in on a bunch of witches having demonic fun. You can read more about it at her Bandcamp page which I link below. You'll probably hate it but I find it very engrossing(ly creepy) as ambient music, not counting the World War poetry.

// Diamanda Galás talking about Broken Gargoyles:
35Sam Prekop and John McEntire
Sons Of

// 🇬🇧 🇺🇸 // ambient techno

// Four long tracks for your background needs. Indulgent for sure but keeps good company, even the 24-min "Yellow Robe" covers a neat amount of ground (the part from ~10:30 aah so nice) and feels like a cozy voyage. Miao~

34Arctic Monkeys
The Car

// 🇬🇧 // baroque pop, chamber pop, psychy

// The album starts magnificently with "There'd Better Be a Mirrorball"'s delightful composition and organic production, making the drumming a joy to follow as the baroquiness (is this a word?) flows on top. Turner's vocals are also pretty solid I think. Then when "I Ain't Quite Where I Think I Am" added a funky guitar, grander strings and vocal harmonizations I was almost ready to call this a success. And then! Well, the more brooding and electronic "Sculptures of Anything Goes" seemed to confirm it, actually. It's a great one. Loungey, sure, but I don't see a problem with that. It does slowly peter out after that opening trio though (but shoutout to the last minute of "Big Ideas").

// Favs: "There'd Better Be a Mirrorball", "I Ain't Quite Where I Think I Am", "Sculptures of Anything Goes".
33The Gathering
Beautiful Distortion

// 🇳🇱 // art rock

// It doesn't have the trip hop flavour of past classics, but it's really pretty to compensate! Silje Wergeland's vocals are excellent and the dream poppy space rocky pastiche around her is great too. It's veeery soft though admittedly, it could have used a hint more density especially guitar-wise. Anyway I'm sure in another universe "When We Fall" is a super popular song.

// Favs: "Pulse of Life", "Grounded", "We Rise" (actual Mandylion echoes?).
32Birds in Row
Gris Klein

// 🇫🇷 // screamo

// 40+ minutes is a lot of screamo time for my La quiete-loving ass, but despite a bit of fatigue this has rock-solid album flow and the music has a warmness to it with all the adjacent influences you can/want to find.

// Favs: "Trompe L'oeil" + "Rodin", "Noah" + Cathedrals", "Nympheas".
31Brian Eno

// 🇬🇧 // ambient pop

// Well this is ambient pop alright! Still, it's solid and with a Dead Can Dance tinge.

// Favs: "Who Gives a Thought", "We Let It In", "Garden of Stars". Honorable mention "These Small Noises" for its liturgic choral feel.
30White Ward
False Light

// 🇺🇦 // atmospheric black metal + dark jazz

// I'm in the minority that considered Love Exchange Failure to be inferior to Futility Report. The debut LP had a core-ish feel but imo it also had their best use of dark jazz. LEF just felt more artificially constructed to me. False Light tries to correct that, and I can also appreciate that they kept LEF's use of clean vocals. The stripped down "Salt Paradise" is a little gem, being fully clean and giving an ideal space for the horns to play some more. So all in all I consider this album a success, although one of my gripes still remains: they may have left the metalcoreish thing in the debut, but now the more standard bm sections remain with a generic feel and ironically hinder the album... and they knew, considering "Cronus" has a post-punky intro to spice things up.

// Favs: "Leviathan", "False Light", "Phoenix".
29Emeka Ogboh
6°30’33​.​372”N 3°22’0​.​66”E

// 🇳🇬 // field recordings, ambient dub, tribal ambient

// A Nigerian Berlin-based artist who makes sound installations. I had listened to his previous album and then this year, before knowing there was another coming, I met him again in the volume "The Anthropologist as Curator" (edited by Roger Sansi Roca) so I guess it was destiny. As the album's bandcamp page says, it focuses on the sounds and voices within Lagos' Ojuelegba bus station and its environs. "It’s a sonic “zooming-in” to the anarchic, self-organized urban node at a critical transformational juncture, previously immortalized on Fela Kuti’s legendary track and critique of post-colonial Lagos, Confusion"". There's some really good production here, but be aware that it's not the most relaxing kind of ambient although it does create its own zone.

// Favs: "Wole", "Verbal Drift", "No Counterfeit".
28Cloud Rat

// 🇺🇸 // grindcore, screamo

// From the blackened vocals to the great drum production, this is some damn sweet grind. It almost flows like a long song but not in the sense that's all the same, just that it's got an unstoppable flow for 30 minutes straight. The punky beats, the blastbeats, the sludgier bits, it's all there tight.

