Written by: The Administrator
Each year, I inevitably spend a whole lot o' time with EPs. Is this due to my bafflingly short attention span? Yes. Is it also because EPs often feel like the perfect vehicle for a band to flaunt their strengths in a concise and well-trimmed manner? Also yes. Listening to a well-constructed EP is perhaps my favorite way to spend time with music, and so here I am, an eclectic collection of favorites gripped in outstretched grubby fingers.
But first, some housekeeping! There are, assuming I counted correctly, 30 entries. I was planning on 20, but have no real interest in trimming a list of untrimmable favorites. In that spirit, hopefully you find something here that worms its way into your favorites as well.
This list is not sorted by genre despite featuring a lot of different genres. I apologize for the whiplash, but sorting feels antithetical to the overall notion that listening habits should not be confined for the sake of convenient lists. And lastly, this is utterly unranked--if something appears here, please know that it comes highly, highly recommended!
Anyways. Let's get into it.
Jesus Wept - Psychedelic Degeneracy (March 11th, Redefining Darkness Records) Find it here!
Hypothetical scenario: if I were commanded by some power on high to assemble a bulletproof roster of the hardest bands in existence, Jesus Wept would make the cut without question. Despite boasting a mere four tracks, this EP holds its own amongst 2022's veritable bevy of 10/10 death metal albums. At risk of sounding dramatic, Psychedelic Degeneracy is essential listening. That is all.
Svnbreaker - I (May 6th, Euphoriadic) Find it here!
This one snuck up on me. Anyone with a passing familiarity of my particular musical taste will know that I'm not the world's biggest black metal fan, but here we are. Simply put, Svnbreaker does a beautiful job of balancing potent fury with more gentle acoustic passages. The resulting conglomerate makes for a tastefully dramatic listening experience. The explicitly antifascist angle is always nice to see as well. Another feather in Euphoriadic's increasingly befeather'd cap.
WARPSTORMER - Here Comes Hell (March 4th, Independent) Find it here!
I reviewed this lil' hunk o' stoner thrash goodness back in June, and it has refused to take its leave from fairly constant rotation ever since. The four tracks herein provide the perfect balance of distinct elements, moods, and levels of outward aggression, ranging from rip-roaringly urgent to gloomily somber across the breadth. Needless to say, I'm still primed and ready for more.
Doechii - she / her / black bitch (August 10th, TDE and Capitol Records) Find it here!
I was unfamiliar with Doechii until stumbling upon this well-executed 5-track, but five tracks was all it took. This project serves as an excellent display of vibrance and versatility across a notable sonic range, utilizing both mellow-yet-emotive singing and slick rapping to great effect. Her more upbeat braggadocios bars in particular demonstrate a confident precision that is very exciting to see from an artist still navigating pre-debut waters. I'm pretty confident she's going to make a significant splash in 2023.
Gravity Thieves - Burn Out The Sun (August 29th, Independent) Find it here!
In a breach of tradition, this list has thusfar lacked music of an overtly doomy and gloomy nature. Thankfully, 2022 newcomers Gravity Thieves are here to shake things up with that sweet fuzzy cosmic riffage. Burn Out The Sun could qualify as a full album by many band's metrics, coupled with Gravity Thieves' penchant for dense and engaging composition. This thing is as psychedelic and doomgaze-y as it is grounded and groovy. For all the time I've spent with this release over the past few months, I regret not spending more.
Adamantis - The Daemon's Strain (June 10th, Cruz Del Sur Music)Find it here.
Look. I like the mini-review I wrote for this previously, so here it is again: "The Daemon's Strain is a tastefully symphonic break from the doldrums of unenthused metal. Adamantis consistently deliver anthemic bombast without falling into the over-the-top cheesiness associated with the genre, and present a genuinely epic narrative quality. The choruses are participation friendly, which is always a plus in my books, and the energy remains high without falling outside the constraints of their precise instrumentation."
short term memory loss - a bat eating her wings (February 25th, Euphoriadic) Find it here!
