15 Noise Rock Albums You Missed… | 2022

ALBUMS YOU MISSED… Is a yearly tradition of rallying behind overlooked and underserved releases that I’d either missed or that’d deserved more hype as the endless mill of new releases blazed throughout the year. This is decidedly -not- a “best of” list but rather a grip of underrated stuff that the general public should consume. My tastes in noise rock are heavily rooted in the early 90’s, wherein my youthful interest in post-hardcore, art rock, and alt-rock lined up in idyllic nox. You’ll have to bear with my tastes leaning that way. Yes, there will be post-hardcore, sludge, industrial and even some hardcore punk admixtures in here. The sub-genre naturally thrives in abstraction, emotion, and diversity. — If you find something you dig go tell the band on social media and support them with a purchase! If you’d like your music reviewed, read the FAQ and send promos to: grizzlybutts@hotmail.com


ARTIST:CHILD BITE / BLACK RHENO
TITLE:Split 7″
LABEL(S):Housecore Records
RELEASE DATE:April 29th, 2022

Detroit noise rock trio Child Bite and Sydney-based odd-core crew Black Rheno link up well enough in terms of putting big psycho energy into a unique salad of personae enriched metallic punk/post-hardcore scrambling music and unique visual concepts. It sounds like they’d linked up on Child Bite‘s 2019 Australian tour, made a pact for this release and the release works as a quick howdy and a handshake from each band. Everything you already love about either band is all here on either side of the 7″, of course the Michiganders are one of my favorite groups of the last several years so the bias is heavily there and I had to grab this one for the archives. If the album art looks stupid as hell it is because that cloud shape is a cutout in the custom packaging, the item is metallic and can be slotted in four different ways to show various illustrations on the foil, they did something similar on past split releases and it translates best when you’ve got the physical item in hand.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:STILL/FORM
TITLE:From the Rot is a Gift
LABEL(S):Hex Records
RELEASE DATE:August 19th, 2022

Thee illustrious Marriage + Cancer has made for a beauteous cadaver in hindsight, an underrated dig you’d do well to catch up on. Today we find former guitarist/vocalist Robert Comitz’ deal transporting like a ghostly soul into this heavier, even better next thing Still/Form. Fair enough if just about nobody missed this one, but I didn’t see nearly enough folks freaking out about how well it comes together as a debut. Eclectic in its minutiae but mentally slathered in mud, the full listen is challenging and adventurous in the best way. The feature of the rhythm section is crucial for ‘From the Rot is a Gift‘ as bassist Kirk Evans (Dark Numbers) and drummer Ryan Losli (Almost Is Nothing/Ireshrine) shine in their precise yet organic bustle beneath the tortured, groovin’ and restless sludged-up noise rock anxiety herein. Also, check their labelmates Wipes if you’d liked Tile, which we’d featured twice on on two previous columns.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:DESPERATE LIVING
TITLE:Shame [mLP]
LABEL(S):Reptilian Records
RELEASE DATE:December 9th, 2022

Shame is gone if you commit to the truth.” — Yep, of course you didn’t miss this one since it’ll release in just over a week from today but I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to devote to a full review of this one (labelmates Salvation‘s ‘Mock‘ will be reviewed next week instead) but it definitely belongs on every noise rock fan’s radar. This Philadelphia-based quartet focus on steady-paced and starkly illustrative work which immediately resembles the early-to-mid 90’s severity of darker sludge-adjacent noise rock but they break up the heroin chic of it all with post-hardcore bends, whistling hard harmonics, and an Unsane worthy snap to the bass guitar tone. The grungy punk push and ringing verses of “Commit To” will probably catch the most ears overall but this ~20 minute mLP is easily digested in statement, a catchy song and solid representation of where they’re at. Readable, grooveable, pained and even a touch garagey/art-rock edge included, these guys are basically album ready with this sound and well-conceived statement, just gimme a hair more vocal presence.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:SPOILMAN
TITLE:Harmony
LABEL(S):Kerosene Records
RELEASE DATE:May 11th, 2022

Japanese noise rock/post-hardcore group Spoilman return for their third (?) release and this one kicks off in a bold way, opening with a 12+ minute semi-improvisational piece, “Cairo”, which showcases their excellent stripped down sound and penchant for wandering yet anxiously delivered jamming. It should prove off-putting for many listeners but it essentially gloms together two song ideas with some scrambling extended lead guitars in-between. It’ll work for folks who’d grown up with Shellac, Sonic Youth and such as a starting point, but your resolve will absolutely be tested along the way with pieces like “Night Fence”. In fact, any song under three minutes on this thing is a total gamble and this’d been the most compelling part of discovery, not knowing where ‘Harmony‘ would go overall.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_naN1NdSCJgG7LZoOMqAyDP67XwHHTd4nQ


ARTIST:EASY PREY
TITLE:Unrest
LABEL(S):HellMinded Records
RELEASE DATE:August 19th, 2022

