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Matty's Top Albums of 2022 #25-1

Here is the cream of the crop, the best of the best. My favorites of the year, painstakingly examined and enjoyed thoroughly in order to create this fucking list. Hope you guys enjoy, let me know your favorites in the comments!
Altered Pasts

#25 – I miss TDEP as much as the next guy and this record manages to scratch that itch. The chaotic mathcore, the insane rhythmic patterns, the furious vocals and occasional slower cuts, it’s all there and it all sounds amazing!
24Danger Mouse and Black Thought
Cheat Codes

#24 – The first hip hop album to appear in this list is one of the most exciting collabs of the year, offering Danger Mouses excellent instrumentals and beats and Black Thoughts flows and exceptional lyrical prowess. The production on this thing is perfect, the songs are well formulated and there’s no such thing as filler on this album.
23Florence and the Machine
Dance Fever

#23 - Florence and the Machine have been so consistent throughout their career, the songs have always been there, and the quality of the lyricism, performances and production have always exceeded expectations. ‘Dance Fever’ is no different, every song is a hit, the heavier focus on dance rock beats adds a bit of flavor coming off a more reserved and subdued album in High as Hope. It’s exciting, Florence sounds amazing, it’s literally awesome.

#22 – Matt Heafy releasing a black metal record that features Gerard fucking Way doing black metal vocals was something I was not ready for but now, I’m in love. Matt breakdowns barriers in a very stringent genre and explores various styles and sounds while still holding true to traditional black metal quips. It’s really fun, maybe a bit long but very enjoyable.
21Orthodox (TN)
Learning To Dissolve

#21 – A band that released one of my favorite records a couple years back, now back with even more fire and fury in their belly, unleashing complete hell with dark riffs, massive breakdowns and an endlessly aggressive vocal performance. Everything clicks well, if I had any complaints, it would be that sometimes it gets a bit too focused on heaviness rather than creativity but it’s few and far between those examples and does a very solid job of being interesting throughout.
20Harry Styles
Harry's House

#20 – Harry Styles releasing one of my favorite records of the year was not in the cards, but I was utterly surprised by the silky, velvety production, the very tasteful styles of pop, disco and r&b experimented with throughout and Harry’s very lovely, subdued vocal performances. The songwriting is stellar, the songs flow very nicely with only a couple questionable moments in the track list. Plus, Matilda...need I say more?
King's Disease III

#19 – A late year addition, Nas is back and sounding as nasty and refreshed as he did on Illmatic. It’s got the bars, it’s got the thick, juicy beats, it’s got all sorts of great highlights, it’s a very solid record.
18Natalia Lafourcade
De Todas las Flores

#18 – Spanish folk music kind of controlled my life this year and while Natalia is very popular and well known, I had never heard of her prior to listening to this record. Her silky-smooth vocals, the pop fused folk instrumentals, the excellent variety, it’s all there. It’s a wonderful record front to back.
The Forever Story

#17- JID is not the first name that would have popped up when I thought about what my favorite hip hop album of the year would be but here we are. The flows and beats on this thing are overwhelmingly good and the lyrics are extremely impressive, introspective and honest. It exemplifies all the aspects that I love about this type of music and offers quality songs with quality production.
Burying Brightness

#16 – A band similar to the likes of Orthodox and Vatican in that they are a much heavier version of metallic hardcore, employing very heavy riffs and breakdowns bordering deathcore yet having the attitude of hardcore music. The lyrics pack a punch, the production and mix are extremely crisp and really lend itself to how brutal it sounds. One of the most exciting young bands and this record takes what they did on their last couple albums and furthers the quality of their songwriting.

#15 – The riffs man, this band has perfected the ‘all-killer, no-filler' mentality with thick, punchy riffs and no-nonsense songwriting. It’s about succinctness, finding the best riffs, the most brutal vocal passages yet still having diversity of sound and approach. A very impressive record!

#14 – 156/Silence are one of the best young metalcore bands right now. Their fury and rage vocally are unmatched, their riff writing is spectacular, every song tells a brooding tale and maintains a level of quality that other bands couldn’t dream of. The cleverness of the band’s decision to write a poem using the song titles for the record doesn’t go unnoticed, nor does the absolute ass-smacking breakdowns that litter the runtime. Awesome heavy album!
13Zeal and Ardor
Zeal and Ardor

#13 – Combining southern spirituals and heavy hitting groovy black metal is not something that should work but for three full albums now, it has for Zeal & Ardor. This band has never sounded better with this record with more poignant production, a heavier focus on grooves, really awesome vocal performances, it’s all there and it’s all very fascinating and as exciting as when they first hopped on the scene.
12Tumi Mogorosi
Group Theory: Black Music

#12 – I'll stand by this record’s quirks. The stunning choral chants, the thick rhythms, the complex drum patterns, the overly long runtime, it’s still very refreshing and interesting to me. I love the styles, I love the variety of instruments, the ability to build upon itself in a productive and enjoyable way. I really love this album.
11Willi Carlisle
Peculiar, Missouri

#11 – In a very stagnant, close-minded and boring genre of music, Willi Carlisle stands out like a sore thumb in the best way possible delivering bright, wholesome, thoughtful country music from the perspective his openly gay perspective. The songwriting is gorgeous, the instrumentals are crisp, cutting and carry an element of that era of classic country/outlaw country that carries a lot of weight. The lyrics are heartfelt and the stories told and beautiful, one of the best country records of the year and of all time in my opinion.
The Grove | Sundial

#10 – Warforged are a band I hadn’t heard of prior to this year and I’m highly enthused with what I’ve listened to. It’s aggressive, chaotic yet deliberately nuanced and structured to include various progressions, time signatures and styles. Similar to Rivers of Nihil, the band knows how to create tension and suspense and deliver when called upon. Lots of phenomenal songs, a very bright future is in store for these guys.