27Flora Purim
If You Will

// 🇧🇷 // samba-jazz, jazz fusion, vocal jazz

// Soooo nice. Loses a bit of steam going on (love "Dois + Dois = Tres" though!).

// Favs: "500 Miles High", "If You Will" (infectious), "Newspaper Girl".
26Tropical Fuck Storm

// 🇦🇺 // art punk, noise rock

// It's more of the same by TFS but eh they do it well in this EP too. That meltdown in "Ann" is so good. Also they went for a more organic/breathing production than usual which makes this surely worth a shot for a change; it could work both as a way to get more attached to the band and also as a quick entry point.

// Favs: "Moonburn", "Ann".
25Nduduzo Makhathini
In The Spirit of Ntu

// 🇿🇦 // afro-jazz, vocal jazz, spiritual jazz

// Right from the rollicking piano that opens the album you know this'll be a good time. It's a lot mellower than what I expected; the rhythmic base may get complex but the solos on top are often relaxed/unobtrusive even in the more abstract moments like the mysterious-sounding "Nyonini Le?", and there are vocals too. So not life-changing, but a pretty welcoming listen with great peaks.

// Favs: "Mama", "Nyonini Le?", "Emilweni". (but I'm not saying the second half is weak or anything)

// 🇨🇳 // Prog pop metal (?)

// You know when somebody says "this is pop metal"? Ok well this tries to do it for real, while retaining complexity and fully atmospheric parts too. Try it out. I can just say that the covert art is *not* as misplaced as you think! The most glaring issue is how the mix oftentimes doesn't give justice to the instruments like in "Euphoria" which could have a true little experimental jewel, but I'm sure InsideOut Music will help with that for the next album.

// Favs: "Mountain", "Euphoria", "Travel".
Inter Ice Age 4

// 🇯🇵 // ambient pop, indietronica

// Chill is an understatement! Impeccably airy music with soft vocals; sometimes glitchy, sometimes flourishing into a cute crescendo like "hong kong", sadly not enough times leaning on a housey coziness like "mugen" and "yakan-hikou". If you needed something light to play during nighttime without it becoming intrusive even on speakers, this is it. Also it has no skips. Production is full of headphone-ready details like the crumply noises in "nemurini", which gel well with piano and synths.

// Favs: "mugen", "inter ice age 4", "yakan-hikou", "mother".

// 🇨🇦 // post-punk

// Tight post-punk with various flavours; gothy, jangly, gazey, coldwawey... it's pretty satisfying stuff. I don't care if the individual elements aren't reinventing the wheel, the sum rules. Great rhythm section (though the production tends to hide the kick drum) with juicy bass. Pretty consistent album.

// Favs: "Death of Melody", "Recalibrate", "Ricochet".
21The Soft Pink Truth
Is It Going to Get Any Deeper Than This?

// 🇺🇸 // deep house

// The way the opener "Deeper" builds throughout its 11 minutes should make you smile: it's funky, it's atmospheric, it's got all kinds of cute things briefly popping up (bells, strings, horns...). The best thing is that "Deeper" is not a fluke, as it's followed by two vocal songs that keep up the funky bass adding very different moods. "La Joie Devant La Mort" for example is more nocturnal with almost gothy verses voice-wise and chirping crickets if that's your kink, whereas "Wanna Know" features dreamier female vocals and a baroque touch in the middle. Funky, bouncy, fresh-feeling, respectably varied... it takes a bit of a pause in the middle with a more ambienty stretch, but that's cool too in the grand scheme. Have a jam. Do it even if you never tried this kinda stuff! It's basically house with funk, jazz, ambient and minimalism flavours.

// Favs: the first six songs especially are such a nice and varied streak.
Glitch Princess

// 🇸🇬 // ambient-glitch-art-etc pop

// I genuinely can't tell how much I precisely like this. At first it sounded like sonic emptyness but the details have definitely grown on me, like the metallic clangs and piercing vocal production in "Electric" or the slow wandering alarm synths in "Flowers are Dead", and I could find something to say like this for pretty much every song. I guess what can really make or break the album for people are its lyrics. Personally I'm all for brutal honesty, which here works well with the music to create an infectiously depressing listen. The ear-piercing "I'm dead" yelling in "Bites on My Neck" for instance, coupled with the catchy as sin synths/kick, makes me feel positevely unalive. Actually? I think I really like this.