This Austin, Texas-based noise rock/post-hardcore brewery put out one of my favorite releases of 2020 with ‘Relentless Struggle‘ by virtue of the right sound and impassioned performance, nods of old and new angular hardcore with edgier, freaked out rhythms. So, I actually had a big-ass review of ‘Unrest‘ pre-loaded leading up to release, suggesting it was a finest yet album which speaks to protest, resistance, and action to cut through the scrambled signals of today. I’d begun to doubt my take on the details as I saw publications comparing their sound to like, Coalesce (?) and as a result I’d benched it for further perspective, thinking I’d missed some nods to the metallic hardcore I’d grown up with. Not really, eh, maybe a bit of ‘Designs For Automation‘ appreciation in the rhythm section. Turns out my instinct was well and good enough to run on as the exacting blend of hardcorish aggression, dreamier rhythmic lilt, and bassline dragging noise rock that I’d initially appreciated about Easy Prey is all here, dire as Hell and more polished-up than ever.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:BAD BREEDING
TITLE:Human Capital
LABEL(S):Iron Lung
RELEASE DATE:July 8th, 2022

The absolute mash of early Discharge, the noisome threshing of nascent Heresy and the scrambling fuckery of Rudimentary Peni given to the machines that’d driven Killing Joke, we have a fourth wall of anarcho-hardcore punk and dirging noise within the shattered buzz of ‘Human Capital‘. If you’ll recall how wild I was over Kaleidoscope‘s record a few years back you’ll get why I’m all over this one just as well though the core references are different. Though the record is all over the place in the best way they’ve done a fine job illustrating their thesis, likewise including a booklet which outlines their point of view in an impressive manner. How relevant to noise rock is it? Well, you’re getting an adjacent release very much in the right spirit. A different kind of post-hardcore punk. Anyhow, I’d loved this album since its release and this is the best place opportunity to recommend it.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

ARTIST:COWMAN
TITLE:Slaughter
LABEL(S):Cruel Nature,
Tenzenmen
RELEASE DATE:September 30th, 2022

At face value what Benjamin Heal’s Cowman does on ‘Slaughter‘ is entirely simple in motion, a kosmiche rock jangling style of rant lead by lean programmed beats, spoken vocal drift set in the periphery, and a garage-banked and effects bombarded set of guitar tones, usually two colliding at once. At face value what he does with this sparkling, psychedelic cough-in-the-wind sort of sound isn’t all that profound beyond the initial joyous motion of the first couple opening pieces. Yet the trip demands a closer listen at every turn, manipulating the ear into focus over several spins and revealing smartly mechanical layering of blissfully amateurish late 80’s/early 90’s tones in a way that communicates something, a vague mood which sparks and bursts in irregular spaces. ‘Slaughter‘ doesn’t feel like it has anything to say, a strange siren-like experience that merely intends to captivate and vex by way of incidental experimentation.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

ARTIST:MARION
TITLE:Bore [mLP]
LABEL(S):Self-Released
RELEASE DATE:January 12th, 2022

Blackpilled gloomercore? Despite nu-metallic mosh kicks, Converge-core yanking, and chuggin’ grooves dominating this short mLP most of ‘Bore‘ packs plenty of finesse into their blend of teenager-core with big, bruising sludgy noise rock adjacent clangor. The rhythms might fuck around on a frequent basis but they’ve considered every note of this record to such a degree that none of it has a chance to grate (or stick) within short and ugly pieces, all nine of which land in less than two minutes each. I’d had this recommended to me around ten times early in the year and though it isn’t my thing, I appreciated the enthusiasm.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

ARTIST:GNOD
TITLE:Hexen Valley
LABEL(S):Rocket Recordings
RELEASE DATE:April 1st, 2022

Hadn’t checked in with Manchester-area experimental anti-rock collective since ‘Chapel Perilous‘ and man, it was a long walk to catch up on the way to their latest. Rather than diarize the trip ’til ‘Hexen Valley’ I’d rather focus on it since I feel like this is one of their most profound hits of madness yet as motorik rhythms, heaps of guitar noise, and gigantic basslines reach for psychedelia in a freshened-yet-oppressive waft this time around. Chris Haslam‘s basslines seem to repeatedly dare the others to go darker, heavier on this one and though the hiss of the guitars is mean his work really carries the weight of induction and sets the tone in most cases, “Spotlight” being the obvious checkpoint heading downtown. The relief that “Skies are Red” and the eerily disharmonic “Still Runnin'” bring is purely sonic as the civil unrest of ‘La Mort des Sens’ (2021) is still very much here in spirit, even if the configuration of the band and their inspiration has fundamentally shifted.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:LACES OUT
TITLE:Here at the Ashram
LABEL(S):Nefarious Industries
RELEASE DATE:November 18th, 2022

