Getting straight to the point, 2022 has been one of the most eventful and impressive years that alternative music has seen in quite a long time. The world has seen triumphant and long awaited returns from some of the most loved rock and metal acts in history. My Chemical Romance released their first new song in what feels like forever, Rage Against The Machine returned to the live stage along side their generationally talented vocalist, Zack De La Rocha, and of course, Pantera reuniting to start playing shows in memory of late guitarist, Dimebag Darrell, and drummer, Vinnie Paul.
More exciting than live acts returning to the stage, the EP’s and LP’s of 2022. Plenty of records on this list are going to be brand new faces, who have made quite a name for themselves over the past few months. When we look at the standouts of music this year, without a shadow of a doubt, hardcore has to be the standout genre this year. Their is so much creativity and originality coming out of all hardcore scenes across the country. So, buckle up for a lot of hardcore on this list.
- Anxious, ‘Little Green House’
Little Green House absolutely has to take the top spot on the top 25 of 2022. This is a must listen, it fuses three of the best things in alternative music, hardcore, pop-punk, and emo. It’s 32 minutes of diveristy and intrigue, energy and lethargy, and emotion. In all honesty, there are not too many albums that have left me speechless before and though it came out at the beginning of the year, words are still hard to describe what this album is and how it makes me feel.
2. No Pressure, ‘No Pressure’
Alright, now this was an easy second choice. If you wanna take a trip back to the early 2000’s pop-punk scene, this is your chance. Having the chance to see them live a few months back further exceeded my expectations of this band. The crowd went insane, small room with no barricade, crowdsurfers, stagedivers, and two-steppers galore. This is a pop-punk record that will have you cheesing from ear to ear for all 23 minutes of the 10 songs.
3. Bad Omens, ‘THE DEATH OF PEACE OF MIND’
Initially, when this record came out, I sort of just assumed it was going to be my album of the year. The singles leading up to the eventual release were really getting everyone pumped up. As Bad Omens was gaining some steam in the scene, they dropped the bomb on the world with this fantastic and nuanced piece of alternative and industrial sounding metalcore. The beautiful haunting vocals that are paired with
4. Drug Church, ‘Hygiene’
Hygiene is the fourth epic from the New York seemingly stoic hardcore outfit, Drug Church. Vocalist, Pat Kindlon changed nothing about what makes them who they are. Simple chord progressions that pair perfectly with the pithy one-liners and hooks that stick in the mind for days. Drug Church is a staple of modern hardcore, they bring something different to the table that every other band should be looking at.
5. Soul Blind, ‘Feel It All Around’
Soul Blind was a band that seemed to fly under my radar in recent years. They’re one of the newer and younger bands associated with the hardcore scene and I guess I just never gave myself the chance to listen. That is until this record came out, it’s perfect fusion of grunge, hardcore, and shoegaze is something I have not experienced before. I believe everyone ought to experience the pieces they crafted for this release, you will not regret it.
6. AVOID, ‘Cult Mentality’
Cult Mentality was one of my most anticipated releases for the year. AVOID really stormed the metalcore scene this year, the guys are still fairly green, but they do not show it. Their recorded music and live performances are energy packed and infectious. The best descriptor of AVOID is “the bros”, they just give off the vibe in the best way possible. They’re at the top of my list for bands I want to hangout with.
7. Speed, ‘Gang Called Speed’
Thus marks the first EP on our list. Gang Called Speed by the Aussie pit starters is brutal and a hardcore fans dream. Flatspot Records crushed this release and helped get these guys a spot on all of our maps. Their insane set at Sound and Fury fest this year helped as well, but it’s songs like, ‘Big Bite’ that just stick. Forget coffee, cold showers, or working out. Listen to this EP in the morning to wake you up and prepare your body for the day. It’ll certainly do the trick.
8. Dayseeker, ‘Dark Sun’
Dayseeker is another band that has been crawling their way, rung by rung, up to the higher tiers of metalcore adjacent music. They have been in the game for a little bit now and are seeming to hit their stride. This record is one of their biggest helps with that step. Similar to most of their work, the instruments are solid, doing their jobs, but the star is vocals, it has been and most likely always will be. Rory Rodriguez has an intoxicating tonality that all singer should strive for.
9. Denzel Curry, ‘Melt My Eyez See Your Future’
Yet again, Denzel Curry releases a masterclass in rap and hip-hop. For the few year that Denzel has be knocking around my playlists, he has never ceased to impress. His roots and influences can be heard in every track. He has undeniable flow and does not shy away from speaking the truth and being vulnerable with his songs. In a world where a lot of popular music sucks, its nice to know there are some serious diamonds in the rough. Denzel Curry is going to be a generational talent when it is all said and done.
10. Kublai Khan TX, ‘Lowest Form of Animal’
Now we’re back in hardcore territory with the latest from Kublai Khan TX. Another band with no misses yet on any of their releases. This EP hits on some really challenging things to listen to. The title itself is sort of a way to describe and individual that is in the lowest of lows in their life but is still hungry and will claw and scratch to get from where they are. Just listen to ‘Swan Song’ that features Scott Vogel of Terror. It does not get much harder than what that song is describing.
11. Mindforce, ‘New Lords’
The crossover kings of the Hudson Valley dropped one of the most exciting albums this year from Triple B Records. Mindforce has been a personal favorite of mine for virtually the whole year, their first full-length, ‘Excalibur’ was nothing short of fantastic. They kept on course with ‘New Lords’. New York hardcore with riffs and solos that make thrash metal heads turn their ears is just what we all need. A modern take that brings us back a few decades. I told my parents this kind of music was educational.