We slumbering scribes had the honor of premiering this bangin' EP back in February, and it's remained on my mind ever since--I firmly believe that short term memory loss stands at the forefront of the future of extreme music. a bat eating her wings is a wonderfully inventive and eclectic project, mashing and blending seemingly disparate genre elements with complete disregard for convention. It's jarring. It's captivating. As I said at the time, "You can try to anticipate what's coming, but you're gonna get utterly blindsided regardless."
Ela Minus & DJ Python - ♡ EP (September 16th, Smuggler's Way) Find it here!
And now for something completely different. Of all the EPs included here, this is the one that surprised me the most. This collaborative 3-track project features some of the most endearingly light-hearted and new-age sing-song music I've had the pleasure of listening to, well, ever. Track 3, "Pájaros en Verano," is stark and heartwarmingly sweet, and sits prominently on my shortlist of Best Tracks of the Year. Ela Minus and DJ Python have seemingly perfected a uniquely romantic and simplistic aesthetic, and if you like chill music by any metric, I highly recommend checking this one out.
wXdXw | Absolute Fucking Bastard - fig. i | fig. ii (November 18th, Syrup Moose) Find it here!
Two bands? A runtime that just barely crests the four minute mark? Sign this particular scribe the fuck up. This tiny morsel is the perfect grindcore offering--short, blistering, and oh-so vicious. Both wXdXw and Absolute Fucking Bastard deliver the pugilistic caustic rage demanded by such a project, and while they leave the scene of the crime far before you've had time to collect your senses, they leave the listener wanting more. That's a rousing success in my book.
Mothman and The Thunderbirds & World Eaters - Mothman and The Thunderbirds vs World Eaters (October 28th, Independent) Find it here (M&tT) and here (WE)
Speaking of splits, how 'bout something a little less immediately cohesive? I love a project that pairs two sonically distinct bands--or, perhaps in the case of this split, pits them against one another. Both Mothman and the Thunderbirds and World Eaters fire on all cylinders here, each delivering what could certainly be considered their respective best work. If you're a fan of one or the other (or both) this split is required listening. Moreover, if you like cool underground bands doing cool shit, this split is required listening. Just check it out, dammit.
Scorching Tomb - Rotting Away (June 24th, Independent) Find it here!
This succinct lil' death metal EP seems to have flown pretty far under the radar, which is regrettable. It is not wildly inventive but doesn't need to be, on account of the riffs going hard as everliving fuck. Rotting Away is a fun and gratifying listen–indeed, to quote myself, "If you find joy in the slimy bowels of old school convention, you're gonna find joy lurking herein. Insofar as OSDM has the potential to be dynamic and uplifting, this is dynamic and uplifting."
Atoll - Prepuce (April 15th, Unique Leader Records) Find it here!
Besides featuring what is arguably the gnarliest and/or best cover artwork of the year, Prepuce features some of the most outrageously absurd and jubilant slam 2022 has to offer. The riffs are as brutal as one might hope, and the vocal stylings and samples embrace their intrinsically gratuitous role within the ecosystem of ridiculously visceral entertainment. Equal parts heavy and fun. You can't go wrong with that winning formula.
Corruption - Dead Is The Soul (February 18th, Independent)Find it here!
If you crave a little high-quality Big 4 worship, Corruption have you covered. As I said upon initially reviewing this small (but mighty) EP, "Dead Is The Soul is an exceedingly tight and well-executed affair, as technically precise as it is regrettably brief. There's a certain restraint at play--there aren't any off-the-rail moments here, which is a quality that translates pretty damn well for anyone looking for a thrashin' good time without excess intensity."
Bong Coffin - Enchained (March 1st, Independent) Find it here!
Adelaide's Bong Coffin released three (3) EPs this year, and if we're being real, all of them qualify for this list by virtue of sheer quality. That said, I've spent the most time as of late with March's Enchained, which features a trio of menacingly monolithic tracks. Do ye like vocals grossly bestial? Do ye like riffs A. massive and B. dredged from the mire? Look no further, dear reader.
