Steve's Top Albums, EPs, and Singles of 2022
And so, it has come. Like every rotation of the Earth, like every three-hundred and sixty-five days, the old year ends and the new one begins. As is custom across many, many media sites, we have our own version of an End of the Year list. Looking back to the previous year allows me to rediscover music that I absolutely adored and talk about it yet again. It’s also a nice warm-up article to prep me for the new year after a nice, long, and celebratory winter break.
This is a list that contains every release I've personally reviewed (or wanted to and didn't have the time) throughout 2022 that received an 8 or higher. Some singles may be excluded from this list, as the albums they released on are included on the list. Nonetheless, here's are my favorite releases of 2022. CHECK IT OUT.
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15. GASOLINE INVERTEBRATE – CRACKED WAX BATTERY – 8
The guzzolene fueled madness perpetrated by Gasoline Inverterbrate continued in 2022 thanks to “Cracked Wax Battery”. Diving into industrial dance music powered by equal parts dark electro and aggrotech, the genius of Brian Graupner never fails to entertain. There’s room for all things dark and electronic on the album, including dark techno and more. It’s a blast and one that I’ve revisited multiple times throughout the year.
14. PSY’AVIAH – BITTERSWEET (BONUS VERSION) – 8
Psy’Aviah took his twenty year anniversary more serious than most. Rather than just doing a thank you post on social media or having a mediocre celebration by himself, he went above and beyond by releasing “Bittersweet”. In normal Psy’Aviah style, he invited a ton of collaborators to sing on his album (Mari Kattman, Addie Nicole for example). He also invited many to do covers of his original songs such as Madil Hardis and Leaether Strip. The album is, as the title says, bittersweet.
13. TINEIDAE – MOTHERSHIP – 8
Tineidae is a master of his craft. Utilizing elements of space, he creates sinister dark ambient and experimental pieces that transcend music and create a world and story on its own. To be reminded of horror phenomenon such as Dead Space and Alien whilst listening to his work is incredible in its own right. Each of his pieces has a way of crawling into my skin and never coming out till the last synth dies down.
12. THIS ETERNAL DECAY – NOCTURNÆ - 8
I find myself frequenting darkwave music less and less in the modern day. Perhaps it is because there are so many producers within the darkwave scene that copycat tactics and similar sounding songs are abound. It’s rare when I find something indicative of the darkwave genre that’s truly special – and that’s how I feel about This Eternal Decay’s latest album “NOCTURNÆ”. While not revolutionary for the genre, it avoids the current trope of using shitty production values and covering it up with the excuse of “It’s the aEsThEtIc Of ThE gEnRe.” No, it’s not. It’s the aesthetic of you and you alone. As This Eternal Decay proves.
11. TESTUBE – BACKWATER – 8
If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again. Testube is an experimental electro-industrial project that often goes into hiatus only to come back out of nowhere and put out a banger of an album. This was exactly the case with his album “Backwater”. However interesting the back story behind the album may be (check that out in the original review), fact is that Testube was able to come back so well. This definitely won’t be an album for everyone, but its for me, and that’s why it’s on this list.
10. SIMON CARTER & FABSI – THE BITCHES POTION – 8
Simon Carter and Fabsi teamed up together to unleash a hellish and witchy industrial techno onslaught with “The Bitches Potion”. A massive eighteen track double album, The Bitches Potion sees the duo release eleven tracks of powerful beats paired with a heavenly remix section containing the likes of Teknovore, Moaan Exis, Matt Hart, Ruinizer, and more. Easily one of their best works to date.
09. TURBO KNIGHT & EDICTUM – ATHENA – 8
Venturing forth into danceable synthwave territory comes Turbo Knight and Edictum with their seminal collaborative album “Athena”. Taking equal parts of Greek mythology and the nostalgia riddled, warm beats of synthwave, these two electronic geniuses formed “Athena”. It’s a concept that sounds stupid, especially when mixing in science-fiction, but it’s one that works in the long run. Looking at the cover art inspires thoughts of old comic books where anything was possible, and the music crafts a story on its own.