12. Malevolence, ‘Malicious Intent’
Dude, this record is so metal. With this release, Malevolence moved themselves to the upper eschelon of British metal. You know you are doing something good when you release a couple singles and Lamb Of God comes asking for you to open their shows overseas. The riffs, the breakdowns, the vocalist sounds like he’s chewing on meat, and all those things combined mesmerizes us metalheads. If there was ever a concert to go to that makes you want to have your nose broken, it has to be Malevolence.
13. Doubt It!, ‘Demon Dance’
Had to toss this one on the list. Detroit’s own put out this amazing piece. The melodies are so infectious and groovy, about as groovy as hardcore can be. I was really impressed with this record, you can hear the creativity and underground scene in all of the songs. Doubt It! is one of the Detroit DIY scene leaders in my eyes. Demon Dance just helps show their case for being one of the leaders as well.
14. XweaponX, ‘Weapon X Demo’
Y’all, straight edge is so dope. Weapon X just goes to show that on their first demo. The side project of Bryan Garris and Isaac Hale of Knocked Loose also features, Trey Garris of DARE on drums and Dave Baugher as the vocalist. This demo is brutal and in your face with the message and ideaologies of straight edge. If you want a modern learning session on straight edge, do not hesitate to check this one out.
15. Ghost, ‘Impera’
No shocker here, Ghost is one of the most unique bands in the rock and metal world. It’s one of the coolest experiences to listen to, it’s heavy while also being like cartoony in a way. It’s like Scooby-doo villain music, this record is through and through just full of heaters. Ghost has a lot of haters out there but it does not compare to the Ghost faithful. Impera is an album that everyone can enjoy listhening to, it would be a great gateway into harder rock and metal.
16. Inclination, ‘Unaltered Perspective’
Another Isaac Hale project makes the list and yes it is a straight edge record as well. A bit different than the previous on the list, Inclination absolutely hit the mark with this one. Unaltered Perspective is just a heavy piece that I believe full well could take inclination to new heights if that is something that the band wants to happen. If you are into heavier music, not even just hardcore, spin this one a time or two. You will not be dissapointed.
17. Gel, ‘Shock Therapy’
Gel is another band that flew under my radar for awhile as they are just really new. I stumbled upon this record fairly soon after it released and thank goodness that I did. Gel in five years time will be doing some seriously amazing things. You just get a feeling with some bands and I have that feeling with Gel, the tone of this record makes you want to move. The instruments hit hard and the effects on the vocals make it feel just different.
18. Vein.fm, ‘This World Is Going To Ruin You’
Without a doubt, this is the heaviest record on the list. I would be willing to say it is a little too challenging to get into for those metal and hardcore listeners that don’t absolutely love the chaotic and almost power violent style of music. It came out fairly early in the year and has had enough time to sit with me that I definitely liked it more and more with each listen. I would say spin this one with an open mind and if you don’t like it, try some other records similar to it.
19. D Bloc, ‘Do Not Cross’
Another Detroit hardcore band deserves a spot on the list, D Bloc crushed it with this EP. I mean, just look at the album cover, it looks so old school and that’s the sound they went with. Just seeing them perform earlier this year was enough for me to give them the nod for the list, but the music more than helps them solidify their spot here. It’s hardcore with some gangster rap elements straight out of the 90’s.
20. Counterparts, ‘A Eulogy for Those Still Here’
Make no mistakes people, Counterparts is one of the coolest metalcore bands in the world. They get a lot of criticism for a good amount of their music sounding the same, but when you release music as good as you do, that should not be a problem to anyone. Brendan Murphy has a booming and very distinct scream and his lyrical writing ability is nothing to take lightly either.
21. Orthodox, ‘Learning to Dissolve’
So, you like beatdown hardcore eh? Well, have I got a record for you to listen to, the Nashville natives put out an album that strapped a rocket to their back that without a doubt will be taking off next year. To all venues and promoters in the USA, book these guys, you may end up with a few things broken or in need of repair, but I promise you guys it will be worth it. Orthodox crushes and will continue to crush until someone stops them.
22. L.S. Dunes, ‘Past Lives’
Personally, super-group bands are not my favorite thing in the world because more often than not, they end up sucking. L.S. Dunes does not suck in the slightest, with members from Circa Survive, Coheed and Cambria, Thursday, and My Chemical Romance, they created a really well done hard rock/emo album. Anthony Green’s signature vocals really help move things forward and the excellent musicianship keeps it steady.
23. Terror, ‘Pain Into Power’
It’s Terror people, need I say more? No? Didn’t think so.
24. Varials, ‘Scars For You To Remember’
Varials entered a new era in their career, they are no longer new to the heavy music world and it shows with this album. New vocalist and new sound as a band can be quite intimidating and can make or break a band. With how it is looking for Varials, this album is helping make them. They transitioned to more of a metalcore sound that I am hoping helps bring the genre itself out of somewhat of a slump I believe it has been in this year.
25. Stick To Your Guns, ‘Spectre’
Alright, we made it to the end of the top 25 records of 2022. Spectre was another highly anticipated album for myself as I am a huge STYG fan. Though Spectre is not my favorite work from the OCHC 20 year veterans, I believe fully that it still deserves a spot on the list. There are some serious heaters on this record that need to be heard. Even if it is not their best work, Spectre goes to show that even after 20 years, some bands can still put out great and I mean great music.
2022 was an amazing year for music and we all should be eager to see what comes of 2023…