There are approximately 80 quadrillion year-end lists that flood the interwebs every year. I recognize that and fully recognize that this list probably matters way more to me more than it does anyone reading it (or appearing on it for that matter). However, my desire to share the music I love with my fellow connoisseurs fully outweighs any conventional logic…so you’re getting another list to read.
This year I’m getting even more illogical and splitting my annual Metal Top 40 into four separate posts. Partly because we reveal our top 20 over two weeks worth of The Metal Dad Radio Show (December 8 & 15 at 7 pm est), and partly because I felt this year there wasn’t a whole lot that separates these albums, and as such I felt each one needed a little extra spotlight. So without further ado, here’s the first ten albums to make our 2022 year-end list…
40. Problem With Dragons – Accelerationist
Mixing elements of doom and sludge with stoner rock/grudge aesthetics, Massachusetts-based Problem With Dragons create and aural mixture that waxes and wanes from brutally heavy to head-bopping catchy. This is a band I’ve been intently following for quite a few years now and I can safely say that they have gotten better with each release, culminating in their best output to date. In a year when sludge/doom/post-metal was constantly knocking it out of the park this record can easily stand alongside the best of the year.
39. Skull Fist – Paid In Full
I’ll fully admit that Canada’s Skull Fist was not a band on my immediate radar heading into 2022, but back in April they dropped one of the best trad metal albums of the year and reminded everyone why trad metal, when done right, is still one of the better metal sub-genres still kicking. Paid In Full is the type of album that draws from both the metal and rock pantheons and could have easily found a home on rock radio stations if it was released 20-25 years earlier when rock radio stations were still relevant. This album is chock full of ear worms so get ready to randomly belt out one of these choruses in your kitchen in the near future.
38. Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum
If you’re a listener to our weekly radio show then you’ve undoubtedly heard me and my son discuss the varying types of death metal we are each drawn to. The more sludgy and/or brutal the better for me, and Atlanta’s Father Befouled certainly fits the bill. With guitar work that often hearkens back to the heyday of both New York and Floridian death metal, cut with a death/doom edge, Crowned In Veneficum is a vicious record that brings the unrelenting brutality from first to last note.
37. Sepulchral – From Beyond The Burial Mound
One of the first great records of 2022 was delivered back in February by Spanish death horde Sepulchral. Their full-length debut album From Beyond The Burial Mound knocked me right out of my chair upon first listen, and continues to do so every time I return to it. Their brand of death metal is definitely on the thrashier side of the spectrum with loads of galloping beats and thunderous bass lines to go along with memorable riffing. Fans of death metal that is unrepentant as it crosses into blackened thrash territory take heed.
36. Kreator -Hate Uber Alles
Simply put there are very, very few legacy thrash acts still putting out albums as powerful and relevant as Kreator. This band’s influence on the metal world at large is undisputed and they’ve released enough classic material over the years that they could easily rest on their laurels, book a few tours playing the thrash hits and call it a day. Instead they gifted us yet again with an album full of memorable material (their first in five years). I’m not directly saying this is their best material in at least 15 years, but I wouldn’t argue that point either.
35. Immolation – Acts of God
Another band that could put on a greatest hits tour and cash their checks without blinking is Immolation. Instead, one of the longest running, and most critically acclaimed New York death metal acts put their noses to the grindstone after a five year gap between albums delivering a pummeling display that showed yet again why this band is so beloved by death metal purists across the globe. What Immolation’s sound has lacked in frills, bells, and whistles it more than makes up for in workmanlike precision and unrelenting heaviness. Fans looking for the worlds of modern death metal and the classic ’90s variety to collide can bask in the explosion of the two on this record.
34. Autopsy – Morbidity Triumphant
This is the third album in a row that’s going to have some people thinking it’s 1992 instead of 2022, but once again we were graced with an album of killer material from a band that’s been doing it for a long time. Since their return to the fold in the late 2000s, gore maestros Autopsy have not-so-quietly added some absolute gems to their overall discography. Morbidity Triumphant may just be the best of the lot. This album absolutely tears at your proverbial jugular with Autopsy’s patented blend of grinding mayhem meets doom-laden sludgery. An instant classic from one of death metal’s greatest acts.
33. Mo’ynoq – A Place For Ash
In 2019 I made the mistake of coming late to the game and not including the debut album from North Carolina’s Mo’ynoq on my year-end list. That wasn’t going to happen again. A Place For Ash is the band’s sophomore effort, filled with grim, festering black metal of the highest order. While there are a ton of great bands taking USBM off into different realms, Mo’ynoq serves up a brand of black metal that keeps one foot firmly planted in the genres second wave roots while reaching for new and impressive heights. Whether it was planned or not, it was entirely fitting that this album was released on the first day of autumn as it was the perfect one to throw on while nature began its descent into deathly slumber.
32. Nechochwen – Kanawha Black
Speaking of bands taking USBM off into different realms, West Virginia’s Nechochwen has built a solid reputation as being one of US black metal’s most innovative exports, and for good reason. Their combination of black metal with neofolk aesthetics and Native American folklore is as unique as they come. It had been seven long years since Nechochwen had gifted us a full-length album and the juice was worth the squeeze as they delivered one of their most ambitious and diverse efforts to date.
31. Desolate Shrine – Fire of the Dying World
This will be the third time in as many albums that Finland’s Desolate Shrine will have shown up somewhere on my year-end list. Their brand of churning, swirling, doomy death metal is right up my alley when it comes to the pure dread and dark atmosphere that I love and constantly seek out within the genre. This album is one of their best to date and one that I returned to quite a bit this year (including playing multiple tracks on our Metal Dad Radio Show). Fans of atmospheric death metal should be all over this record and band.