Lambgoat's Favorite EPs of 2023
The Lambgoat team list their favorite bite-sized releases of 2023
We love music here at Lambgoat, no matter the format in which it's released. The idea of EPs is starting to lose its technical meaning in this day and age but the sentiment behind bands dropping little gems of music - either to debut new music or to simply get an idea out of their heads - we'll be here to eat it all up. This year we wanted to celebrate those smaller releases that get left out of the end of the year fanfare.
Below you'll find our favorite EPs from 2023. Selecting a favorite anything is tough but here is where we landed.
Colin of Arabia - Trauma Dump
Released a staggering 17 years since their last material, it’s honestly refreshing how little Colin Of Arabia have changed their ways as a band despite countless waves of change in the landscape of hardcore. They’re still one of the most raw, unfiltered bands in the genre, and they could still give a fuck less what anyone thinks. Despite sonically staying true to their roots, the lyrics of this new EP are it’s most surprising, with songs like the standout “Please Don’t Tell The Boys” exploring issues of mental health and depression on a level of vulnerability that frankly many hardcore bands and especially those with COA’s reputation wouldn’t be brave enough to touch. This coupled with these 5 songs being some of the band’s strongest yet and the retaining of all the piss and vinegar that made them stand out in the first place makes Trauma Dump feel like just as much a gift to the hardcore scene just as much as it feels like a giant middle finger in the face of any detractors or doubters. Here’s hoping there’s more where this came from.
The Hope Conspiracy – Confusion/Chaos/Misery
This surprise-released EP from Boston’s early 00’s hardcore masters is a complete ripper. The four tracks on Confusion/Chaos/Misery are full of the type of good-old-fashioned-rock-n’-roll-influenced hardcore that made The Hope Conspiracy’s early records like Cold Blue and Endnote immediate classics. For a band that has been dormant for nearly 15 years, they sound surprisingly fresh, energetic and ready to kick some ass.
Eighteen Visions - Purgatorio
No surprises here, but I picked this EP for a few reasons. Eighteen Visions was one of the bands I first got into during my introduction to metalcore/hardcore, around Until The Ink Runs Out and Best Of. Purgatorio brings back those early heavier days of 18V. It's not that I dislike the releases in between, but I prefer this raw, heavy sound that brings back that earlier nostalgia of learning how to duck the kicks and punches of pit ninjas. Honestly, out of all the EPs released this year, I've listened to this one a lot more than any other (yes, even more than The Callous Daoboys). This EP is the second in a trilogy, and I can't wait to see what James, Keith, and Josh do on the next one. On top of that, It was an honor for Lambgoat to release vinyl variants, CDs, and cassettes of Purgatorio.
The Callous Daoboys - God Smiles Upon the Callous Daoboys
Everything seems to be going well for The Callous Daoboys and the title of their 2023 EP God Smiles Upon the Callous Daoboys appears to reference that. The band, much like their music, rarely slows down, appearing on numerous tours/festival dates over the last year, and yet were still able to give fans new music this year. This ep sees the band’s first work with guitarist Daniel Hodson and Drummer Matthew Hague. It also saw vocalist Carson Pace make an effort for more straightforward lyrics for listeners to connect with. The band has never shied away from the influence of nu-metal on their music, and it shows on this release as they mix it into their own brand of mathcore/metalcore fans have come to enjoy over the last eight years. If this is any indication of what fans can expect from the band in 2024, the future appears bright for the group.
lowheaven - collapse
EPs are almost always teasers by nature, rarely delivering a full-fledged project of a band’s skill and vision, but lowheaven challenged that convention this year. Here’s a brand new post-hardcore/metal band from Toronto, collapse being their first project, and they nailed it. collapse is extravagant in how it melds genres together and repurposes a well-tread sound to something unique, dark, and, most of all, promising. The intensity of “cancer sleep” is resonant, the restraint of “retreated prime” aches with emotion, and “buried in” drives it all to the end - the last track shall remain unspoiled. Keep an eye on these dudes.
Heaven's Gate - Heaven's Gate
Heaven's Gate, a band forged with talent from Cannibal Corpse, Municipal Waste, Warthog, and Horsewhip, made a formidable entry early this year with their debut EP. The band's first single "Jerusalem Syndrome" arrived late last year with an almost prophetic intensity as its stark message orders you to 'die on command.' Even the slower moments like “Into The Sinkhole” carry a menacing weight, its deliberate pace creating a sense of impending doom that feels like it’s about to rip your face off and turn it into goo.
Lunar Chamber - Shambhallic Vibrations
Death metal needs a shake-up and Lunar Chamber knows that. This act takes death metal to new places with their blend of technicality, progressive song structures, and eschews the blood and guts of the genre for a more Cynic-meets-Gorguts theme. Amazing solos, second-to-none bass work, and despite being an EP, it feels like a complete, if succinct thought.
Thanks for checking out our list and the reasons why we loved these EPs. Come back soon for even more end-of-year content and lists!