08. TEKNOVORE – THE THESEUS PARADOX – 8.5
After leaving behind his previous band, George Klontzas struck out on his own. Looking forward to the future and focusing on industrial techno, Teknovore was crafted. Strict BPM and heavy bass elements are all the rage with Teknovore, and his debut album “The Theseus Paradox” proved that he deserves to be up there with legends within the scene. It’s a grandiose display of hard hitting dance beats that’s fast, fluent, and fun.
07. METATRON OMEGA – ISIH – 8.5
A lot of fictional seek to describe the end of the world, or perhaps a post-apocalyptic cult, where there’s nothing but you and the void, and whatever’s beyond lies a mystery. Taking a step is the only way to truly discover it, but the moments between are the most intense of your life. Like stepping in the midst of a mass dedicated to something unknown. This is what it feels like to listen to Metatron Omega’s “ISIH”. When I first heard this album, I couldn’t put it down. It’s downright addicting, and served as the soundtrack to many early morning walks with my dog.
06. AUTHOR & PUNISHER – KRÜLLER – 8.5
You know that face you make when something is just furiously good but it makes you put on an angry face? It’s like a big fat compliment in the metal scene and it carries over into every other genre. Nonetheless, that was the exact face I made when I first listened to “KRÜLLER”. Equal parts ambient sountrack filled with emotion and dread and drone metal, this is Author & Punisher at his PEAK. At least so far. This is the album that made me a fan of him and I hold it close to my heart.
05. DRAVEN – ABYSSAL ARCANA – 9
Deamien Raven, a presumable pseudo name for the producer behind another pseudo name of Draven, absolutely knocked it out of the park with ‘Abyssal Arcana’. Channeling a mighty set of synths to bring home one of the best horror synth albums I’ve ever heard in my life. Unlike other producers within the dark synth field attempting to do the same, Draven doesn’t just create a love letter to horror. Rather, he writes his own at a frenetic pace that would serve well as the soundtrack to just about any chase scene in a slasher. It’s why I gave it such a high score, and a reason as to why I revisit it nonstop.
04. RABBIT JUNK – APOCALYPSE FOR BEGINNERS – 9
This is an album that I haven’t officially reviewed on the site, but it is an album that I’ve been listening to non-stop since it came out in October. It has dominated my playlist during dog walks, during intense sessions at the gym, and even when I’m at work. Nonetheless, this is the rating I would give it, and the rating that shall give it placement this high on the list. From the opening moments of the industrial, beat laden moments of ‘Heavy’ to the fun, summertime vibes of ‘Rabbit Out of Hiding’, there’s not a moment of filler on this album. Pair in an awesome collaboration with Amelia Arsenic and you’ve got a grand album. Highly recommended, and probably one of Rabbit Junk’s most diverse albums to date.
03. CANNONS – FEVER DREAM – 9
Yet another album that I didn’t get a chance to review on the site, but one that has equally dominated my playlist since I discovered it midway through the year. This album has chill vibes written all over it with many placing the synthwave tag on everything that they’ve released. But they’re so much more than that; an independent pop spirit at heart with dreamy vibes in each and every single song. My favorite song on the album is ‘Ruthless’, with someone commenting on YouTube, “That’s the sweetest way anyone has every told me ‘Fuck you,’ in my life.” Which is both humorous but true. If you haven’t been introduced to Cannons, now’s the time to listen to them.
02. HOLON – THE EVOLUTION OF COMPLEXITY – 9
Getting close to the top of the iceberg. Sure is chilly up here. But HOLON has enough warm beats to keep us satiated and happy. Though there was more than just this album that released in 2022, “The Evolution of Complexity” is the album that I paid the most attention to. The warm beats and sci-fi theme has had me revisit this album multiple times. Not to mention that HOLON is just a master in his element easily working his audience in whichever direction he chooses. Easily one of my favorites from 2022.
