2022 in review: Music by They

I got a lot of great music into my head in 2022! Here’s my TIDAL playlist if you are into that.

Look at what I liked and why:

Arkaik – Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts – Easily my most anticipated release of the year. It did not disappoint. They know how to put together a satisfying labrynthine song. I tend to eschew the sparkly vibe they bring to some of this, but it just friggin works. On an album where evey song is a standout, maybe “Broken Glass Apotheum” is a standout. The payoff at 3:35 is worth the full price.

Shed the Skin – Thaumogenesis. Ohio straight-ahead Death Metal for when you need that sort of thing. This album has a few more moments of urgency than their other mid-paced groove-oriented material. So the variety makes this one of their better albums.

Soreption – Jord. Soreption sound kinda like if Meshuggah was a party band. Guest guitar solos by members of Archspire, Psycroptic, and others. I saw them on the day this album came out. The live show was one of my peak listening experience of the year. If more people could watch Tony Westermark joyfully busting out these deceptively deep grooves, the world would have no more problems.

Phase IV – Local Austin progressive metal band starring the unstoppable Mohadev. Death vocals but with grooves and textures that have very little to do with standard metal, this is a distinctive band that has plenty of it’s own kind of addictive hooks.

Fontanelles – Local Austin pop band with Leila Henley, Michelle Born, and Adrienne Pedrotti Bingamon on co-lead vocals. Amazing 3-part harmonies, clever instrumental arrangements and lyrics that straddle the line between affectionate and demented. Future Danger is a standout, but this album (and the earlier one) is all solid.

The Invincible Czars – Nosferatu Soundtrack. Full of deliciously creepy character themes, this 2022 release coincided with the Czars’ pandemic-delayed tour which they finally did last fall, a true triumph of creativity, crowd-pleasing melodicism, and tour booking mightiness.

Psycroptic – Divine Council – Poor Psycropitc. There’s no denying that this is among the best recorded performances of any technical death metal band ever. There is also no denying that it’s less good than their previous album As the Kingdom Drowns (and 2012’s the Inherited Repression as well. IMHO). Victims of their own greatness I guess. Seriously though, some really wonderful riffs and songs and grooves in this, and a couple clever fresh ideas to boot. But there’s overall too much vocal, not enough bass, and what about more guitar solos like the one they had on the previous album? Eh. It might not be the Psycroptic album we most wanted, but it’s still better than any of us deserves.

Lazer Fire – Looks like they released 7 or so great tracks released this year. This band will tell you their name in the form of rock. They will ask you questions the answer to which is “rock”. If there is rock to be rocked, they will rock it, and when they’re done and there’s no more rock, they’ll rock the nothing that’s left. You can’t not not be rocked by Lazer Fire. Sorry.

Megafauna – Capsize. A couple of the live shows I saw this year represented the band apparently in its creative heyday. This tune is on their upcoming album, but teased for us in 2022, so we’ll take what we can get!

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