And hey, while yer at it, check out Voidsight and Nightmare as well!
Anna Pest & Colin MacAndrew - A Moor Beneath the Cold Dead Sun (October 28th, Independent). Find it here!
I mean, holy shit. I don't even know what to say. This EP represents proggy deathcore perfection, full stop. Anna Pest, Colin MacAndrew, and guests deliver a rousing and startlingly intricate masterclass in writing music that is as intensely engaging as it is blatantly heavy. At no point over the course of this EP is there a moment of predictability. A Moor Beneath the Cold Dead Sun makes for a wholeheartedly invigorating and refreshing listening experience. This is Anna Pest's best work yet, which hopefully says something, considering my eternal appreciation for Dark Arms Reach Skyward With Bone White Fingers. If you haven't given this one a listen, I highly recommend doing so ASAP.
Trocar - Four Forfeit Digits (June 14th, Independent) Find it here!
To unapologeticallyplagiarize my past self: "this debut EP from Trocar elevates the art of grossness to sincerely admirable levels, raging forth with a burbling putridity and a mechanized drive like unto a piece of flesh-mangling machinery that unexpectedly kicks into high gear when you climb inside to clean out the gunk. In a few short minutes Four Forfeit Digits features a dizzying array of sights and sounds, and ultimately serves to seriously whet my appetite for more."
Transgressive - Fetus Factory (July 9th, Independent) Find it here!
No 2022 release, in my opinion, has communicated righteous outrage so effectively as Transgressive's stellar two-track Fetus Factory. The shredding riffage is conflagratory and glorious--both songs rip and roil with a notable intensity, delivering the engaging high-energy kineticism we love and crave. Transgressive is furious in every application of the word, and Fetus Factory is practically essential listening for any fan of thrash, modern or otherwise.
MIKE, Wiki, & The Alchemist - One More (November 25, EMPIRE) Find it here!
What an intriguing cast of characters present on this lil' project! Wiki's delivery and personality has only been getting more and more refined over the past few releases, and while I'm fairly unfamiliar with MIKE, this was a strong introduction to the laid-back lyrical anomaly. The Alchemist works his alchemical craft as per usual. The result isn't a flashy three tracks, but rather a confident stroll through comfortably confident territory. An exhibit of strengths.
North Star the Wanderer - Terminal (June 10th, Independent) Find it here!
This 3-track EP fits nicely in the list of releases I meant to review but never got around to. That's a damn shame, as Terminal certainly deserves a little long-winded pontificating. Sitting somewhere between prog metal, doom, and something that approximates a (post?)modern interpretation of proto-black metal, North Star the Wanderer deliver some sincerely intriguing tunes on Terminal. There's a delightful sense of unknowing attached to this project, and even after (many) repeat listens, I find myself floundering as the instrumentation and narrative buffet me about. That's a rare and desirable quality.
Soulmass - Eidolon (June 10th, Independent) Find it here!
Here is another stellar release that I had best intentions of reviewing. Alas, the full writeup never came to be, but here we are, listening to Eidolon on repeat once more. Like unto the Soulmass catalogue at large, which oozes quality songwriting with a notable consistency, Eidolon combines a sharp sense of aggression and momentum with an underlying aura of gloom and trepidation. It's a wonderful and formidable EP.
Worm - Bluenothing (October 28, 20 Buck Spin) Find it here!
Worm have rightfully received a lot of love this year, and hardly need my endorsement atop the heap. But goddamn, this EP practically demands praise at every turn. Everything Worm touches feels meticulously crafted. Bluenothing is simultaneously their most expansive and refined work to date. They exist on the highest echelon of their craft.
Chestcrush - Apechtheia (November 1st, Independent) Find it here!
