(Andy Synn kicks “List Week” into gear properly with a hefty collection of albums which, while maybe not top-tier – though some come very close – all have something to offer to the discerning metalhead)
Those of you who’ve been with us for a while will already be aware, but the primary purpose of this article is to serve as a resource for albums that you may not have been able (or willing) to listen to over the course of the last twelve months. It’s not ranked (obviously) but it is broken up into sections that should, hopefully, help you navigate by whatever different styles or sub-genres you’re most interested in, with links provided so you can listen to them at your convenience.
To save you any surprise, I’ll let you know right now that you’re not going to be seeing many of the “big” names – Arch Enemy, Amon Amarth, Behemoth, Decapitated, Machine Head, etc – here, both because they don’t really need any attention for us (I’d much rather focus on bands who don’t get even 1/10th the same amount of coverage) and because, to be brutally honest, I didn’t think any of them were particularly good…
You’ll also note the absence of some of the year’s most hyped releases (Chat Pile, Lorna Shore, Obsidious, Callous Daoboys) that, to be quite honest, just didn’t do anything for me, and I’m sure there are heaps of other albums that are going to be missing too, including a few (most notably the new Misþyrming) that I’m hoping to get around to writing about in the next few weeks.
That being said, if you don’t see something here that you expected, then don’t fly off the handle just yet… there’s still tomorrow’s list of the “Great” albums to come, and you might be pleasantly surprised as to what I’ve included in the top tier this year!
Until then, however, here’s 250-ish albums here for you all to check out, all of which have at least something to offer if you’re willing to give them a shot.
STAKING THEIR CLAIM (PART 1)
While there may not have been many “big” names that impressed me this year, 2022 was certainly a good year for new bands making one hell of a first impression… so much so, in fact, that I’ve had to split this section up into two parts just to accommodate them all!
And while, obviously, I urge everyone to check out as many of these releases as they can, I would encourage you all to give some extra special attention to the extremely promising first album from indigenous Black Metal insurgent Blackbraid, the proggy post-genre antics of Cobra The Impaler, and new names on the Death Metal scene like Azaab, Blood Court, Castrator, and Devoid of Life.
Azaab – Summoning the Cataclysm
Blackbraid – Blackbraid I
Blood Court – Profane Purgatory
Castrator – Defiled In Oblivion
Cavernous Gate – Voices From a Fathomless Realm
Claimstaker – Bury Us In Shadows
Cobra the Impaler – Colossal Gods
Come to Grief – When the World Dies
Dead Void – Volatile Forms
Decasion – Instilling the Decayed Obsession
Desiccation – Cold Death Earth
Devoid of Life – Embracing Emptiness
Entgeist – Res Gestae
Golgothan – Leech
The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost
Intus Mortem – Exiled From Light
Maentra – Kundalini Rising
Mathan – Darkroot Tzantza
STAKING THEIR CLAIM (PART 2)
.And since we’re still talking about new bands and new albums, I’d like to add some more recommendations for the likes of the Hardcore-infused Death Metal debut of Neolithic (one of my favourite new discoveries of the year), the malevolent Blackened Death discordance of Out of the Mouth of Graves, the morbidly melodic doom ‘n’ gloom of Qaalm, and the furious Black Metal barrage of Suntold, among many, many more.
Neolithic – Shattering Vessels
Old Skull – The Cult
Out of the Mouth of Graves – Harbinger Unceremonious
Patroness – Fatum
Qaalm – Resilience & Despair
Spectrum Mortis – Bit Miseri – The Incantation
SubOrbital – Planetary Disruption
Suntold – World Torn Asunder
Upon A Field’s Whisper – Sorry For Your Loss
Vanhävd – Vila
Vittra – Blasphemy Blues
Voak – Verdrängung
Voimaton – Profane Vestige
Vormir – Celestial Carnage
Writhing – Of Earth & Flesh
LORDS OF THE RIFF
There were, however, a few “big” (or “bigger”) names – by Metal standards at least – who managed to grab my attention this year, from deservedly-hyped up-and-comers like High Command and Mass Worship, to living-legends like Kreator and scene standard-bearers Lamb of God (whose new album is actually really good, even if it could have used a couple of faster numbers to really put it over the top), Goatwhore, and Meshuggah.
