(One of the perennial highlights of our year-end LISTMANIA series are the articles Neill Jameson has contributed, and we’re very happy that he’s done so again this year. This one is the fourth of a five-part installment of Neill‘s lists for 2022. As you’ll see, it goes in lots of different directions)
As I’ve been writing these I’ve kept an open doc with the list from this year that I just continue to add to. My therapist might tell me that this kind of behavior is me subconsciously punishing myself for years of shitting on people with huge year-end lists but I’d just steer the conversation back to when the neighbor molested me when I was a child.
This is a bit of a longer list.
Buk “Den Otteogtredive Tommers Forbandelse” Crypt of the Wizard
The first official Korspand appearance in this year’s list, Buk are both bizarre and fucking malicious. Playing a mixture of Ildjarn-esque stomping black/punk mixed with soaring guitar solos and weird synth, bringing to mind Suicide in places. This is a challenging and mean-spirited listen, hopefully a sign of more to come.
Lucifericon “The Warlock of Da’ath” Invictus Productions
Savage Dutch death metal from veterans of the old school. None of this “OSDM” horseshit, this is firmly rooted in the ancient ways, probably because everyone in the band is old enough to have been around the first time. Riff heavy without being too busy or noodle-y, this was the best death metal record I heard this year.
Weathered Crest “Dust Vessel” Fallow Field
One of many J. Meindlhumer related projects to appear this year, Dust Vessel sounds like early Root mixed with stomping post-punk. Meindlhumer has emerged as one of the most consistently interesting and creative musicians in the world black metal stage the last few years, with Weathered Crest and (especially) Brånd at the forefront.
Eschatology “S/T” Shadow Records
Old school Swedish black metal assault akin to Triumphator, Craft, Svartsyn, (early) Funeral Mist, etc… the good shit, basically. This Swedish/Polish collaboration has obviously been done with great care and passion with little concern for anything that happened after 2000.
Blood Knights of the Imperial Twilight “S/T” Death Hymns
It’s difficult, especially the last ten years, to find a project heavily inspired by LLN to have any real quality of its own. It’s almost felt like any group of assholes who got together and all played separate songs at the same time would get accolades as long as they created some kind of “cool” symbol for their band. Blood Knights are the rare exception to the rule.
Coming on the heels of two (very noisy) demos last year, their self titled debut full length has a clearer production but just as much malice as their demos. Going deep into LLN territory, with “Forest Poetry” and maybe some early Abruptum. Quite uneasy listening.
Fanebærer “I Fælles Fald” Nattetale
Two songs is all we get from Fanebærer this year, both with lengthy acoustic intros which burn into triumphant black metal, the same direction their Den Første Ild took. Hopefully we’ll see another full length next year but until then this is a great recording as I’ve come to expect from them.
Häxenzijrkell “Urgrund” Amor Fati Records
Initially introduced to this band through their excellent split with Brånd, Urgrund continues Häxenzijrkell’s tar-black crusade of oppressive black metal. Heavy moments of slow paced misery abound, with a constant feeling of suffocation, this is definitely one of the highlights of recent German black metal.
Valac/Crucifixion Bell “Corrupted Spells of Perpetual Suffering” GoatowarRex
There really isn’t very much to write about a split by two of USBM’s most accomplished projects so I won’t waste too many words on it. Both projects continue their ascent with lethal precision and, if for whatever reason, you’re unfamiliar with either, this is an excellent place to become acquainted with them. Mandatory.
Wolfswut “Highest Honor” Atrocity Altar
The Astral Serpent has recorded a record that sounds straight out of the Pembrokeshire Black Circle’s playbook. Harsh and cavernous black metal with tortured vocals, quite different to his other projects, this was an early highlight of the year that’s stayed in my listening rotation since its release.
Μνήμα “Disciples of Excremental Liturgies” His Wounds Records
Scathing and caustic black metal is the order of the day here, with Μνήμα feeling like a noisier Judas Iscariot with the project’s first full length record after a series of (excellent) demos and splits. Harsh, like wrapping your head in rusty barbed wire then falling down the stairs. If nasty black metal is your thing then this record should have been in your rotation most of the year.
Lungtoucher “The Ninth Incantation” Deathprayer Records
Aside from sporting a very fucking impressive list of guest contributors, Lungtoucher really expands upon his already excellent body of work. Existing in the strange border between old second wave black metal and the early flirtation of the genre with post-punk, “The Ninth Incantation” is a deep and dark affair.
Lotus Thrones “Solaris” Self-released
Lotus Thrones released a batch of EPs within the last year or so that have all been based around the seasons but Solaris was my standout favorite of them. Droning jazz-noir soundscapes, this wasn’t the sound that we’ve come to expect from the project which I guess was the point. This record reflects the dense heat of a summer night in a hellish cityscape, completing the seasonal cycle and setting Lotus Thrones anew towards 2023’s next full length.
And so we’ve come to the end of a long one. I wanted to get as much into this one as I could, to rule out a sixth entry since nobody needs that much of my bullshit. Like one commenter said, it’s an apt title and I don’t want to wear out my warm welcome. Next will be my favorite recordings of the year and an end to our shared experience of joy and fun.
Weathered Crest sounds great. Been a while since I followed Fallow Field.
This list is fire !
That “L” block is like a goddam ghost pepper to the auditory meatus, son !