This is a violent and arresting and sinister EP. Chestcrush is certainly in the running for title of "Most Impressive Yet Unprecedented Evolution Of 2022." As both a standalone and an exercise in evolution, Apechtheia works very well as a sophomore release, and has maintained its hefty spot in rotation far after I finished writing my review.
Rotting In Dirt - I Am Eating My Shame (September 9th, Zegema Beach & Neverdeath) Find it here!
Sitting on the ugliest edge of the metalcore arena, I Am Eating My Shame is a dark and despondent affair, bristling with a keen intensity. Whether the hatred is outward facing or more introspective is fairly irrelevant--spite is the name of the game regardless. This EP is sharp and grimy and arrestingly violent, like unto a rusty drywall saw across the jugular. I Am Eating My Shame constitutes Rotting In Dirt's best work yet, in this scribe's opinion.
Burner - A Vision of The End (October 28th, Church Road Records) Find it here!
You can seldom go wrong with the hefty application of grinding death-by-way-of-mathy-hardcore, and this absolute beast of an EP rips, tears, and bludgeons along with the best of 'em. Burner present a furiously pissed off soundtrack to a riot. Or self-immolation. Or, y'know, the presumably titular apocalypse. Take your pick.
Bodice - Bodice (EP) (August 19th, Independent) Find it here!
What a great little EP, and what a great introduction to a band that I desperately hope releases more music next year. Bodice constitutes that moody vibe I chase far too often. Excellent stuff if you're in the mood for some melancholic, angsty, and downright fuckin' catchy indie rock/punk/grunge.
Son of Seth - De Dor A Odio (February 11th (Trepanation Recordings) Find it here!
Back in February, I stated that I anticipated "revisiting De Dor A Odio in days and months to come." Turns out I was right. It holds up. Indeed, "While not the most immediately listenable, De Dor A Odio is a perfect example of a project that only becomes more immersive the more time you spend with it. These five tracks paint a picture of a vivid and unsettling environment, and while the immersive voyage is inevitably difficult–and perhaps even frightening–it is absolutely worthwhile." If noisy blackened industrial doom metal is up your alley, Son of Seth should absolutely be on your radar.
Soul Grinder - Queen Corrosia (May 6th, Independent) Find it here!
A prime candidate for posterchild of the carnivalesque world of punky melodic thrash, this EP epitomizes fun. Case in point: after months of listening, I'm still happy to throw it on at a moments notice and give the ol' neck a suitable thrashing. Soul Grinder is a band that works exceedingly well in the EP format, and time has proven that they crushed it with this one.
DJ Premier - Hip Hop 50: Vol 1 (July 15th, Mass Appeal) Find it here!
Primo is going down in history as one of the absolute best, but he sure as fuck isn't going down yet. The curation here is simply stellar--these five tracks serve as a rouges gallery of heavy hitters, and despite each song feeling wholly distinct by benefit of the contributing rappers, the overall quality across the board is a common thread. Predictably, everyone brings it, but Remy Ma in particular delivers my overall favorite verse on the project. If you enjoy hip hop's current era, this is an essential listen. If you enjoy DJ Premier's storied past, this is an essential listen. 'nuff said.
The Cimmerian - Thrice Majestic (June 17th, Independent) Find it here!
Thrice Majestic delivers exactly what I want out of a debut EP. It illustrates a unique sound and approach. It lays groundwork for a sonic and thematic aesthetic with significant room to grow--the potential is pretty wide open for the skillful application of doom and thrash with an adventurous backdrop. Perhaps most importantly, it has made me a fan of the band in very short order. Full reviewhere!
Witnesses - The Holy Water EP (July 15th, Independent). Find it here!
Good lord, at this stage what more can I even say about this beautiful and wonderous project? The Holy Water EP is stunning, and even though this list is technically unranked, I'm not necessarily loathe to pick an overall favorite. This is it, and that is enough said, methinks. Check out the full review here.
Thank you to all the artists who made this an amazing year for EPs!
Please consider purchasing their music.
We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.