It’s that time of year for album lists. For me, things snapped into place pretty easy this year. I haven’t had to deliberate much on what should be here or what order it should go in.
Most of this stuff hasn’t really been discussed here, beyond a glimpse from one of my preview posts. I’ve only discussed two of these albums at length this year and a few weren’t mentioned at all. Covering new music is tough and requires a lot of time so it’s something I do very sparingly.
Last year I split this up and gave the album of the year its own post, this year I’m keeping it simple and doing everything at once. Let’s get to it and see where all this stuff ranks.
10: High Command – Eclipse Of The Dual Moons
This is some very nice dirty thrash that also pulls influence from a lot of ’80’s metal legends and also incorporates a fantasy story arc across its lyrics. It can be enjoyed on a surface level for its great music and can also be explored further for the story. Really great stuff here.
9: Witch Fever – Congregation
This is the debut full-length from a group billed as punk but playing a harsh version of doom, noise and grunge. The album takes aim at institutions of power, especially religion. It’s a great, pretty unique sound Witch Fever have going on here and hopefully there are great things to come for the English group.
8: Undeath – It’s Time … To Rise From The Grave
What’s old is new again, and this year old school death metal returned in a big way. That was thanks in large part to Undeath and their much-hyped second album. This album slots in nicely alongside the death metal classics of the early ’90’s and is a signpost for a new generation of death metal mayhem.
7: Lorna Shore – Pain Remains
This was one of the most anticipated releases of the year after the hype over To The Hellfire in 2021 went to a whole new level for deathcore. Lorna Shore delivered by avoiding the trap of trying to recreate what they did a year prior and mixing things up a bit. The ending Pain Remains trilogy of songs is some majestic stuff.
6: Mother Of Graves – Where The Shadows Adorn
It’s been awhile since I’ve heard some good death/doom, yet here it is in a new form from a newer group out of Indiana. This hits all the right notes and shows its influences while still very much being its own thing. A really great album that, in a way, kind of came out of nowhere.
5: Blind Guardian – The God Machine
The German power metal legends returned with their first proper studio album in seven years and they came back in a huge way. This album is very to the point and direct, no mucking around here. The band haven’t lost their touch and have re-explored some of the speed metal elements of their earlier career. This album is a true highlight of an already impressive catalog.
4: Chat Pile – God’s Country
Chat Pile had built a healthy amount of buzz over the past few years and delivered on that this year with their first full-length record. This sludge/noise offering is a disturbing listen that looks at the less savory side of life in Oklahoma and nails the perspective. The music and themes aren’t for everyone but those who get it, get it.
3: Lamb Of God – Omens
I was one of several who had thought Lamb Of God’s best days were behind them, I hadn’t been wowed by a release in quite awhile. All of that is out the window now – Omens is a sharp, stark return to form for the groove metal legends. This is an ass kicking from start to finish and I was totally blown away by it.
Omens is the only album from this list that I covered as an Album Of The Week, that post is here.
2: Scorpions – Rock Believer
Now, you want to talk being surprised and impressed by some old dogs? The Scorpions coming out in 2022 with this absolutely killer set of tunes was not something I saw happening. While they’ve had some moments in the past few decades, this band was long thought to be in their twilight. But no, they totally reinvigorated their sound and came out fresh despite being literally older than dirt. Klaus Meine sounds fantastic here and he’s older than a lot of old rock singers that have lost their voices. And the songs are some of the best they’ve done in a long, long time.
I did cover this album in more detail a bit after its release, here is that post.
Album Of The Year 2022
Cave In – Heavy Pendulum
The New England group known through the 2000’s for metalcore, post-rock and/or whatever you want to call it had been quiet through the 2010’s and suffered the loss of bassist Caleb Scofield in a car accident in 2018. The band reconvened with Converge bassist Nate Newton handling those duties and recorded their return album through the course of the pandemic.
Cave In’s return was nothing short of a massive success. Heavy Pendulum visits all points of Cave In’s past and works with a variety of sounds to shape concepts in the 2020’s. It’s a monster of an album at 71 minutes but everything here works, especially the epic album closer Wavering Angel. The bag of riffs on this album is of insane size and visits about every kind of rock and metal you can think of.
That wraps it up for the 2022 stuff. I did more last year but I think just doing the album list is fine enough. Only a few weeks until it’s time to stary worrying about what 2023’s top albums will be.