AOTY 2022: From the Guests

(Photo credit: Angie Aristodemo)

I put a lot of importance on end-of-the-year lists. They provide an opportunity to look back on the last 12 months in such an interesting way. Music is capable of capturing a moment so strongly, be it through common themes from a certain time period, or through memories from the time the listener discovered it. Thus, for me, my own AOTY list isn’t enough.

Welcome to the second edition of AOTY: From the Guests! As a nod to those I’ve interviewed this year, I asked them to tell me about their favorites from 2022. From Armor For Sleep, to World I Hate, and beyond - here’s what they chose.

1. Terry Orlando, Age of Apocalypse

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

Top three favorites of 2022, in no specific order:

Mourning - Disenlightenment

This some different shit, evil melodic black metal parts, all out war style dance parts, at the gates vox. Streets of Hate don’t miss.

Fools Game - Trials of Life

This one is just straight-up perfect hardcore. Periodt. Checks all the boxes for me.

Rome Streetz - Kiss the Ring 

You know what it is, Griselda, Westside Gunn. This is some heavy, old school, and very nostalgic NYC hip hop. Can’t get enough. 

Honorable mentions:

Mindforce - New Lords 

Volcano - Fool 2 Tha Game 

Terror - Pain into Power 

Stand Still - In a Moment’s Notice

2. Ben Jorgensen, Armor For Sleep

(Photo credit: Courtney Kiara)

I really liked Dayseeker’s Dark Sun. I find it very cool that this band took a chance and made an album less heavy than their previous offerings, something I can imagine bands might be weary of doing coming from a heavier music scene.  It feels like it has purpose throughout, and Rory knows how to grab you by the throat with his lyrics and vocals. I’m a new fan, but this band seems like they are carrying the torch forward for all of us.

3. Gage Lanza, Excide

(Photo credit: Ashley Simpson)

3 albums, 3 different places

Alex G - God Save the Animals

This was a nice reprieve from all the harsh music I was knee-deep in this year. This is also the record that made me realize I’m an Alex G enjoyer. Go figure.

Life’s Question - World Full Of…

Riffs by and for the Beer Army.

Warthog - S/T

Got to see this band and be thrown into a throng of drunken moshers at my job, while working. Hell yeah.

Honorable Mention: Bad Bunny - Un Verano Sin Ti

4. Michael Rasmussen, Instill

(Photo credit: Angie Aristodemo)

Okay, I can’t narrow it down to one, but some albums that got a lot of play time this year were: 

Omnium Gatherum - King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

I Walked With You a Ways - Waxahatchee

Little Green House - Anxious

People Like You - End on End

5. JJ Kaiser, Reality Check

(Photo credit: Chance Harrolle)

I honestly only have 2 top records from this year -

Pool Kids - Pool Kids

One of those records that flows so well that at times you can’t tell when one song ends and the next one starts. A very well rounded, dynamic and cohesive record that’s been 4 years in the making for this band. It was super worth the wait. 

Arm’s Length - Never Before Seen, Never Again Found

Quite possibly a new staple record that pop punk/emo adjacent bands will be ripping off for the rest of the 2020’s. Great melodies, great lyrics, and all-around great songs. This band is going to take over the world, and they deserve all of it. 

6. Peter Pawlak, Spy

(Photo credit: Spencer Chamberlain)

Crisis Man - Asleep in America

7. Gerry Windus, Stand Still

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

2022 brought a ton of great records, a lot of which were in the works for a long time before this year, and thus highly anticipated.  There are way too many amazing records from this year to mention, but our unanimous top 3 favorite albums that came out in 2022 were Feel It All Around by Soul Blind, Grim Wisdom by Age of Apocalypse, and World Full Of... by Life's Question.  All three of these records are a completely different style of music,but all have the commonality of hardcore-based roots. 


Life’s Question - World Full Of…

When Life's Question dropped this album, it was on repeat for all 5 of us.  From bouncy, hard-hitting breakdowns to catchy guitar solos, this record leaves nothing to be desired.  The guitar leads and solos are the centerpiece of the sound Life's Question crafted on their debut LP. The drum parts and fills solidify the album to a level of musical greatness.  This album is extremely versatile and offers a lot for anyone listening, while also being deeply rooted in hardcore.  The songs range from furiously fast segments to heavy breakdowns to slow melodic backup vocal parts that leave you wondering when Life's Question will grace us with another full length album and how they will beat out "World Full of...".


