Well then, here we are, the end of 2022 has drawn its curtains! What an absolute scorcher of a year it has been for metal albums!
It has been totally unreal.
The immense mass of talent that is embedded in each and every single musician out there, is beyond words. Words can do zero justice. Let me tell you one thing, in the eyes of myself and millions of music lovers out there, thank you. Thank you for your hard work, dedication, passion and commitment you bring when showcasing your art and creating your music.
This was a heavy duty task in all fairness, but I have rounded up my favourite 10 metal albums of the year.
Machine Head – ØF KingdØM and CrØWn
Machine Head is one of the most notorious American metal bands on the planet. Assembled by vocalist and guitarist Robb Flynn in 1991, they set their sails and released their 10th studio album, ‘ØF KingdØM and CrØWn’ via Nuclear Blast and Imperium Recordings.
Following from their 2019 album ‘Catharsis’ which wasn’t necessarily received positive, they concreted their position again with this crushing album.
‘KingdØM and CrØWn’ is a mammoth improvement. Decapitated guitarist Vogg and former Animosity/Animals as Leaders drummer Navene Koperweis, gave the overall sound a tonne of clout.
Track ‘SLAUGHTER THE MARTYR’ was my favourite track. Bursting with flexibility, it’s a bulky 10 mins of Machine Head broadcasting all their potions, it’s magnificent.
Seething Akira – NOZOMI
Ahhhh! Seething Akira, the band that brings out the huge girl fan in me! I’m not ashamed to admit it either.
Their second album release ‘Dysfunctional Wonderland’ blew my socks faithfully off. I made my assumptions, this is as best as it gets. I was wrong, of course I was.
They released their 2022 album, ‘NOZOMI’ via the multi-genre music label, FiXT. Third album in and Seething Akira executed a delivery of evolved superiority.
Tracks ‘Internal Agonist’ and ‘Punishment Instructions’ were my front runners. They got me stomping and bouncing about everywhere! Whilst doing some wild facial expressions at the same time.
Every track has its own personal aroma, offering huge assortments of variety in every single second, this band excites me.
Their spirit is pure energy, passion and love, the best bubbles. Watch this space, Seething Akira are going to explode.
No : 8
Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram
The band that explored my brain to the point of it bursting. Behemoth, the band also known to have birthed the Polish metal underground scene 1991.
‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ was their 12th album released this year and in my opinion, is their pinnacle release so far.
Produced by Behemoth and mixed by Joe Barresi, ‘Opvs Contra Natvram’ inspirations were fuelled by the embodiment of rebellion, individual and unflinching self-expression, shaped by a literary worldview. Against the negative values, morals and ethics in pop culture.
These fellas possess some serious militancy command and this album introduced us listeners to a dark fierce force not to be reckoned with.
I favoured the tracks ‘The Deathless Sun and ‘Once Upon A Pale Horse’
No : 7
Ingested – Ashes Lie Still
I have been following these fellas around the country, literally like a mad woman for years.
Mancunian loons Ingested released their 2022 album ‘Ashes Lie Still’
A lot has changed, they are now a three piece and they have mutated their music in accordance, it is even more unstoppable.
I feel completely liberated right now though, Ingested are a band I feel really passionate about. Smashing through any storm with not a scratch or dent in their approach. If anything, another level of wonderfully crafted death metal has birthed.
‘Ashes Lie Still’ holds a vast amount of harmonic atmospheres which just pour through but a huge wallop of meat remains.
There is excellence in every track but stripping the album back, ‘You’ll Never Learn’ and ‘Tides Of Glass’ are my chosen ones.
No : 6
Fit For An Autopsy – Oh What The Future Holds
New Jersey band Fit For An Autopsy are the elasticated masters of deathcore. They take their sound and they twist it with no limitations and with whole hearty confidence. Resulting in them being one of the most dominating deathcore bands to exist.
Following from ‘The Sea Of Tragic Beasts’,’Oh What The Future Holds’ is their sixth studio album released this year.
Produced by the band’s guitarist Will Putney, it holds together like putty and is remarkably intense and refined.
Track ‘Pandora’ is blistering. A favourite alongside ‘The Man That I Was Not’, which is a flood of assortments in every section.
No : 5
Add sophisticated layering of sludge and doom, throw in some prog and post metal, bash it all together and you are met with UK band Conjurer.
