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To The Teeth's List of Lists 2022: Chat Pile, Undeath & Wormrot
Back to the future, but with lists
You think I wasn’t going to do this anymore, right? Well, I thought so too. Life got busy the past year. Kids, work, you know what it’s like. I was absolutely going to let it slide, but I got a lot of questions about it so I couldn’t help myself and calculated it anyway: the objectively best heavy albums of the year! New stuff is on the playlist on Spotify, and you can support To The Teeth via Patreon and Bandcamp (get a patch!).
The winner is…
And the winner is… Chat Pile! The noise/sludge band from Oklahoma (USA) topped over 450 albums that I counted on the international end of the year lists. Chat Pile follow in the footsteps of Archspire (2021), Oranssi Pazuzu (2020), Blood Incantation (2019), Yob (2018), Converge (2017) and Vektor (2016).
This is the first time a band won this list with their debut lp. Quite special!
“Throughout God’s Country, they manage to access the universal through the tiny door of the specific, a mark of artistic maturity. It’s a harrowing statement of despair, but one I can’t stop listening to. AOTY contender” (Angry Metal Guy); “The debut album from the Oklahoma City sludge-metal band is a vivid rendering of the towering piles of poison littering America’s psychic landscape” (Pitchfork); “It's this sense of intimacy within the fray that shows how dirty Chat Pile can, and will, get their hands to reach legitimate nightmare fuel with their brand of heaviness” (Metal Injection); “It sounds like somebody is having some kind of mental breakdown, but riffs are going on in the background” (Anthony Fantano); “Man, weed in Oklahoma City is impressive” (No Clean Singing).
Small acts, big acts
Chat Pile didn’t win easily. As a matter of fact: they have exactly the same amount of points as #2, Undeath, and they even were on exactly the same amount of lists - the second thing I look for when there’s a draw. So I had to look at the number 1’s they got, and the difference is just one top spot. A very very close one! The #3, grind institute Wormrot from Singapore, wasn’t far behind either.
A top three of relative small bands, all close together, that’s cool! They did catch some limelight from bigger magazines and blogs the past year, but nothing like the names they leave behind them, like Ghost (#4), Immolation (#5), Cave In (#8), and Meshuggah (#13).
The surprise this year, to me, is Ashenspire. The description is nerdy enough to shoo most away: ‘avant-garde/progressive black metal’, but the band from Glasgow, Scotland, ended up on place #6 - not unlike Worm last year. Japanese avant-black band Sigh (#7), An Abstract Illusion (#9) and Italy’s ambient doomers Messa (#10) close out the top-10.
More smaller bands. It’s really striking that a lot of notable bigger acts didn’t impress enough people to make the list. No Behemoth, Dark Funeral, Queensrÿche, Korn, Watain, Arch Enemy, Machine Head, Abbath… I mean, last year we had Mastodon, Gojira, Iron Maiden, Converge ánd Cannibal Corpse all in the top-10. We do have Megadeth, Slipknot, Ozzy and Rammstein on the list this year, but way down. Who knows why - maybe they just weren’t that good? Good to see Darkthrone closing the list this time. The album they released last year was a lot less successful.
As the button says, subscribe to the newsletter if you haven’t already. If you want to see my personal top-30 list of 2022, go here. Emergency exits to Facebook here, the Spotify playlist here, my twitter account (be nice) here, and the Bandcamp page with my The Taste of Teeth compilation, patches and stickers here.
Anyway, the list. Onwards!
🌶 The List of Lists
Chat Pile - God’s Country
Undeath - It’s Time To Rise From the Grave
Wormrot - Hiss
Ghost - Impera
Immolation - Acts of God
Ashenspire - Hostile Architecture
Sigh - Shiki
Cave In - Heavy Pendulum
An Abstract Illusion - Woe
Messa - Close
Blind Guardian - The God Machine
White Ward - False Light
Meshuggah - Immutable
Disillusion - Ayam
Sumerlands - Dreamkiller
Artificial Brain - Artificial Brain
Lorna Shore - Pain Remains
Zeal & Ardor - Zeal & Ardor
Sonja - Loud Arriver
Dream Unending - Song of Salvation
Cult of Luna - The Long Road North
Wilderun - Epigone
Soul Glo - Diaspora Problems
Cloud Rat - Threshold
Ithaca - They Fear Us
Voivod - Synchro Anarchy
Blackbraid - Blackbraid I
Hath - All That Was Promised
Scarcity - Aveilut
Kreator - Hate Über Alles
Amorphis - Halo
KEN Mode - Null
Blut aus Nord – Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses
Aeviterne - The Ailing Façade
Mizmor & Thou - Myopia
Gaerea - Mirage
Slipknot - The End, So Far
Satan - Earth Infernal
Megadeth - The Sick, The Dying.. And the Dead
Inanna - Void of Unending Depths
Ripped To Shreds - 劇變 (Jubian)
Rolo Tomassi - Where Myth Becomes Memory
Autopsy - Morbidity Triumphant
Persefone - Metanoia
Imperial Triumphant - Spirit of Ecstacy
Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9
Rammstein - Zeit
The Callous Daoboys - Celebrity Therapist
Darkthrone - Astral Fortress
The fine print
I cut some corners this year, and compiled mostly if not only publications’ general lists, instead of all the personal lists. This to make up for two things: time, first of all and obviously, but also because I felt that some publications were weighing too heavily on the calculations because they just have a lot more personal lists. And even though they are personal, there always are trends within a group of editors. You’d have more Wilderun on the Angry Metal Guy lists, for instance, or more Doldrum on the Invisible Oranges lists. (I don’t know if this is true per se, but as an example I think you get the idea).
This year I’ve counted lists from AngryMetalGuy, Bandcamp, Bangers TV, BrooklynVegan, Consequence of Sound, Decibel, Forbes, Heavy Blog is Heavy, Heavy Music HQ, Invisible Oranges, Kerrang, Last Rites, Loudwire, Metal Hammer, Metal Injection, Metalstorm, MondoSonoro, Popmatters, r/Metal (Shreddit), RockAxis, Rolling Stone, Spin, Sputnikmusic, Stereogum, The Headbanging Moose, The Metal Observer, The Quietus, To The Teeth (that's me), Toilet Ov Hell & Treble.
I gave every number one position 10 points. Numbers two got 8 points, numbers three got 6 and the rest of the top-10 positions got 5 points. A top-25 was 3 points, and everything below 1 point. When two records had equal points, the amount of list mentions prevailed. When those were equal as well, the amount of number 1’s (or, subsequently number 2’s) counted.