Embarrassingly late as usual, but fuck it, here’s our favorite albums of 2022.
Christian Segerstrom’s Best of 2022:
As usual, I also sneaked in a few things that aren’t mathcore, but this is legit what I was rocking with in 2022. Here we go.
Disclaimer: I helped release some of these albums, but so what? You think I put out shit I don’t like? Don’t be stupid.
I Sell Mathcore and Mathcore Accessories (Top 10 LPs):
10) Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
So this obviously isn’t a mathcore album, but it’s one of the best and most aggressive punk records I’ve heard in a really long time. I tried to include the albums that really stuck with me this year, and this was easily one of the most memorable releases of 2022.
9) Chat Pile – God’s Country
8) Totally Unicorn – High Spirits//Low Life
This one came out a bit earlier in the year so it may have escaped some peoples’ attention, but from start to finish every track is catchy, has great lyrics, and offers something unique and memorable. The rock and roll sound that has started to premiere the band’s sound has really been dialed in on this release as well.
7) Forests – Get In Losers, We’re Going to Eternal Damnation
It may be just because I have a special place in my heart for this band, but I really love and connect with Forests’ touching and nostalgia-inducing brand of emo / math rock crossover, and it’s great to see them produce a great album in spite of a recent lineup change with the departure of original guitarist Adam. My favorite active band in this style.
6) Mothman – Cancer Withdrawal
Mothman are a band that I have been following since the release of 2016’s Answers to No One, and they did not disappoint with this follow up. One of the best chaotic bands out of Texas.
5) Black Matter Device – AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS
This band is so good at what they do. Every track is concise and has something memorable; hooks and catches on every track give Autonomous Weapons serious replay value.
4) The Wind In the Trees – Architects of Light
I have to give it to guitarist David Gill (ex-The Heads are Zeros) and crew for creating another idiosyncratic mathcore project that is instantly recognizable, and much like his previous projects, incredibly under sung.
3) The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist
I really struggled with the placement of this record, and the only reason it didn’t place higher on my list is because I felt there were some growing pains and a few awkward transitions, but The Callous Daoboys are indisputably one of the best bands in the genre and are obviously carving out their name. They take an incredible amount of risks on this record and succeed with so many, and the melodic elements on Title Track and Star Baby are the best the band have yet to produce, flirting with further pop-sensibility. It’s been undeniably exciting to watch their rise from being a plucky young band to genre staples.
2) The Sawtooth Grin – Good.
The Sawtooth Grin are one of my favorite bands of all time and a huge personal influence, and I have to say, I cannot think of stronger comeback album. The new flavor is so ‘good’ (insert kaomoji), that I think I actually might enjoy this album more than Cuddlemonster. Guitarist Jay Springman offers a fresh approach with crisp overdriven guitar tones and prominent voice leading that really allows them to explore more melodic and harmonically richer content. Drummer Jon Karel makes an incredible showing on his first recording with Sawtooth, giving what is probably his tightest performance to date, and my favorite. Producer Kevin Anterassian (guitarist of The Dillinger Escape Plan and Knife the Glitter, and now a touring Sawtooth member) and have crafted record that is like hearing Sawtooth through the funnel of a Dillinger or #12 record (a very good thing), and it’s so satisfying to hear them at this level of clarity. Vocalist Rich Lombardi’s technique has not lessened throughout the years; in fact, he sounds better than ever, wisely avoiding any lyrical tropes of the genre and opting instead for a demented depiction of domestic bliss. For them to come back and sound this good is nothing short of astounding, given their age and they amount of time elapsed between now and Cuddlemonster, but here we are. I love you, Sawtooth.
1) Sunflo’er – all these darlings and now me
On all these darlings and now me, Sunflo’er have deconstructed the mathcore genre to its fundamental rock and roll elements and built it again from the ground up. New vocalist Jeff Lyszczarz has the perfect gravely timbre, dropping lyrical Easter Eggs ranging from Doby Grey (Drift Away) to Shania Twain (You’re Still the One). The lyrical themes of grief and nostalgia hit particularly close to home, often reading as gospel-inspired Americana, something that is fully illustrated on tracks like cryptfucker, with its deliberate quotation of gospel and traditional folk song, Angel Band. This is all punctuated in the final moments of the closing track’s emotional crescendo, which provides one of the best sing-along moments of the year and an incredibly cathartic ending. Gulab Singh directed and produced a string of incredible music videos that perfectly capture the gritty rock and roll-injected vibe. Producer and engineer Urian Hackney (The Armed) and Zack Weeks of God City Studio’s have crafted a record that avoids the all too common overly-produced metalcore with lifeless percussion, instead favoring a more raw and organic live sound. Simply put, I spent a lot time with this record (like 80-100 times) and I think it deserves the time and attention of anyone who considers themselves a fan of not only mathcore but rock music in general.