// Favs: "Bites on My Neck", "Too Dead Inside", "Electric". Obligatory "Don't Be So Hard on Your Own Beauty" mention.
Der Turm

// 🇩🇪 // atmospheric black metal

// I know you're thinking Paysage d'Hiver. But whew man, right from the unexpected blackgazey start of the first track Der Turm captivated me a lot. Throughout its ~80 minutes runtime it takes you through all the shades you could expect like post-rock, dungeon synth, drone, dark folk and the adjacent stuff ("Trümmer" is basically a Berlin school piece). Thankfully I enjoyed each shade, also helped by the spot-on production that is just clean enough for everything to come together nicely without sacrifing the distorted buzzsaw goodness and frosty synth swells (and it boasts a rather healthy dynamic range! DR9). Even the 2 minutes long "Jericho" is memorable in how it sets a medieval warlike ambience only for it turn into a drone piece with chaotic drumming on top... and then explode into the bm of "Fallt!". Yeee~

// name-your-price:
// Favs: "Mauer", "Warheit", "Fallt!".

// 🇯🇵 // drone, shoegaze, ambient pop, a hint of metal

// This is criminally underrated, currently 3.10 on rym, and yet the first song "I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…" is already top-notch... and the album doesn't even dip after it. That first song is definitely drone but under its waves there's sand made of shoegaze / dream pop, making it both comfortable and alienating. Then, the albums keeps mixing the ingredients with tasteful results. Second song "Icelina" for example leans much more on the comfortable side. There's little to no metal edge here, but who cares? It's excellent, atmospheric, and I can easily let my mind wander with tracks like "Old Projector". Ironically I didn't care for Heavy Rocks, go figure.

// Favs: "I Want to Go to the Side Where You Can Touch…", "Beyond Good and Evil", "Icelina".
Digital Noise Alliance

// 🇺🇸 // proggy metal

// Oh man, I'm *dramatic pause* speechless. I didn't even dream about enjoying new Ryche in '22 this much, especially after the first two singles had left me cold, but after digesting this in my daily commutes... this is "it". I'm SO happy to finally have another Queensryche record that sounds like an acceptable addition to the classic "canon" (even if it doesn't touch any pre-HITNF imo, like at all) and not just "Toddryche"! It's not perfect and I have my clear gripes with it, but there's so much stuff to dig here. Like, "Lost in Sorrow" at its core is basically a RfO ballad with a rocky Empire coat, with organ-y synth at the end to drive the Rageness home, plus Todd at around 2:25 sounds so much like Tate it's genuinely uncanny but not disliked.

// Favs: "Lost in Sorrow", "Behind the Walls", "Out of the Black".
16Springtime (AUS)
Night Raver

// 🇦🇺 // post/experimental rock (noisy, jazzy, psychy, punk bluesy)

// Between Tropical Fuck Storm and Springtime Gareth Liddiard is keeping fans well fed, though that is by no means a way to say that he is the absolute star. In fact, it's the adventurous musicianship by the whole trio that makes Springtime so great. If you thought that Tropical Fuck Storm could use less vocals and more instrumental talk then you must check this gem of a 40 minutes "EP". The only thing that hurts its place in this list is "The Radicalisation of D": it's atmospheric and narration-driven, which is fine, but maybe 18 minutes is a tad overkill.

// Favs: of the three songs, my pick is "The Names of the Plague".
The Liquified Throne of Simplicity

// 🇸🇮 // avant/free folk, post-minimalism

// The Bandcamp bio really says it all: "Slovenian ‘imaginary folk’ instrumental trio. Handmade and global instrumentation meets fearless sound exploration". If you require conventional melodies to latch on to, you'll probably hate this. You may as well treat this as ritual ambient music in spirit. I must admit I don't love it as much as a lot of other peeps, I found it a little indulgent, but still it's some great bgm and the music does build up so don't take bgm as an insult because it's definitely an interesting enveloping listen. The accessibility(?) varies track by track: the opener is a loooong ritual whereas the second one is more "melodic" and you can follow the soloing more easily. Also everything sounds twice as good if you periodically gaze at the artwork while you listen. He'll be there.

14An Isolated Mind
A Place We Cannot Go

// 🇺🇸 // experimental-noisy-post rock + one long drony/ambient piece

// Much different than his debut LP, which leaned into black metal. This one features a lot of clean vocals but it's still far from accessible, it can get noisy/drony and it does have echoes of the past sound. The whole second half of "Cold Day", for instance, sounds like someone losing their mind through a fog of distant voices, swirling synths and complex drumming. In contrast, the second half of "Platitudes" is a heavy wall of distorted noise and screams. Both are appropriate considering the themes (debut was called I'm Losing Myself). Also I believe it's made by a sputnikmusic dweller!

