BEST OF 2022: EPs and splits

BLOOD INCANTATION, “Timewave Zero” (Century Media): It’s not hyperbolic to say there is no other death metal band quite like Colorado’s Blood Incantation, easily the most inventive and challenging of any artists pushing the sound. They’ve developed a reputation that’s become godly, but they deserve it because their first two full-length albums have redefined the style forever. But this record full of synthscapes woven together over two four-movement pieces is like the soundtrack to your own alien abduction. I don’t want to see them abandon death metal, but I’d like a meeting of the two worlds for their future work. Best enjoyed at night or while on nitrous at the dentist. (Feb. 25)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/astralnecrosis

To buy the album, go here: https://centurymedia.store/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/centurymedia/

HULDER, “The Eternal Fanfare” (20 Buck Spin): Solo black metal artist Hulder is on her way to making a classic full-length full-length, and those seeds are planted on “The Eternal Fanfare,” her five-track EP that really begins to uncover what this creator is all about. Bridging the gap between her full-length debut offering “Godslastering: Hymns of a Forlorn Peasantry” and her upcoming second long player, this EP shows the philosophical and creative growth this project has achieved, and this is a collection that while a mini release, still packs a winter’s storm of a punch. “Burden of Flesh and Bone,” “Sylvan Awakening,” and closer “A Perilous Journey” capture an artist exploding at her core. (July 1)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.instagram.com/wormgloom/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/worm

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

MIZMOR, “Wit’s End” (Gilead Media): Faith in and of itself is fine, but when it turns to fanaticism and starts to replace logic and evidence with a message that can’t be proved and is part of a very dangerous con, and it morphs into something that should be eradicated. A.L.N., the sole creator behind atmospheric black doom project Mizmor, had a long journey with the Christian faith before that turned into atheism, and his EP “Wit’s End” is a frustrated lash into people who have left behind all sense for expecting god to protect and heal them. The title track is an anger-filled classic Mizmor cut that tries to piledrive sense into people, while “Pareidolia” is 14:05 and mostly is an ambient piece that feels like your body leaving this earth. (Jan. 14)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/whollydoomedblackmetal

To buy the album, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/products/mizmor-wits-end-cd-dvd

For more on the label, go here: https://gileadmedia.net/

VEGA, “Reliquia” (Fiadh Productions/Vita Detestabilis): One-woman black metal project Vega revealed the stunning five-track debut EP “Reliquia,” an impressive and promising first outing. Creator Vega Shaker explained the power behind this jarring effort combines her desire to move forward with her life and the struggle to make sense of a past that wasn’t always comforting. The songs on here revel in black metal horror but also trade off with gothy tendencies and delicacy not often experienced in this style of music. It feels very personal even before knowing what the music is about, and you can feel the exploration and the pain drip through this entire thing. It’s emotional, intense, vicious, and vulnerable, the first step on what could be a fascinating project to watch and hear develop. (Nov. 4)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.instagram.com/vega_bm_official/

To buy the album, go here: https://fiadh.bandcamp.com/album/reliquia

Or here: https://vitadetestabilisrecords.bandcamp.com/album/reliquia-2

For more on the label, go here: https://fiadh.bandcamp.com/

And here: https://vitadetestabilisrecords.bandcamp.com/

VICIOUS BLADE, “Siege of Cruelty” (Our Ancient Future): Vicious Blade, a malicious thrash unit that hails from Pittsburgh, dropped their savage second EP “Siege of Cruelty,” a blast to burn you down. Over five raucous tracks that combine thrash, classic heavy metal, punk, and other volatile elements, the band gives you a huge blast back to when the harsher forms of metal started to solidify but with a 2022 mindset that powers these tracks and make them melt over. Vocalist Clarissa Badini (who also fronts Castrator) is in full command, and the rest of the band provides ample firepower on “Cult of Scourge,” “Scavengers,” “Speed, Leather & Hell,” and molten closer “Wretchedness of Existence.” (June 24)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/viciousbladepgh

To buy the album, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/collections/all

For more on the label, go here: https://www.ourancientfuture.com/

VILE CREATURE/BISMUTH, “A Hymn of Loss and Hope” (The Flenser): The doomed 2020 version of Roadburn still bears fruit with the long-awaited union of Vile Creature and Bismuth, two doom powers that have a lot in common musically but contribute entirely different magical creations into the heavy music world. This project originally was commissioned for the 2020 fest, and it finally saw the main stage at this year’s version. Even better for us non-travelers, The Flenser released the studio version of this union, the amazing 40-minute, single-track “A Hymn of Loss and Hope.” Combining Vic (vocals) and KW (guitars and vocals) of Hamilton, Ontario’s Vile Creature (their pets also have a hand in this, if just from animalistic inspiration) with Tanya (bass, piano, vocals) and Joe (drums) of Nottingham, England’s Bismuth, these forces meld seamlessly as a greater whole, one that delivers might and passion that would shift the earth off its axis. (April 24)

For more on the Vile Creature, go here: https://www.facebook.com/vilecreature/

For more on Bismuth, go here: https://www.facebook.com/bismuthslow

To buy the album, go here: https://nowflensing.com/collections/flenser-releases/products/vile-creature-and-bismuth-a-hymn-of-loss-and-hope-lp

For more on the label, go here: https://nowflensing.com/

WORM, “Bluenothing” (20 Buck Spin): One seeking perfect music for mind stretching can find that in “Bluenothing,” the mini album from Florida doom/death/black metal lurkers Worm, whose “Foreverglade” was one of the main revelations from 2021. Speaking of that album, half of what you hear here was born in the sessions for that record, while the other half demonstrates a new beast, and all of which is completely mind melting and ultimately stimulating. Long helmed by Phantom Slaughter (vocals, guitar, bass, synth), the band was boosted by the addition of guitarist Wroth Septentrion (Atramentus, VoidCeremony, Chthe-ilist, live member of Hulder), whose work takes these songs into a foggy stratosphere not previously explored by this mind-altering band. The title track is one of the best metal tracks in 2022, while “Invoking the Dragonmoon” and “Shadowside Kingdom” take you to a different plane of existence. (Oct. 28)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.instagram.com/wormgloom/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/worm

For more on the label, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/

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