#9 – This style of metalcore has completely taken over the scene or at least divided the scene into sects of popular metalcore and a more aggressive, hard-hitting style that Vatican and other bands now employ. The aggressive riffs, the short songs, the in-and-out nature of the songwriting, it packs a punch and takes out the necessity of filler. The songs tell their story and close the chapter. It’s awesome, furious heavy music and this band is one of the best at doing it.
8Miss May I
Curse of Existence

#8 – Miss May I took 5 years off to write the best record of their careers, heightening their legacy with an extremely solid and fun crop of songs that showcases their ability to write great riffs, heavy breakdowns and massive sing-along choruses. Levi’s vocals sound refreshed and his experimentation with his higher register is very exciting, Ryan’s vocals continue to be very recognizable as well as his melody choices continuing to be straight earworms. Certainly, doesn’t rewrite the metalcore code but takes all the aspects of great modern metalcore and creates a 36-minute banger of an album.
7Imperial Triumphant
Spirit of Ecstasy

#7 – I don’t even really know what this album is, all I know is that I love it. The chaos, the carnage, the quirkiness of jazz fusion with black metal and the tinny production values. It shouldn’t work, but it does, very much so. The scale of the songwriting is grand while the nature of the sound is so compact and one dimensional at times (in the best way), I’ll stop at that. It works and it’s awesome!
6Fit for an Autopsy
Oh What the Future Holds

#6 – Fit for An Autopsy continue to be the most interesting and dynamic deathcore band in the business today with this record solidifying their legacy. The sheer brutality and rawness of the production mixed with Will Putney’s riffage, Joe Bad’s blood-thirsty roars all combine for an intense masterpiece that takes no prisoners, simple shoots first, asks questions later. This crop of song proves to be their most consistent in quality with their last couple records being extremely solid but having a couple duds. This one feels powerful, relentless and purposeful. Excellent record!
5The Devil Wears Prada
Color Decay

#5 – This record is not perfect but there’s a level of bias considering this is one of my favorite bands and I always find so much to love about their music. The sincerity within the lyrics and vocal performances, the ability to transition into various genres and sounds while still sounding like The Devil Wears Prada. Not relying on replication, TDWP simplifies things a bit with this record utilizing soaring choruses and more straightforward song patterns that would indicate a more mainstream focus. While there’s still some ass beaters, the slower pacing of the songs and focus on melody suits their musical talents. I always look forward to what’s next for this band and ‘Color Decay’ was certainly not a disappointment.
4Greg Puciato

#4 – Greg Puciato has been keeping very busy since the dissolution of TDEP with work in The Black Queen, Killer Be Killed and his solo material. “Mirrorcell” is his most complete, focused and well-executed record since the breakup featuring a grungy/alternative sound reminiscent of Alice in Chains yet with a bit more bite. Greg’s vocals have always been eclectic and pitch perfect with every project but there’s something about the focus on this record where his vocals really shine through. The instrumentals are a bit more simplified yet still pack a punch and have enough variation to keep things exciting.
They Fear Us

#3 – Ithaca are an amazing young band that combine the visceral heaviness of metallic hardcore and the ethereal, progressive nature of shoegaze with their hooks and choruses. The vocals are phenomenal, the instrumental patterns are intricate and constantly interesting, the hooks are massive, everything is so punchy because the production and mix are so crisp and clear. I’m very much looking forward to where this band is heading because this record smacks and is the perfect amalgamation of all their previous work heightened to the highest quality.
2Silvana Estrada

#2 – Another artist that was completely new to me when I first heard this record and now, I’m a super fan. I love Silvana’s vocal timbre and her ability to tell detailed stories through dramatic flutters and nuanced and pulled back vulnerability. The songwriting on this record is stellar with variety, depth and perfect compositions to compliment Silvana’s range and ability. While this is equally a quality record as my number one record of the year, I simply gave it to the other one for sheer grandeur and scale while still maintaining a high level of quality. A special shoutout to Silvana’s little follow-up E.P. released a little later in the year named ‘Abrazo’ that is equally as quality, quaint and beautiful.
1Ethel Cain
Preacher's Daughter

#1 - This is the best one of the year, a record that is as beautiful as it is haunting with layered, ethereal vocal performances, dense arrangements and a compelling storyline with striking, potent lyrics. Ethel Cain was an unknown artist in my peripherals at the start of the year but here I am now knee deep in lore and fandom, indulging in her previous works as well as discovering new and interesting aspects to this record with every listen. One of the most complete and satisfying records of the year.
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