Among the most in-demand producers in the space of heavy music, few people are as talented and as prolific as Will Putney. Renowned for his ability to draw the best out of the artists he is working with, his skilled as a recording engineer, and his ability to craft dynamic music as a songwriter in his own right, Putney's association has often become the Midas Touch in the circles of hardcore and metal.
Just this year alone, Putney's craftsmanship can be experienced on standout albums including Vein.FM's This World Is Going to Ruin You and A Eulogy For Those Still Here from Counterparts - all in addition to as his own endeavors as both musician and producer like the colossal Oh What the Future Holds from Fit For An Autopsy. We haven't even begun to list his mixing and mastering accolades. (Definitely check Lullabies for Eternal Sleep from APES for reference.)
All this emphasize, who better to give his assessment of the overall health of the year ending in heavy music? With comprehensive understanding of the culture, a teflon body fo work as a songwriter with Fit For An Autopsy and END, all in addition to his years of commitment to his craft, there is a level of expertise that Putney has that makes his top 10 list something significantly special.
Knotfest scored some time with the important contributor to heavy culture to get his best of 2022 list. No surprise, every entry was absolute winner. Check Will Putney's Top 10 of 2022 below.
Cult Of Luna - The Long Road North (Metal Blade Records)
Putney - Just the pinnacle of post metal at the moment. Super vibey, excellent production, ominous and aggressive without being overbearing. The full realization of a powerful band. Album of the year for me.
Zeal & Ardor - Zeal & Ardor (MVKA Records)
Putney - Manuel has such a unique vocal style and this record stretches the boundaries of what’s obtainable in extreme music. There’s a lot of variety to keep it interesting, but at its core this is very focused and full of intent. Was a blast to work on too.
Halsey - If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power (Capitol Records)
Putney - Being the Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross super fan that I am, I didn’t know what to expect with this collaboration, but it was extremely satisfying to hear their production take in such a pop context. Halsey’s honesty and unique approach to the genre really shines and the performances are dripping with character.
Author & Punisher - Krüller (Relapse Records)
Putney - I really like the previous LP Beastland and was expecting more of the same from this record, but the shift to new melodic incorporations was such a nice surprise. He’s showing more range and this record is really imprinting Tristan as one of the leaders in the industrial space.
Conjurer - Pàthos (Nuclear Blast Records)
Putney - A very eclectic doom / shoegaze / blackened / heavy / etc. record that touches on the finest moments in a lot of sub genres. Really great players with a lot to contribute to the world of extreme music. I had a lot of fun working on this record as well.
Cave In - Heavy Pendulum (Relapse Records)
Putney - One of my favorite bands returning with a great one. The addition of Nate on bass is immediately appreciated throughout the record. Cool guitar work, lovely vocal melodies. The more time I spend with this album the more I can appreciate the depth of this band. They really never miss.
Cloud Rat - Do Not Let Me Off The Cliff (Artoffact Records)
Putney - This was the big curveball of the year for me. I had always enjoyed the grind/chaos of this Cloud Rat but this drastic switch to electronics and softer deliveries was super surprising and welcome. Love the haunting vocals and moodiness. I’ve got to spend more time with their new LP which is a return to form but man this band has range.
Wake - Swallow The Light (Metal Blade Records)
Putney - Wake really is coming into their own. This is a very underrated example of how to keep extreme metal from sounding stale. It was nice to see them lean more into the spacious and somber guitar work on this record. I feel like anyone who can appreciate melodic blackened metal should adore this record.
Health - Disco4 Pt. II (Loma Vista Recordings)
Putney - A fun collab record with a wide variety of artists helmed by Health’s signature sound. There’s a few misses on this one for me but I can still appreciate the collaborative and creative spirit. And the stand out tracks (Still Breathing, Isn’t Everyone, No Escape, etc.) were some of my favorite songs to jam this year.
END / Cult Leader - Gather & Mourn (Closed Casket Activities /Deathwish)
Putney - Some shameless self promotion for END but who cares. Cult Leader is one of my favorite aggressive bands and the chance to work together on a record was awesome. END had a lot of fun putting our side of the split together and showing some new dynamics. Having Manuel from Zeal & Ardor guest, as well as working with all other parties involved in this joint release made it a very rewarding experience for me.