10. The Great Heathen Army – Amon Amarth (Metal Blade, August 5, 2022)
One of my all-time favorite bands, this album represents everything that Amon Amarth have done in their long, storied career; progressive storytelling of tales and myths, but also anthemic, hook-laden tracks that stick in the mind. Amon Amarth are the KINGS of Melodic (Viking) Death Metal! They have it down to a science.
9. Opvs Contra Natvram – Behemoth (Nuclear Blast, September 16, 2022)
This album marks a new era for Behemoth. Wicked, bombastic riffs and walls of sound (like the old days) are still here, but also very dark melodies; atmospheric rage, and Nergel’s vicious vocal delivery on every single song. Excellent performance by the band, here.
8. The Devils – Belphegor (Nuclear Blast, July 29, 2022)
Haunting melodies and crushing riffs; low register gutterals and chants of ancient evil and wickedness. This is a great album that casts a spell (literally and figuratively) on the listener. More Death Metal than Black Metal, Belphegor’s new album is one I return to time after time.
7. Acts of God – Immolation (Nuclear Blast, February 18, 2022)
One of the pioneers of the NY Extreme Metal scene, Immolation have delivered an awesome album that encapsulates everything that they’re about: Relentless, technical, brutal, crunching Death Metal; but layered with groovy melodies, and Dolan’s crushing gutterals (that are both brutal and groovy).
6. The Sick, The Dying…And the Dead! – Megadeth (UMG, September 2, 2022)
The riff master, Dave Mustaine, and Megadeth are still the KINGS of Thrash! The new album features both major Megadeth styles: Blindingly fast riffs and tempos, but also catchy, mid-paced hooks, with intricate time changes and signatures. Megadeth is an unstoppable machine!
5. Deceivers – Arch Enemy (Century Media, August 12, 2022)
Masters of Melodic Death Metal, Arch Enemy capitalized on the time off (the pandemic) and released, probably, their best album to date. It’s full to overflowing in speedy riffs, harmonious hooks, and melodies by everyone in the band – individually and collectively. White-Gluz is, as always, incredible with her vocal range – from deep gutterals to soaring cleans (and even a sample of Blackened vocal delivery). Deceivers is an album you can play on repeat all day long!
4. Corpsegrinder – Corpsegrinder (Perseverance, February 25, 2022)
Come on! Everything that George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher does is gold! And his solo premiere is nothing less than awesome! He joins up with Jamie Jasta (Hatebreed) in the production roll and issues a serious ass-whoopin’. Corpsegrinder cannot help but do Death Metal, with his ferocious vocal delivery and no-nonsense, smashing cadence. Though Death Metal, this album has a heavy sense and feel of Hardcore (the Jasta influence). No time is wasted, here, as each track gets straight to the point with punishing vocal and lyrical brutality and delivery. A great album!
3. Survival of the Sickest – Bloodbath (Napalm Records, September 9, 2022)
This album is a masterpiece! The “Supergroup” deliver an awesome, pure Death Metal performance. With some of the best riffs in all of Metal, and fantastic vocal delivery via mid-range gutterals, every single song is bombastic, yet melodic; crushing and harmonious. Surprisingly, there are hooks, here, that come during the chorus. You’ll find yourself singing the chorus’ from these songs all day long. No atmospheric fillers are found on this album, just riff after beautiful riff – sometimes old school, and often a Slam riff, with bounce and brutality. These guys are masters at their craft, and are perfect in their execution.
2. Pain Remains – Lorna Shore (Century Media, October 14, 2022)
This, quite simply, is an incredible album! Lorna Shore have pushed the proverbial envelope (perhaps) as far as it can stand. Deathcore, here, is pressed to it’s logical conclusion (IMO). This album reaches out into multiple genres of Metal, particularly Black Metal, especially with Ramos’ multi-leveled and layered vocal delivery. The band deliver a perfect performance, with some of the heaviest music to date. But also, the melody comes from a track that runs through the entire album; a track which the band picks up and runs with, especially on lead guitar takeoffs. A story is being told; a concept album of sorts.
1. We Are the Apocalypse – Dark Funeral (Century Media, March 18, 2022)
These guys have been doing this a long time, and on this album, everything came together for a perfect, cataclysmic release. Dark Funeral wave the banner for classic Black Metal, but they have also evolved in their sound and song structures. Fast Tremolo Picking, on this album, is impeccable. They provide the melody, and most of the time they are the hook. I think Black Metal drummers are some of the hardest working drummers in all of Metal, and the timing and matchless work on this album are insane! (IMO) the star of this album is Heljarmadr. His vocal performance takes Dark Funeral to a whole new level. They’ve always been a solid band, but with his addition in 2015, They are now at the pinnacle of the pit. As the KINGS of Black Metal, Dark Funeral are forcing fans to take notice; not just of a band, but of a genre that is the stinking underbelly of Heavy Metal.
Honorable Mention: Patient Number 9 – Ozzy Osbourne (Epic Records, September 9, 2022) – No list in Heavy Metal is complete without The Prince of Darkness! Ozzy dropped an album that is a veritable who’s-who of the Metal community. With guest guitarists (and his guitarist, Zakk Wylde), guest bass players, and guest drummers, you know this is a solid Hard Rock/Metal album! Ozzy’s voice is still incredibly powerful, and his song writing is as quick-witted as ever. Ozzy has done so much for the Metal community, it’s great that he is still producing high quality music, and still setting the bar high!