2022 End Of Year Lists: Albums Of The Year

For exceptional and genuine music, search no further than the underground. That's what we do on a daily basis at D//E, and we enjoy the process of the discovery, as much as the music itself.

As we're about to enter the tenth year of the site's existence, these are D//E's Albums of the Year 2022.


30. Faetooth - Remnants of the Vessel
Resonant, ferocious, aggressive, and at the same time incredibly moving, Remnants of the Vessel is a terrific debut which definitely puts Los Angeles quartet, Faetooth, on the heavy rock map. A riff heavy record of doom and sludge attributes, the band's first full length is a very melancholic venture, and a right blend of sadness and gloominess, with superb vocals and strong melodies. Given that it comes from such a fresh and growing band, Remnants of the Vessel is a remarkably auspicious record.



29. City of Industry - Spiritual West
City of Industry have come on leaps and bounds, and they are still on the upsurge, releasing another album which is a blatant attack of hardcore vibrancy. Spiritual West is excellently produced (Jack Shirley) and demonstrates the band's existential anguish as well as their distinct personality. Heavy sounds, dark aesthetic qualities, and all around inspiring musicianship; City of Industry have everything needed to become a significant, brutal force in modern post hardcore.



28. Massa Nera - Derramar | Querer | Borrar
Massa Nera take on existential concepts and sheer screamo angst on their sophomore album, Derramar | Querer | Borrar. The band's emotional hardcore is integrated with soaring post rock components and offbeat elements which serve as stabilizing assets to neutralize the anger. A record of scorching, rough, and authentic rage, the new album finds Massa Nera being harsh, as much as they sound fascinating and familiar. Derramar | Querer | Borrar is screamo at its most creative and poised.



27. Erasers - Constant Connection
Perth, Australia-based duo Erasers released Constant Connection, a work of wonderful experimentation which comes across as a cohesive musical adventure, and work to compliment contemplative moments. Every aspect of the album is fine and serene, a hypnotic merger of synths, guitar and vocals, connecting the listener to more meditative realms.



26. Locrian - New Catastrophism
The first Locrian release in seven years, New Catastrophism, finds the acclaimed trio moving back to their foundations with four engaging new compositions which reflect the band's creative unease, and bring together sounds from dark ambiance, drone, post rock and electronica into a inherently experimental blend. Although New Catastrophism is not the easiest album to grasp, the complexity it provides can be quite rewarding.



25. Young Prisms - Drifter
Drifter is Young Prisms' first full length release in nearly ten years, and it's a work of wonderful shoegaze pop delight with observable somber overtones. Young Prisms' come back after a prolonged hiatus is clearly labelled by a more sophisticated outlook to songwriting, such as that which comes with time and emotional maturity.



24. Chalk Hands - Don't Think About Death
Don't Think About Death is the excellent debut album from Brighton's post hardcore outfit Chalk Hands, and an imaginative record in which the band explores their post metal constructions, merging the complex nature of math rock with the effective emotion of post hardcore and screamo. This is a clear demonstration of the band's competence, and it doesn't take much to compel.



23. SRSQ - Ever Crashing
Ever Crashing, SRSQ's sophomore album, meets the hopes anyone would have after 2018's Unreality. The new album is built on great, memorable melodies, layers of strong synths and electronics, dazzling guitars, and the towering vocals of Kennedy Ashlyn who has created something rather special with this project. Ever Crashing is a poignant record as well as a spellbinding celebration over real-life hardship; an album which arose after an ADHD and bipolar disorder diagnosis, urging a significant personal transformation.



22. Did You Die- Thirteen Moons
Did You Die have consistently demonstrated that they are a very well versed band in the world of shoegaze; however, after a couple of full lengths and a number of satisfying EPs and singles, they have remained criminally underappreciated. Thirteen Moons has been the culmination of the band's sound and musicianship, and while the album didn't exactly innovate, it did indicate that there is always a clever and fun way to put tasteful influences to good use without making it sound unoriginal.



21. Russian Circles - Gnosis
Mega heavy music champions Russian Circles' instrumental post rock songs are introspective and completely fascinating on their new album, Gnosis, with the band's instantly recognizable weightiness and gloominess standing out again. The band's eighth album is obviously a dark endeavor, and sounds strangely beautiful throughout.



20. King Bastard - It Came From the Void
It Came from the Void, the debut album by New York's King Bastard, has been a conceptual and musical revelation for heavy rock, and one of the most excellent new works in this genre in a lengthy moment. The album appears to be consistent with the hybrid style's tone, as it manages to combine doom metal, stoner rock, space rock, and psychedelia into a fairly expansive whole which captivates not only through its extreme, mind-boggling heaviness, but also by way of its intelligence.



19. KEN Mode - NULL
KEN Mode continue on their own noisy path, becoming even more versatile and consistent in their strength. NULL's brooding imprint is quite powerful, while the record's loudness offers a sense of purification, all communicated in a very skillful manner. KEN Mode's album number eight shows no signs of slowing down, elevating their statement of dejection to new artistic heights.