Some Other Shit I Enjoyed (Honorable Mentions)
black midi – Hellfire
Helpless – Caged In Gold
Wormrot – Hiss
Vein – This World Is Going to Ruin You
Wounded Touch – Americanxiety
Artificial Brain – s/t
Serling – Next Stop, Willoughby
Vermin Womb – Retaliation
Mico – Zigurat
Thoughtcrimes – Altered Pasts
Deaf Club – Productive Disruption
Cloud Rat – Threshold
Steaksauce Mustache – All Juice, No Noise
Imperial Triumphant – Spirit of Ecstasy
Dr. Acula – s/t*
*super duper late addition lmao
It’s Very Digestible (Top 15 EPs)
The God Awful Truth / Under the Pier split
Wombscape – Forced Labor Songs
The Awful Din – Anachronisms
Graysea – Under the Surface
Fake Pollocks – Arm & Argument
Thank You Driver – They Taught Us How to Read In Nam / Nothing You Do Can Stop This
Fawn Limbs – Oleum
Rob Ford Explorer – Two Songs
Rotting in Dirt – I Am Eating My Shame
God Mother – Obeveklig
fallfiftyfeet – Lonely If You Go
A Dozen Black Roses – Treading Ever So Deeply
drumcorps – Creatures
Chamber – Carved In Stone
A Knife in the Dark – One Way Needle
Levi Sebastian’s Best of 2022:
10) Gospel – The Loser
Maybe I’m a little biased due to my nostalgia, but this was complex and very well written. It’s a track 1-to-finish, no skippers.
9) Knoll – Metempiric
A relentless grindcore album. Love the use of horns. It’s confusing and disorienting, just some really amazing chaotic grind.
8) The Wind in the Trees – Architects of Light
Twelve Gauge really doing well by giving love to this band and Thin. This was an easy choice, as it was at the top of my charts for the year.
7) Ithaca – They Fear Us
Very strong song writing and lyrics, excellent production, and just with how aggressively they were shoved in my face during their promo cycle, I could not deny it.
6) Vermin Womb – Retaliation
Wasn’t expecting new Vermin Womb this year, but it’s relentless. Give me more.
5) Helpless – Caged In Gold
One of the best UK bands in this style.
4) Mothman – Cancer Withdrawal
Extreme, chaotic hardcore/grindcore/mathcore. Overall just loved this release.
3) Victor Shores – Victor Shores
Great emo / math rock from my friends from North Dakota. Emotional, emotive, and chanty. The lyrics are simple, but hit you in the heart.
2) Chat Pile – God’s Country
They somehow got darker. Everything this band does just really grabs me.
1) The Sawtooth Grin – Good.
What’s so refreshing about this, is that when you play it does sound like Sawtooth; it’s a little different; overall just a more mature band now with a matured sound.
Otis Chamberlain’s Best of 2022:
In no particular order…
The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta
This ended up in my playlist for some random reason, and I do really enjoy it even though I know there’s a massive backlash against in the change in direction, but I was moved by it enough to include it in this list.
Chat Pile – God’s Country
Really unhinged, but in a controlled way.
Zombie Shark – Born from a Wish
Aggressive, digital, just a lot of box-ticking for fans of cybergrind. Production was a lot more leveled up as well.
The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist
Don’t have a lot to say about this one that hasn’t already been said, but listened to this quite a bit in my headphones when I was walking around. Again, a lot of box ticking here and it was catchy as fuck.
Black Matter Device – AUTOMOUS WEAPONS
I got back into skating this year to prove I’m not a complete sedentary fuck, and this was in my cans a lot. It doesn’t stick out in a iconoclastic way, but this band is really good at what it does.
Meshsuggah – Immutable
Just because when I’m out walking it’s such a good album to move to. You can tell they tried to do something different here, and it’s definitely better than some of the other albums they’ve released in the past decade.
The Sawtooth Grin – Good.
My reasoning, apart from the fact it’s very ‘good’ ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) for an old fart like myself that came up in the era in which they were in their prime, I completely slept on this band and only listened to 1 or 2 tracks, not for lack of want; they just flew under my radar. When I heard Good., it made me go back and listen to the first album, and this was so far up my alley. Listening to Good. made me feel guilty for not listening to the band previously.
Sunflo’er – all these darlings and now me
Great progression from No Hell with the song writing and the addition of Jeff. I also really love Carter’s guitar playing, lot of different flavors. It’s modern, but still has nostalgia.
Cara Neir – Phantasmal
Lots of fun with lots of genre crossover that really appeals to me. Every time I listen to it, I get something completely different out of it. It’s an album I can put on and not skip. I listen to a lot of music in the background when I’m working and don’t always have the wherewithal to stop and check what the artist or track is, but generally after the 3rd or 4th time I’m hearing something it usually means I like it, and I had that with this album.
thoughtcrimes – Altered Pasts
Like Black Matter Device, not really doing anything that hasn’t been done before in the genre and perhaps leaning a bit on their pedigree, but I really kept returning to this one.