// Favs: "Like a Hurricane, She Wept", "Cold Day", "Platitudes".
13Black Country, New Road
Ants From Up There

// 🇬🇧 // art rock, post-rock, chamber pop

// The 2022 album ever, itself. I was prepared to hate this but turns out I really can't. I must admit there's a pretty rigid feel to a lot of it that stops me from really loving it though, despite all the chamber/post-rock bells and whistles that try to hide that.

// Favs: "Haldern", "Basketball Shoes", "Chaos Space Marine".
12Artificial Brain
Artificial Brain

// 🇺🇸 // disso/tech death metal

// You may think my fondness of great cover art is superficial, but as long as it keeps leading me to stuff like this I stay eating good. Like a comment in rym's shoutbox says, this is dissonant and melodic at the same time. A certain warmness to it and even dreamy/psychy bits ("A Lofty Grave") in which the murky caveman growls fit really well. Production is perfect for this sound too. It all... really fits the art haha.

// Favs: "Celestial Cyst", "A Lofty Grave", "Embalmed with Magma". Absolutely necessary mention for the closer "Last Words of the Wobbling Sun" too.
11Binker and Moses
Feeding the Machine

// 🇬🇧 // post-bop, avant-garde jazz

// Maybe my memory is lying, but this duo's 2017 album wasn't that special in my mind back then. So I wasn't sure to check this out... and I'm glad I did, because this is great. Boyd's drumming makes it rather atmospheric and there's some light electronic work too like the droning in "Accelerometer Overdose" or the glitchy elements inside "After the Machine Settles" (appropriate title), so Golding's sax is free (pun maybe intended) to speak melodically. You could call this "atmospheric post-bop" and it may interest fans of dark jazz too.

// Favs: "Asynchronous Intervals", "Accelerometer Overdose" (dark jazz fans check this), "Feed Infinite".
// (does this sound worse than on Spotify to anyone?)
10Time Wharp
Spiro World

// 🇺🇸 // post-minimalism, nu jazz

// Here's some mad background music (that's actually mostly serene) for the next thing you have to do. It's like a series of ideas that you feel could have been expanded more by themselves, but not in a bad way. More in a I'll-have-to-come-back way. I also love the sound design, like in the first couple minutes of "No Furniture/Tanagra" the soloing keyboard(?) part is kept quieter than the electronic beat, giving this serene underwater feel to the first part of the track before the woodwinds kick in (after an interesting key change, I think?).

// Favs: "No Furniture/Tanagra", "Tezeta", "Lupron", "TOTP".
9Shapeshifter (JPN)
Dark Ritual

// 🇯🇵 // grindcore, noise, sludgy

// lol? Who knew it'd be so easy to climb up a year-end list. Turns out 17 minutes of grindcore / powerviolence with great production, actual noise elements and memorable parts from every instrument is all you need. Also the vocals know their place in a grind mix. And there are slower sludgy bits. Can't get enough of this.

// Favs: "Hereditary", "Dead Man", "Abortive Flower".

// Also give a shot to the newer '22 single "Enslaved", it's got a cleaner blackened sound and it smacks. I'll probably gift this entry a bit of a higher spot in the list just for how casually they became top-tier grind/whatev stuff.
8And Also The Trees
The Bone Carver

// 🇬🇧 // gothy folky art rock

// You can tell that the frontman's voice is aging, but AATT remains one of the best bands you may never have heard of. Unconventional drums and rich background (including zither, autoharp and clarinets) make for a beautiful platform over which the vocals can tell you stories.

// Favs: "The Book Burners", "The Girl Who Walks the City", "Another Town Another Face". So hard to pick clear favs though! What about the halloween-ready "Land of the Larkspurs"?
Hostile Architecture

// 🇬🇧 // avant-garde metal

// Great gnarly dissonant prog compositions with bonus horns/strings and frantic vocals that have an extreme edge. Fuzzy guitars and fun drumming galore. Gets a little homogeneous but I'll gift it a higher spot on the list just for the RYM user conflicted because they dig the music but are afraid of liking "commie shit".

// Favs: "The Law of Asbestos", "Plattenbau Persephone Praxis", "Apathy as Arsenic Lethargy as Lead". The choral interlude "How the Mighty Has Vision" works wonders for the album's economy too.