Darkane – Inhuman Spirits
Funeral Chic – Roman Candle
Goatwhore – Angels Hung From the Arches of Heaven
High Command – Eclipse of the Dual Moons
Kreator – Hate Uber Alles
Lamb of God – Omens
Mass Worship – Portal Tombs
Meshuggah – Immutable
Nightrage – Abyss Rising
Rammstein – Zeit
Witchery – Nightside
GREEN AND PLEASANT BANDS
Once again the home-grown scene here in the UK didn’t disappoint this year, with new albums from the likes of Ante-Inferno (whose latest album really does mark them out as rising stars in the UK Black Metal scene, to the point where I fully expect their next record to be an absolute shoe-in for my “Great” list), Gozer (whose atmospheric, post-metallic soundscapes grow more rewarding with every listen) and those fearlessly anti-fascist Death/Black/Thrash dealers in Tyrannus, all demonstrating why “British Steel” is just as strong as ever.
Ante-Inferno – Antediluvian Dreamscapes
Bastions – Majestic Desolation
Battalions – King of a Dead World
Everest Queen – Murmurations
The Ever Living – Artificial Devices
Gozer – An Endless Static
Grave Lines – Communion
Imperium – Ex Mortis Gloria
Kurokuma – Born of Obsidian
Live Burial – Curse of the Forlorn
Mountainscape – Atoms Unfurling
Sidious – Blackest Insurrection
Terra – Für Dich Existiert Das Alles Nicht
Thundering Hooves – Radiance
Torchbearer – Solace
Tuskar – Matriarch
Tyrannus – Unslayable
Vacuous – Dreams of Dysphoria
ONLY DEATH IS REAL
This year was a big one for Death Metal, there’s no doubt about that. However, some of you may be surprised (even a little upset) at the inclusion of both highly-hyped releases (such as the new Undeath album) and some more established icons (Immolation, The Chasm) on this list, rather than my “Great” one.
Don’t take it too badly though – they’re still good albums, even if they didn’t quite make the cut for the top-tier this year (although The Chasm came very close, and Immolation probably would have made it if they’d split up Acts of God into an album and an EP). And also don’t let that dissuade you from checking out some of the other really good records featured in this section, especially the unashamed Old-School riff-worship of the new Iron Flesh, the furious, the Crust-Punk inspired attack of Nequient, the soul-crushing claustrophobia of Triumvir Foul, and the twisted riffosity of Virocracy‘s Ecophagia.
Bloodbath – Survival of the Sickest
Brood of Hatred – The Golden Age
Casket Robbery – Rituals of Death
The Chasm – The Scars of a Lost Reflective Shadow
Cosmic Putrefaction – Crepuscular Dirge for the Blessed Ones
Descent – Order of Chaos
Deserted Fear – Doomsday
Desolate Shrine – Fires of the Dying World
Golgothan Remains – Adorned In Ruin
Immolation – Acts of God
Iron Flesh – Limb After Limb
Jade – The Pacification of Death
Mortify – Fragments at the Edge of Sorrow
Mycelium – Mycoticism: Disseminating the Propagules
Near Death Condition – Ascent from the Mundane
Nequient – Darker Than Death or Night
Revolting – Born to be Dead
Scalpture – Feldwärts
Shed the Skin – Thaumogenesis
Swarn – Whispers From Beyond
Torturized – Aftermath
Triumvir Foul – Onslaught to Seraphim
Unbounded Terror – Echoes of Despair
Undeath – It’s Time… to Rise from the Grave
Virocracy – Ecophagia
Wayward Dawn – All-Consuming Void
Xaoc – Proxime Mortis
DISSONANT BRUTALITY, PROGRESSIVE TECHNICALITY
There was no lack of bands pushing the extreme edges of Death Metal this year either, from dissonant deviants (Acausal Intrusion, Daemogog, Voidthrone, etc) and shameless brutalists (Harlequin, Thanatophobia) to eye-popping velocity-worshippers like Exocrine and Origin, angular riff-manglers such as Soreption, and progressive boundary-pushing of Warforged (whose new album, a much more focussed and refined effort than their debut, only narrowly missed out on a place on tomorrow’s “Great” list) to name but a few.