01. CARPENTER BRUT - LEATHER TERROR – 9
But how else can a list like this be topped off by none other than Carpenter Brut? Honestly, from person to person, a lot of different ways. But, for me Carpenter Brut takes the cake for 2022. There’s no filler on this album and the collaborations on “Leather Terror” are nothing short of phenomenal. Gunship, Greg Puciato, Ulver, Persha, Sylvaine, Johannes Andersson. What else do I need to say? Even the original singles are addictive; just check out ‘Day Stalker’ and ‘Night Prowler’, a duet that go hand-in-hand.
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07. THE KILLING MOON – STRANGE DESOLATION – 8
The Killing Moon did not receive enough recognition for their album “Strange Desolation” when it released in early January. It’s something that somewhat bothers me, but it’s also the game that all musicians need to play in the modern age. Some things, some hidden gems just go unnoticed. This is a darkwave gem that I hope gains notoriety sooner rather than later as I really, really enjoy what is on “Strange Desolation”. And you might, too.
06. KEVORKIAN DEATH CYCLE – INJECTION 01 – 8
Kevorkian Death Cycle’s early discography has never been my true cup of tea…Then again I don’t even like tea, so that’s not saying much. I first discovered KDC through their modern releases such as “God Am I” and infinitely fell in love with the project. It wasn’t until after that I tried out their older discography and, as explained in the initial review, thought it wasn’t that great. But, lo and behold, come “Injection:01”. A project that seeks to remix and remaster their earlier works – and one that turned me from a doubter to a lover. As this new, revitalized work is phenomenal and wondrous.
05. SINE – MANTIS 2 – 8
The second part in a trilogy of EPs, “Mantis 2” shows me what Rona Rougeheart is capable of. With an already extraordinary discography in place, under SINE Rone further cements her legacy as one of the top underground electronic musicians in the field. Cyberpunk theologies meet wicked beats that can easily entertain the masses, while delivering impactful messages should you decide to take a deeper dive. A thrilling ride from start to finish.
04. MISS FD – AS ABOVE SO BELOW – 8
Back-to-back, year after year, Miss FD has done it again: landed in my end of the year list. But it’s to be expected at this point; whatever Miss FD sets out to do she does so with a trained ear and a major commitment. This year saw the release of her three-track EP “As Above, So Below” which contains middle eastern influences and bouncy, danceable rhythms.
03. SODIAC – VENDETTA- 8
A true standout in the synthwave field for 2022. Where I find myself having higher and higher standards for synthwave and associated music due to the sheer amount of bedroom producers erupting within the scene, SODIAC stands out. An independent producer that shot me out of nowhere, “VENDETTA” is crisp and clean and moving. Not to mention that the cover art that goes along with “VENDETTA” is striking, neat, and is enough to tell its own story. I gave it two thumbs up in October, and if I had a third, it would get three.
02. XEROX BIOPUNK – SEX, DEATH, AND PUPPETS – 8
Noisey cyberpunk act XEROX BIOPUNK outdid himself with ‘Sex, Death, and Puppets’. Both an eerie tribute to some of the genre’s most notorious films while maintaining a hardened dance edge, flowing through the album is like hearing a soundtrack. Of the five tracks in question, only two of those are real songs, with the other three being odd bits of cinematic noise and distress calls. It’s all rather chaotic and some might have a problem with it, but I’ve grown to love it more and more.
01. SIERRA – SEE ME NOW – 9.5
Finally, I get to discuss what is my favorite EP of the year, and also my favorite release in general of 2022. Sierra’s cinematic approach to darksynth, synthwave, and industrial techno finally found a near perfect ebb and flow on “See Me Now”. A fractured cyberpunk fairytale; a gorgeous dive into a darkened cybernetic abyss. It’s both gorgeous but haunting and I live for this kind of music. It’s no wonder she got signed to Universal Music and has released a single for the video game franchise Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodhunt.
