Review: Gary Trueman’s Five Best Releases Of 2022

The post pandemic rush to release new material has seen 2022 awash with fantastic music. Clearly the strange times we now find ourselves in have given those creative juices something to feast on. It’s wonderful to see live music return properly again too along with other performing arts. It’s also fantastic to see so many emerging artists thriving despite having to overcome new challenges.

Here then are my top five releases of 2022 and my original thoughts on them. Let’s hope 2023 continues to deliver such riches:

Nova Twins: Supernova

Capturing both hearts and minds with every note they play the Nova Twins are a phenomena that look to be unstoppable right now. Their writing is loaded with blazes of colour and texture seemingly pulled from an entirely different and more expressive universe. Georgia South pushes the boundaries of what it’s possible to wring out of a bass guitar. Her work gaining notable favour with Tom Morello who is an outspoken fan of the duo as a whole. Amy Love couples boundless positive energy with acerbic hard hitting lyrics. The Nova Twins embody empowerment while making slick enjoyable records in a way we’ve not seen before. Supernova sees them expand and experiment. It’s a maturing that takes the pair from fresh faced potentials to hall of fame contenders. ‘Antagonist’ pummels you from the outset. ‘Cleopatra’ is softer with an infectious feminist message. Right throughout you’re treated to twists, turns and surprises with common themes of melody, harmony and genreless expression. Supernova just set the bar impossibly high.

Seething Akira: Nozomi

If Seething Akira were a US band from the east or west coasts they’d be absolutely huge by now. Instead they’re from the UK’s south coast, an area not exactly laden with world beating music heritage. Nozomi deserves to change that because it’s an absolute belter of an album. It’s not all full on as latest single ‘Stars’ shows. Here the band show a mellower side which lets you see a bit of their soul. When they kick up through the gears though, Oh my! That’s when you need to hold on to something bolted to terra firma. The obvious influence is Nu Metal but there’s all sorts of other stuff whirling around in the mix too. Electronica, hard rock, rap….. the lot. Twin vocals give some serious depth while the production sounds way more expensive than it almost certainly was. There are plenty of bangers but one song in particular just ignites. ‘Punishment Instructions’ is everything you can possibly want in a song. You can mosh to it, dance to it and as fans will already know played live it is insane fun. Everywhere the whole album just rocks while also offering a nice shift of pace too. So it holds your attention. You can hear Linkin Park in there, Korn too, and a bit of The Prodigy. But critically Seething Akira have created their own identity. In Nozomi they’re created something very special.

Hex Poseur: Hearsay EP

One of the bright new lights of grunge Hex Poseur have all the elements that make you want to listen to them repeatedly. The song writing has plenty of edginess that doesn’t diminish the way it makes you want to jump around to it. It’s pop in a studded jacket and combat boots. Everything is played loose and free, near sleazy at times, and still it’s tight too. There are shades of the indie greats in the delivery. You’re also reminded of some of Nirvana’s better moments too. Nothing is ground breaking in terms of the technical part of the playing, but dear lord it all fits together so well. This is the way real song writers do things. They take what everyone already knows and make it into something genius. Then we come to Hex Poseur’s cherry on an already delicious cake. Those vocals! Smooth as silk, as menacing as a casually swung bike chain and pitch perfect. That voice cuts like a well honed knife. The ‘Hearsay’ EP deserves to be played loud and proud on every alternative radio station in the land. It’s a piece of musical art that needs cherishing. Hex Poseur have just produced an absolute gem.

Lorna Shore: Pain Remains

There’s been a lot of hype surrounding Lorna Shore. Their recent singles releases have taken the world of metal by storm, but what about their latest album? The good news is that Pain Remains hits all the spots you want it too. It’s consistent, inventive and only increases the belief that the New Jersey quintet are the real deal and then some. This isn’t just railroaded deathcore by the numbers with solid musicianship. There are plenty of acts delivering that. This is a peek into where extreme music might be heading. You get astute changes of pace along with some genuine surprise moments that work because the writing jigsaw fits so well. The use of synths in particular is quite magnificent as are the ridiculous vocals of Will Ramos. The guttural shreds he produces sear themselves into your brain like a sonic branding iron. A trilogy of ‘Pain Remains’ titled songs end the album in an almost conceptual way. Shades of Pink Floyd in manner but a whole different ball game in the heavy stakes. Lorna Shore keep going from strength to strength and this you feel is another intense marker that they have much more to give.

Aniimalia: Pressure Points

Aniimalia don’t sound like a two year old outfit from sleepy Somerset. They’re a pleasantly surprising bunch and their new EP is equally eyebrow raising.  Pressure Points has the rich textures and quality writing you’d expect to find coming from an established act that’s had time to mature. It also has the kind of production normally reserved for major labels. Clearly something has aligned somewhere to bring these four people together to make music, and thank the gods it did! The slick guitar work is just powerful enough to cut through without overpowering. Rhythms are punchy with nicely nuanced changes of tempo. And the vocals are rich and warm. The building blocks are indie, rock and metal. You get hints of pop punk too. This is a thoroughly well thought out and in its own way highly progressive EP. If this is what Aniimalia are capable of straight out of the box you can only imagine how great they could become.

A big thank you to anyone and everyone who has read any of my musings this past year and to those that have bravely stood in front of my camera lens. Happy festive times and let’s hope 2023 is a belter too.