Acausal Intrusion – Seeping Evocation
Arkaik – Labyrinth of Hungry Ghosts
Daemogog – Yawning Expanse Yearning
Exocrine – The Hybrid Suns
Grand Old Wrath – Every Man For Himself
Harlequin – Origin of Suffering
Inanimate Existence – The Masquerade
Inverted Matter – Harbinger
Neurotic Machinery – A Loathsome Aberration
Obvurt – Triumph Beyond Adversity
Order Ov Riven Cathedrals – Absolute
Origin – Chaosmos
Raster Density – Apothecary’s Tome ov Depravity and Filth
Red Rot – Mal de Vivre
Scarcity – Aveilut
Sensory Amusia – Breed Death
Thanatophobia – Rebirth Through Destruction
Soreption – Jord
Voidthrone – Metaphysical Degradation
Warforged – The Grove | Sundial
One thing which surprised me when putting together this list is just how much “Blackened Death Metal” – in all its various, unapologetically vicious, forms – I ended up listening to this year, from devastating debuts from the likes of Basatan, Cut, and Worn Mantle to new doses of nastiness from more established artists such as Altarage (yes, I’ve heard it, yes, I really liked it), Belphegor, and Noctem, as well as two of my personal favourites – Persecutory‘s superb Summoning the Lawless Legions and Renunciation‘s more melodic, but equally merciless, Autelmorte.
Altarage – Sol Corrupto
Althotas – Wooden Torment
Basatan – Annihilation Dogma
Belphegor – The Devils
Cult of Extinction – Gnosis of the Wicked
Cut – Vanquish the Weak
Hamvak – Maelstrom of Abhorrent Incantations
Hierophant – Death Siege
Hussar – All-Consuming Hunger
Morkera – Entangled Excavations
Noctem – Credo Certe Ne Cras
Nocturnis – Unsegen
Perish – The Decline
Persecutory – Summoning the Lawless Legions
Renunciation – Autelmorte
Worn Mantle – Worn Mantle
Of course, if your tastes are even more inclined towards Black Metal, then 2022 also served up a smorgasbord of malevolent metallic morsels, both from big name devils (Dark Funeral) and lesser-known demons (Ligfaerd).
And while there’s a lot of good stuff here that you should check out, I’d like to put in an extra good word for the new Bâ’a, Feral Lord, and Tyranny Enthroned albums (the latter of which is probably one of my personal favourite Black Metal albums of the year)
Aethyrick – Pilgrimage
Bâ’a – Egregore
Bezwering – Dodenkroning
Calvana – III┼
Corpus Christii – The Bitter End of Old
Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse
Denouncement Pyre – Forever Burning
Downcross – Hexapoda Triumph
Faceless Entity – The Great Anguish of Rapture
Feral Lord – Vires in Absoluto
Firtan – Marter
From The Vastland – Taurvi
FT-17 – Aisne 1914
Hats Barn – Y.a.HW.e.H.
Hyrgal – Hyrgal
Incandescence – Le Couer De L’Homme
Khold – Svartsyn
Liber Null – For Whom is the Night
Ligfaerd – Salvator Mundi
Liminal Shroud – All Virtues Ablaze
Mo’ynoq – A Place for Ash
Non Est Deus – Impious
Nordjevel – Gnavhòl
Stiriah – …Of Light
Temple of Nihil – Psalms of the Omnivorous Flame
The Spirit – Of Clarity and Galactic Structures
Thrall – Schisms
Tyranny Enthroned – The Infernal Summoning
Umbra Conscientia – Nigredine Mundi
Unru – Die Wiederkehr des Verdrängten
Wesenwille – III: The Great Light Above
Wiegedood – There’s Always Blood At The End of the Road
CLAD IN SHADOWS
If you’re one of those odd folks (like me) who also likes your Black Metal mixed in with some other elements, then this year also served you a bevy of riches, whether you like your Black Metal flavoured with suffocating Sludge (Axioma, Celeste), shimmering atmosphere (Falls of Rauros, Pure Wrath), a harsher, more Hardcore-sharpened edge (Hexis, Terzij de Horde), or any other number of intriguing approaches.
A Pale December – Death Panacea
Axioma – Sepsis
Celeste – Assassine(s)
Constellatia – Magisterial Romance
Falls of Rauros – Key to a Vanishing Future
Hexis – Aeternum
Izthmi – Leaving This World, Leaving It All Behind
Kalt – Hybris
Lascar – Presence
Orm – Intet • Altet
Pure Wrath – Hymn to the Woeful Hearts
Terzij De Horde – In One of These, I Am Your Enemy
WEIRD, WARPED, AND WICKED
If you like your Black Metal even further out on the fringes, however, then may I recommend bending your ear to both the neo-noir nihilism of Aenaon‘s new record, Mnemosyne (which came very close to cracking my “Great” list) and the dreamy jazz-doom of Cthonian Transmissions by Katharos XII? Or perhaps you’d prefer the unexpected twists and turns of Meslamtaea‘s Weemoedsklanken or Esoctrilihum‘s Consecration of the Spirit (one of two full length albums produced by this ever-prolific project this year, although, sadly, the only one I had time to fully check out)?