18. Aerofall - Rh
Aerofall's third album, Rh, arrives five years after their previous release, Forms. and it was created after conquering numerous challenges such as a pandemic, a tumultuous political climate, as well as a member change. Through Rh, Aerofall seem to be capable of achieving a spectacular sound which feels diverse while remaining true to the genre's foundations.



17. Data Animal - Future Primitive
Bringing forward an unmissable sound which moves freely between techno rock, kosmische musik, punk, and noise rock, Auckland/Berlin outfit, Data Animal, have left a lasting mark with their remarkable debut, Future Primitive, whose title is also a very accurate depiction of the music's tone. Future Primitive is the soundtrack to an indistinct, virtual, stressed out, and darkened future with technological and primeval elements oddly stabilizing one another. Future Primitive is a record which certainly raises a lot of expectations for what we can anticipate from Data Animal next.



16. Spirits of Leo - Asylum
Spirits of Leo's artistic finesse is typically focused on aspects of new wave, darkwave, post punk, and dreampop, and it's been put to constructive use on their newest full length, Gossamer Blue, delivering a noteworthy and graceful outcome. Spirits of Leo are fresh blood in underground post punk, greatly influenced by the genre's past, and their new work is an extremely evocative venture.



15. Lori Goldston - High and Low

Cellist and experimental composer, Lori Goldston, is a force of unconventional creativity, as evidenced by her long and successful career, numerous collaborations, and inclusion in consistently fascinating and imaginative projects. High and Low is built around at least two important sections: solo improvisatory cello works and improvised duet performances, both of which combine to form an immaculate whole.



14. The Bobby Lees - Bellevue
The Bobby Lees appear to be the most streamlined underground rock band of today, as we indicated when we included them in our EPs of 2022 list. Their sound and overall creative concept haven't changed much since we first noticed them about five years ago, except that it's become sharper and more direct, capable of appealing to almost anyone. Bellevue is a natural complement to Hollywood Junkyard, and it's difficult not to love everything this band is releasing these days.



13. OFF! - Free LSD
OFF! are a fantastic band of experienced musicians who are more than capable of communicating the anguish and urgency that modern times demand through their music. The content for the relentless Free LSD, which also serves as the soundtrack to an upcoming movie, was picked from Morris' podcast, Blowmind. Morris and Pete Weiss (Thelonious Monster) discuss the plausibility of conspiracy theories in a predominantly scientific manner, and all of this resulted in one of the band's finest efforts, perhaps even the most imaginative.



12. Kill Your Boyfriend - Voodoo
Italian experimental post punk duo, Kill Your Boyfriend, appear to be at a most creative juncture in their path thus far, having released one of the year's most fascinating concept albums. Kill Your Boyfriend draw inspiration from the earlier days of rock music to create their own dark and imaginative sound, slyly connecting the dots between what would seem to be two completely distinct realms, and integrating those into a coherent single entity.



11. Cave In - Heavy Pendulum
Cave In has been operating for over 25 years, and with Heavy Pendulum, the band demonstrated how they are capable of reaching all of their artistic highs in an unapologetic manner. Heavy Pendulum is a lengthy album, offering quite a lot to decipher, and its highlights come in great numbers. The veteran band's return is a compelling milestone, filled with lots of beautiful songwriting and superb musicality. No wonder, Cave In are a staple of underground music.



10. Mares of Thrace - The Exile
Mares of Thrace came back in 2022 with their third album, The Exile, a brief record of exquisite heaviness which reveals the band in full force, overflowing with energy and motivation. Despite having been released ten years too late, The Exile profiles Mares as a revived act which expertly blends a wide range of styles, and delivers a work which originates from an unending resource of pure heavy rock vitality.



9. Plattenbau - Shape/Shifting
Plattenbau's Lewis Lloyd evidently had a vision for the full extent of Shape / Shifting, its sounds and visuals, and the overall impression of the record, which came to represent something very nocturnal, gloomy, and impulsive. Shape / Shifting is rich in standouts, dark and energetic tracks which frequently accomplish haunting and unhinged atmospheres, resulting in a varied album of an unusual mindset and ambiguity.



8. Wormrot - Hiss
Wormrot have released one of the best grindcore/extreme metal albums in recent years, having brought forward another example of their highly diversified and forceful musicianship with their latest work. The Singapore greats made a triumphant return after six years, with Hiss being an all around magnificent full length which seamlessly unifies grind viciousness with more melodic instances. Arif, the band's vocalist, announced his departure from the group undoubtedly on a very high note.



