Greco Bastián – With a Little Hell from My FriendsWhat kind of mad scientist is this? The lad doesn’t even play an instrument, yet he writes (and publishes!) one of the best avant-prog releases of 2022? And that’s all with real instruments! Well, mostly… Greco conjured some of the brightest names in the genre to play on his album—I’m talking Koenjihyakkei, Ruins, Univers Zéro, Ryoko Ono, Pierre Vervloesem, Secret Chiefs 3, Patrick Shiroishi, Scherzoo, Jon Bafus, Samo Šalamon, and more! What an incredible feat of collaboration, coordination, networking, and determination! The result is a fascinating and mesmerizing album full of endearing idiosyncrasies and wildcards. I mean, that’s a given with that kind of lineup, but whatever. I think the best thing about this album is that it exists. Just that simple fact blows my mind! Check it out!
An Abstract Illusion – Woe (Willowtip)
I didn’t know the name of this band before, but trust me I’ll remember it now! Indeed, Woe is definitely one of my favourite progressive death metal albums so far this year. The album is lyrical, filled with orchestrations and wailing guitars à la Fallujah, and it’s brutal, ceaselessly discharging blast beats and riffs this way and that. It’s a really marvellous accomplishment, and one of the best albums of the year!
Greber – Fright Without (No Funeral)
Yeah, I call this one “sludgegrind”, it’s a cool term right? Wait ’til you listen to that album though. Fright Without is a bass-heavy hard-hitting album that ends just below thirty minutes. It’s some excruciating twenty-nine minutes, however, filled with abysmal riffs, scorching distortion, and tetanizing blast beats. One of the great more aggressive albums of the year.
Toehider – I Have Little to No Memory of These Memories
Toehider—also known as Michael Mills—returns with an epic forty-eight-minute single-track concept album. On I Have Little to No Memory of These Memories, we travel through various prog subgenres and eras, with a certain admiration for the stuff of the eighties, with its pop music affinities and recognizable drum, guitar, and synth sounds. You even have some retro video game music passages—something from the 16-bit era it seems to me, correct me if I’m mistaken. All of this makes for a pretty spectacular song that’s sure to keep your ear on its toes!