Aenaon – Mnemosyne
Esoctrilihum – Consecration of the Spirit
Idol of Fear – Trespasser
Katharos XIII – Chthonian Transmissions
Krallice – Crystalline Exhaustion
Maladie – Wound of Gods
Meslamtaea – Weemoedsklanken
Veilburner – VLBRNR
HEARTFELT AND HARD-HITTING
There’s no question that 2022 was a very good year for Hardcore, in all its various forms – so much so, in fact, that I feel like I barely scratched the surface of what was on offer.
But what I did hear, I really enjoyed (and you’ll get to read about even more examples tomorrow), from the melodic muscle of Age of Apocalypse and the unconventional approach of arthouse Prog-Punks Birds In Row to the unforgiving metallic punishment of the likes of Beyond the Styx and Simulakra and the more “blackened” belligerence of Pilori and Post-Screamo quintet Throwing Bricks.
Age of Apocalypse – Grim Wisdom
Antagonist A.D. – Through Fire All Things Are Renewed
Beyond the Styx – Sentence
Birds In Row – Gris Klein
Dead Tired – Satan Will Follow You Home
Glass Ox – Winds of Violence
Pilori – Quand Bien Même L’Enfer et le Déluge S’abattraient sur Nous
Simulakra – The Infection Spreads
Throwe – Forfald
Throwing Bricks – The Burden
Trenches – Reckoner
BREAKING DOWN AND BREAKING BONES
And while I know Deathcore is a dirty word to some of you, I’ll be damned if this particular sub-genre didn’t drop some serious bombs (in a good way) this year, with the brutish Mercy Denied by Acranius, the tempestuous technicality of The Mangled God by Discovery Through Torment, and Suffer‘s absolutely crushing The Sorrow We Sow, The Hatred We Know all making a big impression.
Acranius – Mercy Denied
Cabal – Magno Interitus
Discovery Through Torment – The Mangled God
Fragda – Damnation Is Inevitable
Null Valley – Null Valley
Phasma – Epiales
Suffer – The Sorrow We Sow, The Hatred We Know
Wretched Tongues – Ulter Praefinitum
TO PROG OR NOT TO PROG
The proggier end of the spectrum continued to demonstrate its many brilliant facets this year too, with everyone from big names like In The Woods and Oceans of Slumber to lesser-known lights like Progressive Death Metallers Dychromia, Thrashy fret-benders Vorbid, and hyper-modern Post-Djent types The Interbeing all demonstrating new sides to their sounds over the course of the last twelve months.
Disharmony – Gods Made of Flesh
Dreadnought – The Endless
Dychromia – The Dangers of Curiosity
In The Woods – Diversum
Kardashev – Liminal Rite
Moon Tooth –Phototroph
Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash
Persefone – Metanoia
Sikasa – Matter Earth
Soilwork – Övergivenheten
The Interbeing – Icon of the Hopeless
Vorbid – A Swan by the Edge of Mandala
WAIT – The End of Noise
Xaon – The Lethean
If you’re looking for Post-Metal then 2022 definitely had you covered, from less well-known names – such as Grief Circle and Maunra (both of whom were among my favourite new discoveries this year) – to long-awaited returns from the likes of Chrome Ghost and Ire Wolves, as well as some impressive output from ongoing NCS favourites like Hegemone and Minuala (whose latest album found the band shifting their riffy, Blackened Metalcore sound towards a more melodic, Post-Metal inspired approach).
Abraham – Débris de Mondes Perdus
Chrome Ghost – House of Falling Ash
Distraction – Lost In Time / Lost In Madness
Grief Circle – Weightless
Hegemone – Voyance
Ire Wolves – Heritage
Locrian – New Catastrophism
Maunra – Monarch
Minuala – Минута до смерти
Mountaineer – Giving Up The Ghost
Novarupta – Carrion Movements
Otus – Torch
SWIMMING IN SLUDGE
For thick riffs, ugly emotions, and gut-wrenching grooves then look no further than the new albums from Armed For Apocalypse and Behold! The Monolith, whereas if you want all that but with an even gloomier, doomier vibe, then you need to give the latest Foehammer and Process of Guilt records a listen ASAP.
