Somehow, right under our noses, half of 2022 is gone. Already, this year has been filled with crazier stuff than we could have imagined, from the invasion of Ukraine to the unthinkable loss of one of extreme metal’s most beloved musicians. None of us were ready for what 2022 had to offer, and now that we’re here in mid-July, none of us are ready for it to be half over.
However, while this year has been brimming with chaos and tragedy, it has also featured a ton of awesome new records. So we reached out to our staff to find out which albums they thought were, so far, the best of 2022. Here’s what they gave us…
Vinnie Bellissimo – Daily Contributor
Soul Glo, Diaspora issues (Epitaph)
I know Soul Glo’s Diaspora issues isn’t really a metal record, but it is without a doubt one of the most interesting and challenging extreme records of recent years. Combining vicious hardcore punk and extreme metal with noise and hip hop, Diapsore problems is perhaps the most consistent example of an extreme artist incorporating these influences.
Singer Pierce Jordan is a star, baring his soul through painfully real lyrics without ever compromising his ferocious delivery. The words he raps and shouts are dense, making each guest vocalist a unique and welcome inclusion. Diaspora issues is a record that viscerally expands the vocabulary of extreme music.
Blut Aus North – Disharmonium – Unimaginable Chasms
Midnight – Let there be witchcraft
Eight bells – Legacy of Ruin
Tzompantli – Tlazcaltiliztli
Retrograde – Psychic Rot
Mizmor & You – Myopia
Terror – power pain
R. Dyer – Contributor
Raw Carpenter, leather terror (No quarterly productions)
For me, there’s only one choice for album of the year so far.– “Choose the pill!” Carpenter Brut is one of those artists that, to me, has extremely high replay value. With his previous Trilogy compilation, I must have played this album at least 100 times – in the shower, at the gym, while shitting, there were songs that were perfect for any situation. With leather terror (and his previous EP Leather teeth), the same review value is undeniable – guest vocalists make their songs stand out from the rest, while those that are simply Carpenter Brut range from full firepower (“Straight Outta Hell”) to almost trance (“ Night Prowler”). It’s not completely and utterly and purely metal, no, but if you took the plunge and bought The downward spiral as a teenager, even though you were suspicious that it was kind of electronic and you just wanted guitars, leather terror is the new album to bridge that fanbase gap, a good decade after synthwave first showed its face to the world.
Jillian Drachman – Contributor
Khold, Svartsyn (Soulseller Records)
Khold continues its tradition of producing “Masterpiss[es] pain” with Svartsyn. Call this surprisingly groovy album ‘black n’ roll’ if you want, but to us it’s True Norwegian Black Metal. Chiseled by the ravages of time, the Khold use their age, weariness, and knowledge to their advantage. Ironically, the sense of mileage traveled by Khold’s warriors lets you know we’ve arrived in 2022. SvartsynThe authoritative tone of BM makes it clear that you’re listening to BM’s greatest surviving heroes.
For more non-commercial BMs, check out Deathiah Manifesto — a split between Black Altar and Vulture Lord — and Djevelkult’s Drep go guter. Speaking of the devil, expect Nordjevel’s latest effort, Gnavhol, this September. Place your orders for Länge Leve Döden by Niklas Kvarforth’s supergroup Høstsol. Kvarforth’s Shining will also be releasing a new album very soon.
Drew Nesbitt – Contributor, Photographer
Pyrite, Monuments to impermanence (Gilead)
Imagine putting on a wrap-around straitjacket — of your own free will. Then having a mermaid pulls you into a sailor’s nightmare, in which you are towed, dragged through a flooded chasm. No breath is needed to survive, as the chasms provide claustrophobia from within and push against the walls of life even inside of you. You are moving through consciousness, and yet you are awake in the caverns of what could only be described as a haven of beauty in the weightless nature of these depths. As your descent begins, the equalization occurs through the pressure of the very matter that comes into contact with your being. The unknown below is of no concern, as much as the bonds that keep you from escaping the pressure of unseen anxieties.
This sludge trio composed of Z. Weston, John Kerr and Z. Miller outlines a real dive into uncharted territory, with many experimental elements that have deeply marked my way of perceiving the world of heavy music. The feeling that I could get a feeling of water crashing down on me while listening to this craziness was a standalone experience that I had never had. The ability to drive and paint such an uncontrollable force of nature in this way was a big reason I enjoyed it so much. By far my favorite album so far for the year.
Emperor Rhombus – Editor-in-Chief
Spire, Bathe the baby in the blood of bats (Hell’s Headbangers)
Ultimately, I look for three things in a metal record: hard-hitting riffs, a lack of self-awareness on the part of its creators, and a healthy appreciation of Dracula. And in 2022, no album has served these three things more satisfactorily than Spiter’s. Bathe the baby in the blood of bats. Filled with killer, catchy, and memorable thrash tracks about being a horny, satan-worshipping vampiric lord, this record is like a heavy metal dream, an embodiment of everything that makes the genre great and everything that foreigners think about it. Hi Dracula, hi Satan, hi Spiter.