They stretch all the boundaries when it comes to these genres but the results are beautifully crucifying and techniques galore. A positive indulgence of grief ridden emotions that ought to be released.
Following from albums ‘Mire’ and ‘Curse These Metal Hands’ they returned with something new and something very bold. Their third album ‘Páthos’ was released via Nuclear Blast and Conjurer unholy blew it out the water.
There is growth to their sound, also adding to the mix is the loud and huge sounding production. They have always played a decent part of technical talent. Flawless when projecting their creativity which makes it totally luring and very gripping, total masters of their craft.
Let’s make art, not war.
I couldn’t choose a favourite track because every single one hits differently, it’s actually incredibly ingenious.
No : 4
Abaddon Incarnate ‘The Wretched Sermon’
Abaddon Incarnate have resurrected after 8 years with an enormous album, ‘The Wretched Sermon’
‘The Wretched Sermon’ was released via Transcending Obscurity Records and the artwork was created by Ken Coleman. This album evidently displayed their loyalty with their rooted death grind metal.
There’s been quite a gap since the release of ‘Nadir’ in 2001, we of course expect some expansion, some evolutions. So the sound of the production was steady and balanced, which is a craft in itself with this genre of metal. Much better than previous releases. They also tapped into some melodic and harmonic elements on occasion too, which resulted in black metal vibes. Overall, they have sucked and locked tight on their origin sound. It is one of the most aggressive albums I’ve witnessed listening to, right from the second it starts.
Track ‘Parasite’ was made for me, it is my chugging monster. Track ‘Isolation And Decay’ was another splendid addition.
No : 3
Malevolence ‘Malicious Intent’
Oh the band that gave an absolute onslaught at everything this year, Malevolence. They were literally everywhere.
Malevolence is their own genre, a combination of everything. Hardcore, punk, thrash, even sludge. They throw the rule book out the window. Belting.
Nuclear Blast partnered with Malevolence and their own MLVLTD label for their 2022 album release ‘Malicious Intent’. Recording took place at Tree House Studio and is of course self produced.
The mixing was handled by Carl Brown and the engineering by Jim Pinder. The artwork was created by artist Eliran Kantor.
This album will resonate with anyone searching for self reflection and progression. It is also a display of strength and an advancement of individual growth.
Putting it simply, Malevolence submitted a superlative album.
My personal favourites are the title track ‘Malicious Intent’ and ‘Karma’. These just walloped you in the face with riff after riff, filthy nasty drops and beefy breakdowns.
No : 2
Meshuggah – Immutable
Swedish time signature gods Meshuggah was formed by vocalist Jens Kidman in 1987 and released their ninth studio album ‘Immutable’.
‘Immutable’ was mixed by Rickard Bengtsson and Staffan Karlsson, mastered by Vlado Meller and the artwork was created by artist Luminokaya.
Guitarist Hagström explained that most members are in their 50s and their sound has become warmer, less harsh mids, highs in the guitars and less abrasive on the cymbals.
‘Immutable’ is a perfect fit for where they are at as a band in the present.
The first single released from ‘Immutable’ was ‘The Abysmal Eye’ and I’ll not lie, it’s a downright knockout and my favourite.
It’s got the Meshuggah grooves and hurls a huge impact. I did miss this band a lot and it pleased me greatly to indulge in their new vibe.
The execution of both guitarists Fredrik Thordendal and Mårten Hagström throughout is fascinatingly savage. They glide over Tomas Haakes’s precise drums and it all makes a perfect cake. Delightful.
No : 1
Psycroptic – Divine Council
This was not a walk in the park! It was a tough decision but I found myself gravitating towards this album every time I had a moment. ‘Divine Council’ from the Australian tech death legends, Psycroptic.
‘Divine Council’ is their eighth album and it is so much more than I expected. Of course 23 years together is going to yield a bond so tight.
This creation is vastly complex but it’s extremely smooth, just like butter at room temperature.
The record was produced by Psycroptic, mixed and mastered by Joe Haley and the artwork was created by Eliran Kantor.
Tracks ‘Rend Asunder’ and ‘Enslavement’ lit a familiar flame with components of their previous releases and these are my favourites.
‘Divine Council’ is a fast, hard hitting, controlled, beautiful chaos.
This is only a snippet of superb releases this year, it’s been phenomenal.
Roll on 2023, it’s gonna be most excellent. ✌️
Happy New Year!
Reviewed by Tammy Lomax for MPM