On the other hand, if you like your Sludge a bit proggier, then maybe Ashbreather‘s latest will be the one for you. Or perhaps the more Industrial-infused sound of Lament Cityscape or the heavyweight, Hardcore-infused delivery of Sunstare will be more your speed?
Armed For Apocalypse – Ritual Violence
Ashbreather – Hivemind
Behold! The Monolith – From the Fathomless Deep
Black Royal – Earthbound
Foehammer – Monumentum
Gospel of the Future – Blowtorch Mankind
Lament Cityscape – A Darker Discharge
Process of Guilt – Slaves Beneath the Sun
Sky Pig – It Thrives in Darkness
Sundowning – In The Light of Defeat, I Cease to Exist
Sunstare – Ziusudra
DOOM IS ETERNAL
Last, but by no means least, those of you of a more doomy disposition should also have a lot of stuff to check out – and whether you like your Doom with a side of Death Metal (Acid Witch, Konvent), or with a mix of deathly power and progressive melody (In Loving Memory, The Chapter) or even with more of an “epic” vibe (Monasterium) then you should have no trouble finding something here to really sink your teeth into!
Acid Witch – Rot Among Us
Dream Unending – Song of Salvation
Epitaphe – Epitaphe II
Forlesen – Black Terrain
In Loving Memory – The Withering
Konvent – Call Down The Sun
Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu
Monasterium – Cold Are the Graves
Monolithe – Kosmodrom
Sahg – Born Demon
Sidus Atrum – Spiral of Life
The Chapter – Delusion of Consciousness
Let me close by saying that even though these particular artists/albums didn’t make my “Great” list there are so many records here that I absolutely loved – Bury Us In Shadows, Unslayable, Breed Death, Entangled Excavations, Gods Made of Flesh – that I really hope some of you take the time to go through all the various albums linked here.
Because while, on the surface at least, 2022 may not have produced as many instantly stunning albums as previous years (though that’s certainly up for debate) there are some real hidden gems here, for those willing to give them a chance.
Ya I loved the albums from Claimstaker and The Chapter, and you are the only one I’ve seen mention them ANYWHERE, so thank you for reviewing them, because otherwise I’d have never heard of them.
You’re very welcome (sorry for the delayed reply, it’s been a busy couple of days!).
Wow, if this is just “the good”, I’m impatient to read about “the great”. Many great albums for me here. High Command made my autumn. And I couldn’t stop listening to Scarcity for two months…
High Command *was* very close to making the “Great” list. It just didn’t *quite* make it over the line. Really good album though. Very much deserving of all the attention it’s been getting.
Holy SHIT, thank you for sharing Blackbraid. Within seconds of the opening riff I fell in love. This is why I look forward to your lists every year, there’s always something I missed. And I still have so many more bands to go through on this list, haha! Thanks again.
You’re welcome. It’s a really good first statement by a band/artists I am expecting bigger and better things from already.
Digging through all of this in the next few days, thanks! Looking forward to Great.
You’re also welcome. One of the main reasons for doing this article this way is so people can bookmark it and come back to it at their leisure and work their way through them all. There’s far too many to imbibe in one go, after all.
Andy, I don’t think we ever got your thoughts on ‘Cancer Culture’ by Decapitated. I always look forward to your Decap reviews, but looks like you opted to bypass this one. Anything you’re willing to share?
Long story short, there’s maybe enough good songs for an EP, in amongst a lot of generic, half-assed songwriting that seems like it’s just trying to tick as many “boxes” as possible.
See no point in this list. Its more like clustering nearly all 2022 Releases than exhibiting the real highlights of the year.
Well done Christian, you have in fact cleverly hit upon the exact point I made in the very first sentence.
As always a big thanks for these lists Andy, a superhuman effort. Loads of releases here I would’ve otherwise missed.
Happy to see Golgothan Remains appear – a ripper of an album!
You’re very welcome. And, yes, it is, isn’t it? I’ve seen it pop up in a handful of places, but not nearly enough.
As always, thanks Andy. Thanks a lot. “Autelmorte” by Renunciation and “The Infernal Summoning” by Tyranny Enthroned are my new lovely discoveries!!!
Always happy to hear when someone has made a new discovery (or two) after reading these articles. Really glad you like them (I am particularly fond of “The Infernal Summoning” myself, too).
I’ve listened to 167 albums that came out this year and only 28 are here. So much good shit left to hear <3