I’d initially overlooked ‘Here at the Ashram‘ due to their prior mLP, ‘Roger Podacter‘, riding the fence between alt-rock influenced post-hardcore and the earlier D.C. stuff. Picking it up a bit later reveals a heavier set of songs, a harsher bout of noise rock influenced post-hardcore which brings a much needed edge to their often kinda slick hook writing. It isn’t as accessible as Entropy or whatnot, but comes close enough that some folks won’t jump in. Much of what this New York-based trio do has a hint of late 90’s post-hardcore tunefulness to it without breaching an indie rock glow, I find their approach lands somewhere between Quicksand‘s ability to find a groove and a song alongside the intuitive exploration that Fugazi were known for, of course you can update your references beyond 1993 as you see fit. While I prefer an more intensely anxious and confrontational approach most of the time I’d found this fairly dizzy, somber record hard to put down for the clean thread it pulls start to finish.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:30,000 MONKIES
TITLE:Honesty, Integrity, Friendship, Passion
LABEL(S):Consouling Sounds
RELEASE DATE:September 30th, 2022

Truth be told I wasn’t sure what I was listening to beyond opener “Honesty” as Beringen, Belgium-based experimental sludge/post-metal and sometimes noise rock-adjacent quartet 30,000 Monkies‘ fourth LP started with a bang-out song before taking a complete turn towards their drone habits. But hey, not before they’ve cut a piece seemingly meant for a cinematic score, followed it up with dramatic rock opera feature sans vocal lead, and finished off the album with a 12+ minute “Passion” lead by auto-tuned vocals, drone metal guitars, and more orchestration. None of this should be a huge surprise if you are familiar with ‘Are Forever‘ (2019) but it’d all felt a bit light on substance this time around, banking on the atmosphere created and dropping a lot of the unique sounds used on that prior record. Still, I doubt you’ll find much else that’d sounded like this in 2022 and if you do, keep it to yourself.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

Title: HONESTY INTEGRITY FRIENDSHIP PASSION (Colored)


ARTIST:INTERCOURSE
TITLE:George Soros Funded
LABEL(S):Self-Released
RELEASE DATE:July 4th, 2022

Since I missed their excellent split with Portland’s Gaytheist and overlooked their ‘Rule 36‘ release in 2021 I’ve luckily caught hot wind of Intercourse‘s latest mLP, single, couple of politically charged satirical songs dealie and they’re still awesome. You can’t miss the lyrics and there are some layers here which read like an absurd pull from boomer politico Facebook groups, some real observations (maybe?) and a lot of humor shoved in succession all while the band swerve wildly along with the vocals. They’re basically grindcore at this point so this thing is like two minutes long, hit it and quit it.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:LLEROY
TITLE:Nodi
LABEL(S):Overdrive Records
RELEASE DATE:December 9th, 2022

Bologna, Italy-based noise rock/post-hardcore trio Lleroy call themselves “MudCore” on Bandcamp and suggest their dynamic is split between obsessive rhythmic pieces and easier rock breaks, I suppose this is a fair enough representation of their core idea. The dynamic explored on ‘Nodi‘ lands somewhere between edgy-yet-groovy mid-90’s alternative rock and early stoner metal/grunge freakouts while some kind of punkish noise/garage rock seeps out of the murk and moodiness of it all. I like that they’re not intending to fit a mold here and it seems the actual noise rock resultant is somewhat natural in its culmination. It helps that the album is well-produced, tuneful, and expressive in a wacky yet pained sort of way with a dose of earlier Red Fang-esque fun in there too.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:PSYCHIC GRAVEYARD / USA NAILS
TITLE:Split LP
LABEL(S):Skin Graft Records
RELEASE DATE:April 1st, 2022

A fantastically refractive juxtaposition rather than a droll pairing. Magical things happen herein as the bleak future-is-now sightedness of no wave/noise-rocking Londoners USA Nails are seated next to the richly sneering gaunt of Psychic Graveyard. The split works surprisingly well with Psychic Graveyard experimenting ceaselessly as a collective a confrontational and beat machine-readied dig with plenty of coy tongue-biting lyrics as they continue to plumb beyond the bleaker side of their last two LPs. USA Nails are kind of a given grab on my part, one of my favorite bands around today who naturally stand out. Their pieces here build on the manic, bleakest ride of ‘Character Stop‘ via its kinetic movement and slyly riddled run-on statements. One of my favorite releases of the the year and a record I’d written about previously for the best of April.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

ARTIST:ASBESTOS WORKER
TITLE:The Seperation
LABEL(S):Learning Curve Records
RELEASE DATE:September 30th, 2022

Minneapolis, Minnesota-based sludge/noise rock crew Asbestos Worker are back with another perturbed working class slow burn of a full-length and this time around the solo project (via Josh Stever, who apparently works in asbestos abatement) has expanded into a trio who I assume have all contributed to this release. I won’t get too hung up on album art but this one sucks hard and they’ve spelled “separation” wrong on the cover. Otherwise we still find the project focusing on mid-paced, sludge heavy, pissed and shouting heavy rock sounds but they’re switching up the rhythms and what not more often “I hope you get greased” being a reasonable enough example, though it isn’t a particularly well-conceived song. For all of the bumbling found here the lyrics spark up a good bit of sense and most of the record is tuneful, fairly heavy stuff.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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