7. Birds In Row - Gris Klein
Birds in Row, a mainstay of the French post-hardcore scene, have not ever come up short in bringing forth the fervent heaviness their audience expects from them, and their most recent album, Gris Klein, seems to be adding range to the band's existing diverse and interesting sound. The album is loaded with frantic power and unfiltered emotion, and even has an indication of a more experimental grip. Gris Klein is a fantastic album by a team of musicians with a continuously forward looking approach.



6. Night Sins - Violet Age
It's impossible to miss Night Sins' vibrant and dazzling combination of dark synthpop and post punk which is very prominent in their fifth full length, Violet Age. The album's more straightforward goth rock sounds frequently link with a synthpop flair characterized by a somber croon. Since emerging from the dreary Philadelphia many years ago, Night Sins have consistently produced intriguing, well-executed records which have endured, and Violet Age has proven to be a worthy continuation of that run.



5. Boris - W
The mighty Boris, who have been celebrating thirty years as a band, released not one, but three full length albums in 2022. The first one, W, was the most experimental one, with a more ambient/drone feel, which the group has repeatedly demonstrated to be a strong option for them. Later, the heavier, noisier rock of Heavy Rocks (2022) offered an interesting contrast before the band returned to drone metal with fade. On W, Boris seem to be at the more refined aspect of their risk-taking musicianship, by way of the album's cold ambience and shoegaze parallels, and the result is incredibly attractive. When W was announced as a companion piece to 2020's No, shaping the two albums together as NOW, one might have anticipated something more in line with No's punk rock. However, W made for a surprising punch through its experimental sophistication.



4. Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed
In comparison to Holy Fawn's breakthrough album, Death Spells, Dimensional Bleed presents a touch more nuance, with some songs employing smoother, minimalistic soundscapes to balance the band's extreme heaviness, and washes of electronica and textures to enhance their overall sound. Shoegaze rock wistfulness is always present in the band's creative ways, while the bounds of black metal are reached again, to ultimately place Holy Fawn among the most diverse, genre-defying acts in underground music today. Certainly, Death Spells was a difficult album to follow, and Holy Fawn's sound is difficult by design as well, still, the band's sophomore album convinces, and has a lot to give to the initiated and beyond.



3. Brutus - Unison Life
With their third album, Belgian post-everything band Brutus demonstrates consistency and growth, but more importantly, they indicate that they are an inspired band equipped with technical dexterity and raw emotion. Unison Life was developed over the course of the past two years with careful consideration, and it turned out to be a very detailed album—natural for a group which won over the majority of the underground audience with the clarity and elegance of their first two albums. Unison Life is exactly what admirers of those records would expect, and then some.



2. Chat Pile - God's Country
The music and artwork of Oklahoma-based sludge metal/heavy noise rock band Chat Pile, particularly on their fantastic debut full length, God's Country, are haunted by the pessimism of daily situations in the American Midwest. Chat Pile transform the entire grimness of actually living next to the toxic waste mounds which give the band its name, into something quite notably aggressive. An immense noise rocker with dark, defeatist lyrics and a ton of inherent anger, God's Country demonstrates how the band have embraced the idea behind their new album, and formed a hard-hitting sound. Clearly, the major aspects of Chat Pile's poignant approach to heavy and sludgy noise rock are existentialism and nihilism; exactly how we like our heaviness to be.



1. A Place to Bury Strangers - See Through You
Simply put, APTBS were always a great mix of the underground music formats that D//E embraces the most: post punk, shoegaze, noise rock, heaviness and psychedelia, all packed into one. See Through You has been chock-full of raw power and fantastic songs, much like the band's latest EP, which D//E declared our favorite of the year in 2021. With twenty years under their belt, APTBS may indeed not only not slow down, but see the future with great force and anticipation, producing an impressive record, and building around it an entire world of beautiful distortion, as well as compelling visuals.
 

1. A Place to Bury Strangers - See Through You 
2. Chat Pile - God's Country 
3. Brutus - Unison Life 
4. Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed 
5. Boris - W 
6. Night Sins - Violet Age 
7. Birds In Row - Gris Klein 
8. Wormrot - Hiss 
9. Plattenbau - Shape/Shifting 
10. Mares of Thrace - The Exile 
11. Cave In - Heavy Pendulum 
12. Kill Your Boyfriend - Voodoo 
13. OFF! - Free LSD 
14. The Bobby Lees - Bellevue 
15. Lori Goldston - High and Low 
16. Spirits of Leo - Asylum 
17. Data Animal - Future Primitive 
18. Aerofall - Rh 
19. KEN Mode - NULL 
20. King Bastard - It Came From the Void 
21. Russian Circles - Gnosis 
22. Did You Die- Thirteen Moons 
23. SRSQ - Ever Crashing 
24. Chalk Hands - Don't Think About Death 
25. Young Prisms - Drifter 
26. Locrian - New Catastrophism 
27. Erasers - Constant Connection 
28. Massa Nera - Derramar | Querer | Borrar 
29. City of Industry - Spiritual West 
30. Faetooth - Remnants of the Vessel



ZR