Consider for a moment the blessed wealth of material us hessians have at our disposal in what are remarkable, unforeseen times. Roughly 8,000 full-length, original heavy metal albums were released in this mildly dystopian year of 2022. There were so many, I almost didn’t bother to compile this list and write the attendant article, but I decided to press on in the face of a difficult time, realizing that music helped all of us, me included, fight through it. Metal in particular tends to have that property, supernatural element of sound that it is. This year, I have curated a list 135 albums long, which is unprecedented. Each year, I think I’ll have less albums than I had previously only to end up surpassing last year’s number. And I may add more! This article/list is a living document! As a young, fledgling teenage hellion of the late 1980’s, I could have never predicted it. Incredible.
Once again, myriad genres and subgenres were duly represented. From the melodic, sleek, complicated, virtuous, inventive, and harmonious to the nefarious, dirty, savage, primal, austere, and brutal, bands and artists from across the world brought us light and darkness in equal parts. It was as if the collective, foremost goal of metalkind was to try and provide some manner of cosmic balance in all of our lives as well as to show humanity everything that the phenomenon of heavy metal can be. The past 12 months in metal have been inspiring on a number of levels, but if nothing else, the metal universe proved that our form of music doesn’t die; it adapts, evolves, grows, resists, defies, and withstands. Furthermore, it worships and defends its past as much as it welcomes its future with fists and horns directed skyward.
As I do each year when composing these articles, I have to thank Encyclopedia Metallum/The Metal Archives for being the massive resource that it is and has been for so long. My year-end pieces would be greatly hampered without its existence. At the very least, it provides a way for people to learn about bands old and new. Speaking of which, the cross-generational participation was in effect also. Young hotshots and grizzled veterans alike made music as though they all had something to prove as well as teach each other, competition and camaraderie meeting head-on to create glorious explosions for the galaxy to witness in awe. With astonishing origin stories, dramatic, shocking returns from long exiles, thrilling comebacks, heroic power/trad metal campaigns, and extreme metal crimewaves, 2022 had it all.
Be sure to click on the hyperlinks I’ve painstakingly woven into the body of the list for each entry. Or look for these releases online and in the wilds of retail. Lurk the aisles of a record shop once in a while! You never know what you might find. Support the bands that give you life! After all, each member of every band is giving you a piece of their own. Hell, some musicians even performed on more than one album on the list! Talk about double-duty. That’s how metalheads roll. Multitasking is a very metal thing.
So… let me wrap up this introduction and bring to you… The Class of 2022!
101. Psycroptic–Divine Council (Prosthetic Records)
103. Saxon–Carpe Diem (Silver Lining Music)
104. SpellBook-Deadly Charms (Cruz del Sur Music)
105. Inexorum-Equinox Vigil (Gilead Media)
106. Abbath-Dread Reaver (Season of Mist)
107. Xentrix-Seven Words (Listenable Records)
108. Judicator-The Majesty of Decay (Prosthetic Records)
109. Spider God-Fly in the Trap (Repose Records)
110. Morbikon-Ov Mournful Twilight (Tankcrimes)
112. Mythosphere-Pathological (independent)
113. Yatra-Born into Chaos (Prosthetic Records)
114. Leather-We Are the Chosen (Steamhammer)
115. Terrörhammer–Gateways to Hades (Osmose Productions)
116. Devil Master-Ecstasies of Never Ending Night (Relapse Records)
117. Whirlwind-1714 (Fighter Records)
118. Temple of Void-Summoning the Slayer (Relapse Records)
119. Michael Schenker Group-Universal (Atomic Fire Records)
120. Candlemass-Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm Records)
121. Quartz-On the Edge of No Tomorrow (Hear No Evil Recordings)
122. Sinner-Brotherhood (Atomic Fire Records)
123. Deströyer 666-Never Surrender (Season of Mist)
124. Nekrogoblikon-The Fundamental Slimes and Humours (independent)
125. Meshuggah-Immutable (Atomic Fire Records)
126. Arch Enemy-Deceivers (Century Media)
127. Soulfly-Totem (Nuclear Blast)
128. Soilwork-Övergivenhaten (Nuclear Blast)
129. Lord Vigo-We Shall Overcome (independent)
130. Razor-Cycle of Contempt (Relapse Records)
131. Doomocracy-Unorthodox (No Remorse Records)
132. Machine Head-Of Kingdom and Crown (Nuclear Blast)
133. Green King-Hidden Beyond Time (The Sign Records)
134. Vital Spirit-Still as the Night, Cold as the Wind (Hidden Tribe)
135. Mother of Graves-Where the Shadows Adorn (Wise Blood Records)