// 🇯🇵 // Sigh (black-doom-thrash metal, proggy psychy wacky)

// Not their wackiest record but it's so smooth and slaps like a dad's belt. Like, single "Mayonaka no kaii" has almost halloweeny-but-happy keyboards, clean vocoder backing vocals, and bm rasps that pull a... vibrato? lol? And the best part is that the song actually has a great structure, with a flute break and then later on it speeds up in heavy metal fashion for the end. Also I'm happy they decided to make a fully Japanese album, the black metal vocals are so catchy with the language's syllables. Great production to boot (albeit compressed), which goes well with the great performances. Some really fun drumming definitely deserves a shoutout, notable for example in the mostly atmospheric "Fuyu ga kuru" which is 100% a current Sigh "classic" by the way.

// Favs: "Fuyu ga kuru", "Mayonaka no kaii", "Satsui - genshi no ato".
Ancient Astronauts

// 🇳🇴 // prog/psych rock

// 43 minutes? What is this, a glorified Motorpsycho single? Kidding. Three killer songs plus one interlude. "The Ladder" is more of the same but the confidence behind the performance is so good, every instrument feels hungry; "Mona Lisa/Azrael" is some great King Crimson heritage, from the tender string-like beginning to the freaky noodling and let's not forget the final majestic reprise. Lastly "Chariot of the Sun", a background for a dance exhibition, fullfills its purpose very well: the cleaner solos placed left and right in the middle part are kind of... pretty? Really nice vibe there, feels like ~ shiny morning dew ~ or something. Ultimately you could say they just retreated to the sound of the Gullvåg trilogy which makes for a pretty safe record and it is 100% true, but eh. First world Motorpsycho problems.

// Favs: of the three, probably "Mona Lisa/Azrael".
4Colin Stetson, Elliott Sharp, Billy Martin and Payton MacDon
Void Patrol

// 🇺🇸 // post-minimalism, totalism

// I don't know how to really describe this quartet's music but the cover art actually does a good enough job. In the first two tracks you have the drummer / percussionist planting the solid (but not simple) railroad over which you find electronic production, sax, marimba and "strings". Then for the last three they dive into more abstract territory. You could say it has some psychedelic qualities. You could totally put it on and wander off with it to your daily commute like you'd do with a trip hop record. If you enjoy the company of Tuxedomoon's Half-Mute you could enjoy this too (or maybe that's just the artwork comparison haha).

// Favs: "Rigel", "Antares", "Arcrux".
3Daniel Rossen
You Belong There

// 🇺🇸 // prog/chamber folk

// I kept postponing checking this out but I shouldn't have feared because it's easily some peak 2022 stuff. It's constantly raising and lowering its intensity especially thanks to the excellent drumming, it has a very enveloping sound with the acoustic guitar, strings, etc and there's definitely a spiritual/psychedelic element throughout. I wish the title track wasn't so short.

// Favs: "Unpeopled Space", "Tangle", "Shadow in the Frame", "You Belong There", "Keeper and Kin".

// 🇮🇸 // art pop

// Yeah this is unreal. Björk can make a Frankenstein's monster of reggeaton beat + chamber music + gabber boink boink boink like "Atopos" and make it rule, in fact she does it again in "Fungal City". Come on even the glitchy a cappella interlude "Mycelia" rules, and don't sleep on the choral "Sorrowful Soil". The chamber/folk element is also prominent throughout the album. "Ovule" is another example of how all this seemingly random sounds fit together in a terrific way. Just don't expect a full album of heavy bangers and you should be good. I love this.

// Favs: "Atopos", "Fungal City", "Victimhood", "Fossora".

// 🇮🇹 // doom metal

// No, this is not the *best* album of the year. However, it has to be the symbol of my 2022 and so entry 1 it is! This band is such a national treasure in my eyes, they make me happy and irrationally proud. It's true last year there was Ad Nauseam with a more impressive album but, maybe it's the clean vocals, maybe it's the way with each album Messa gets more ratings, point is they've become my personal beacon in this Maneskin-land. Anyway! Close is stoner doom with dynamic intensity, middle eastern influence ("Orphalese") and occasional spices like the jazzy guitar solo in "Suspended" or a couple more extreme drumming moments ("Leffotrak"). I miss the dark jazz aesthetic of Feast for Water but this is a band moving ahead. A band that, of course, is also known for Sara Bianchin's vocals which can be both soaring and dreamy.

// Favs: "Suspended", "Pilgrim", "Orphalese", "Rubedo". "Serving Him" mention for another tasty guitar solo.
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