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08. THE FAIR ATTEMPTS – DARK STAR - 8
Described as a “futuristic, encompassing darkwave dancefloor killer” is pretty accurate for ‘Dark Star’. When I first reviewed this single, I was expecting more of the same from The Fair Attempts; industrial rock mixed with synthpop for dancefloor fun. Instead, what I got was a darkly romantic ballad that filled me with plenty of warm emotions. Something different from the norm and completely unexepected – but so welcome.
07. LUSCIOUS APPARATUS – BRICKS & BONES – 8
This one threw me for a loop. Luscious Apparatus is a band that I knew little to nothing about when they first approached me regarding their single ‘Bricks & Bones’. But isn’t that just the best way to discover a band? When I listened to Bricks & Bones for the first time, I listened to it out of curiosity, then out of bewilderment, then excitement, then addiction. It’s a brilliant song peppered with alternative rock, goth, maybe even a little shoegaze, but it’s overall a lovely, lovely work. And I can’t wait to hear more.
06. NIGHTCRAWLER – PARTNERS IN PAIN – 8.5
I think that if Pinhead ever created a darksynth band, their debut single would be something similar to this. ‘Partners in Pain’ is an excellent craft from Nightcrawler who has been slowly inching his way into EBSM and darksynth now more than ever. ‘Partners in Pain’ was one of the earliest signs of this strategy, and it paid off well.
05. NATURE OF WIRES – DANCE WITH ME – 8.5
Nature of Wires and Machina X have had several collaborations prior to this single, but nothing that they’ve releases prior to or after beats it. A fun synthpop song elevated by middle eastern elements based on past experiences of Machina X, it’s a gorgeous piece. Machina X’s vocals paired with Nature of Wires synth mastery is exemplary and something to be admired.
04. ESOTERIK – PHOSPHOROUS – 8.5
Though I never got the chance to listen to Esoterik’s full-length album that came out soon after the release of this single, that doesn’t stop ‘Phosphorous’ from being a stellar piece. This pagan-synth duo created a “making of a synthpop song with sweeping drum pads and atmospheric backing synths” whilst “Exkfeldt’s howling vocals called into mind Ann Wilson of Heart”. It’s a truly mesmerizing experience and, once I learnt the lyrics, I, too, shall be howling while the song plays.
03. RABBIT JUNK – PATHOGENESIS – 8.5
I was going to write something new here, but I’d rather just copy and paste what I wrote in the original review as that’s so much better. Here goes, “Metal riffs in a lo-fi presentation serve as a ten-second intro before a brief pause takes place. We’re then thrust into the full array of Rabbit Junk’s presence. A growl grinds the music to a brief slowdown before we’re thrust into a speedy, black metal inspired section where J.P. Anderson continues to howl. Industrial metal meets dance music in an epic fusion. Various pauses throughout the track keep it fresh and engaging, throwing in further electronic samples and wizardry. Alongside the growls come clean vocals which are mixed perfectly within the song. Around the three-minute mark, Rabbit Junk allows the song to clean up to make way for a synth-based ambiance / breakdown segment. This rids the song of any heavy guitars and instead allows the brilliant synths to do their job. Rabbit Junk then sends us off with one final, rapid industrial metal blast before the song ends.” There. Go listen to it.
02. CORVAD and GHOST DANCE – BREAKDOWN – 8.5
Joining the feverish darksynth / EBSM sensation that rolled through 2022 came Corvad and Ghost Dance. Both seasoned producers from Russia and France alike, they came together and crafted ‘Breakdown’ in collaboration. The result is a heavily infectious, industrial techno track serving up a hard slice of dancefloor rhythms.
01. LAZERPUNK – HEAVY WEAPON (FEAT. ALEXIS MINCOLLA) – 9
This is probably my favorite single of 2022. While this did release on a full-length Lazerpunk album I haven’t had the chance to listen to that fully. So, here I am, discussing the song I did get a chance to listen to…Several times. This banger of a cyberpunk single sounds like the music that would play in a cyborg’s weapon dispensary as he’s taking inventory, or showcasing his stock to potential customers. But, just like Adam Smasher, this isn’t a cyborg you want to take with ease. Be wary. Very wary.
Jan 02 2023
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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