Age Of Apocalypse - Grim Wisdom

Our first tour as a band was with Pain of Truth and Age of Apocalypse. If we learned anything about AOA from that tour, it's that they're one of the best live bands out there, if not the best.  Knowing how flawless their live performance is, it would appear difficult for AOA to write and record an album that exceeds the killer live performance they give, but they over-delivered with Grim Wisdom.  Incorporating their clear metal influences with tracks that are hardcore songs at heart, they wrote one of the best overall albums of 2022 in any “category.” AOA carries themselves as one of the most unique vocal bands in hardcore, with no band coming close to their style and delivery.  The only thing that could potentially beat out listening to these studio recordings might be going to see them play these massive songs at a show.


Soul Blind - Feel It All Around

With a new wave of grunge on the rise, the torchbearers of the category are very clearly Soul Blind.  One of the only current bands to be able to seamlessly pull off being simultaneously heavy as fuck and melodically catchy at the same time.  One of the best things about this record is that it doesn't fall into the trap of sounding like every other grungy record that's ever come out.  It has its own sound and its own style that's unparalleled in the surging genre.  It has the ability to pull in fans of bands like Alice In Chains, Hum, and Superheaven, while also having a completely refreshing and distinct sound.  The tracks are perfectly captured, from the massive bass tone to the creative guitar riffs all the way to the catchy vocal hooks and sing-alongs.  The only thing people will be left wanting after listening to this album is Soul Blind’s next banger release.

8. Hal Crossno, World I Hate

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

Here's the deal, I only goat like 4 HC bands (Spine, No Tolerance, Mental, and the Trapped Under Ice demo/Stay Cold), so If your band can pull one of those off, I'm into it. 

In no order:

Extortion - Seething

Slug - Continuing Growth

Gnaw - On Your Mind

Dose - Self-Titled

End It - Unpleasant Living

Dayz Lost - Demo 2022

Here are some friends’ spooky shit that I admittedly listened to way more this year:

Spike Hellis - Self-Titled

Street Sects - X Amount

Trace Amount - Anti Body Language

Black Magnet - Body Prophecy

9. Ben Wittlinger, World I Hate

(Photo credit: Gabe Becerra)

My favorite album of 2022 is Syndrome 81’s Prisons Imaginaires. After a series of great singles and splits, the band pulls off an amazing balancing act for their first full-length. Melancholy and reflective overtones loom over driving and muscular rhythms. Heavily chorused guitar tones shimmer over gruff, barking vocals. The band’s deft approach underlines an album where every single song is memorable - I don’t speak French at all, but I feel like I can sing along to the entire record. Syndrome 81 makes an amazing contribution that both honors and continues the towering legacy of French punk. This record truly feels like something that I’ll listen to for the rest of my life.

Syndrome 81 - Prisons Imaginaires

The Flex - Chewing Gum for the Ears

Long Knife - Curb Stomp Earth

Freddie Gibbs - $oul $old $eperately

Pusha T - It’s Almost Dry

Björk - Fossora

The Body - Enemy of Love

Straw Man Army - SOS

Collapsed Skull - Eternity Maze

Warthog - Warthog

Charli XCX - Crash

Poison Ruin - Not Today, Not Tomorrow

Worm - Bluenothing

(in case you care)

Favorite sets this year:

The Spits - Cactus Club - July 23rd

Algara - Cactus Club - September 5th

Protocol - Unlawful Assembly - September 25th

Jarhead Fertilizer - Cactus Club - June 18th

Big Laugh - X-Ray Arcade - June 25th

10. Dan Schultz, Worn

(Photo credit: Kyle Bergfors)

LP: High Vis - Blending

Oasis meets The Stone Roses if they listened to Youth of Today. A modern classic.

EP: Scarecrow - Crisis

A crazy mix of Totalitar and some Japanese hardcore punk. They get a little mid-paced at times, and it’s a good variation from the D-beat shit. I saw them in June and they covered “Misery” by Bastard, so there you go. Check it out.

Demo: Savage Pleasure - A Harrowing Cry…From The Shadows

Celtic Frost-influenced hardcore punk. Good riffs, perfect vocal delivery, great aesthetic. Can’t wait to hear more from them and hopefully catch them live.

I appreciate everyone I got to work with this year, whether you were able to contribute to this post or not.

As usual, my own AOTY post will be coming sometime in January - keep your eyes peeled as I comb through the 10,913 amazing demos that came out this year…


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