Metal Storm logo

2022 Listens

Created by: LordFezzington | 03.01.2022

1. Dark Millennium - Acid River
[Death/Doom, Germany] This could easily be at home during peak 90's death and doom metal, which shouldn't really be a surprise since Dark Millennium have been around since 1989. Once this gets going, it's fantastic stuff - especially the mournful melodic moments on 'Lunacy' and 'Death Comes In Waves'. Takes a few unexpected turns along the way. [8.0+]
2. Marillion - An Hour Before It's Dark
[Progressive Rock, UK] OK, so Mariliion are a massively significant band for me, but who haven't consistently hit the heights of stuff like Marbles or Afraid Of Sunlight for a long time. This just might be up there though. I especially like 'Be Hard On Yourself' and 'Care'. [At least 8.0+]
3. Ghost - Impera
[Heavy, Sweden] Is it metal? Well, maybe a bit less so than some of their earlier stuff, but still yes. And quite frankly, that's not relevant anyway - Tobias Forge has always had a knack of disguising a pop banger beneath the occult veneer. Impera is just Ghost going full mask off (well not literally of course) and giving in to the full pop hooks. But there are some incredible songs here - 'Kaisarion', 'Call Me Little Sunshine', even 'Hunter's Moon' - and the album is only really let down by a couple of unnecessary interludes (not 'Imperium' by the way - and I still don't really like 'Twenties', sorry). 'Spillways' and 'Respite On The Spitalfields' rival songs like 'Monstrance Clock' and 'Square Hammer' for Ghost's best ever tracks. [8.0]
4. Mountaineer - Giving Up The Ghost
[Post, USA] I absolutely adored 2020's Bloodletting, a warm and fuzzy doomgaze opus. This is actually a bit too short to make as big an impression, but some of it's truncated runtime is really good. 'When The Soul Sleeps' in particular. [7.5+]
5. Wiegedood - There's Always Blood At The End Of The Road
[Black, Belgium] Caustic, fairly relentless black with excellent atmosphere and great little touches of difference throughout, expanding the sound. Good stuff. [7.5+]
6. Ereb Altor - Vargtimman
[Folk/Black, Sweden] Very much a game of two halves here, but not in terms of quality. The first half recalls Moonsorrow in its epic folkiness, while the second leans much more into the darker, blacker side of things. And everything here is pretty good, actually. [7.5+]
7. Trenches - Reckoner
[Hardcore/Sludge, USA] This is pretty damn good actually. Blends together hardcore aggression with sludge and enough little post-whatever expansiveness to be quite engaging. Nice and to the point at 37 minutes too. [7.5+]
8. Krallice - Crystalline Exhaustion
[Avant Black, USA] Following hot on the heels of 2021's Demonic Wrath (and closely followed by June 2022's Psychagogue...), it would have been fair to expect this to be uninspired. But actually, the atmosphere on here is almost dreamlike in places and is certainly an immersive listen. Unpredictable basslines and very tasteful synths make it a very solid record. The title track is absolutely wonderful. [7.5+]
9. Confess - Revenge At All Costs
[Thrash/Nu, Iran/Norway] Understandably angry music from the Iranians-in-exile. I've gone off nu metal more and more over the years, but this has enough bite in its riffs and songwriting to stand up to a fair bit of scrutiny. Vocals are suitably irate sounding and actually one of the album's strong points, which cannot be said for all acts in this space. [7.5]
10. Earthless - Night Parade Of One Hundred Demons
[Stoner/Psychedelic Rock, USA] Good quality stoner record here with a couple of other flourishes - really like the semi-ambient beginning to the first part of the title track for examples. Big riffs, big solos, big runtime, not so big in terms of overall memorability. Still good though. [7.5]
11. Toundra - Hex
[Post, Spain] Really quite pleasant instrumental post metal/heavy post rock. A lot to like here, but just maybe missing a little something to propel it a bit further. [7.5]
12. Beholder (CAN) - Arcane Subreptice
[Black/Thrash, Canada] Québécois thrashened-black - at least it feels closer to black metal at its core, anyway. Very fun little album with a nice blend of speed and atmosphere. [7.0-7.5]
13. Wilderun - Epigone
[Progressive, USA] This has got a lot of people drooling it seems. I actually don't remember Veil of Imagination (which either means I didn't listen to it or I didn't like it much), but I can hear moments on here of genuine quality. 'Passenger', 'Identifier' and parts of the 'Distraction' suite stand out. But overall, the soft elements are fairly colourless and both 'Distraction' and the 15-minute 'Woolgatherer' felt like collections of ideas rather than cohesive songs and don't really justify their length. [7.0-7.5]
14. Riverwood - Shadows And Flames
[Progressive/Folk, Egypt] Wasn't sure about this going in - 75 minutes is a long time. Some very solid stuff on here, with a couple of really excellent choruses - 'Queen Of The Dark', for example. And, in fact, the long songs work pretty well for the most part - the interludes could absolutely be ditched. But again, 75 minutes? Edit this down to 50-60 minutes and I think you'd end up with a fantastic record. As it is, it's still good, but could be even better. [7.0+]
15. Bongtower - Oscillator II
[Stoner, Russia] This would be a lot higher if not for the weird spoken word interludes. Awesome stoner riffs abound over an hour and a half, which makes for an excellent album to have on in the background, but there are some stand out moments too, like 'Mars' for example. [7.0]
16. Animårum - The Gaian Mind
[Tech Death, USA] Quite liked this - short, to the point tech death with a little bit of tribal flavouring. Some catchy riffs here and there, but could definitely use an expansion of the tribal feel and a bit more memorability. [7.0]
17. Mechina - Venator
[Sci-Fi Industrial/Orchestral, USA] A significant improvement on last year's Siege. Feels much closer to their peak, if not quite there. Harsh vocals making a return is nice, but the songs are more engaging this time round. [7.0]
18. Mathan - Darkroot Tzantza
[Death, Ecuador] I think I may need to revisit this one as other people's views seem to suggest this is better than I thought it was. The tribal touches are nice for sure and the drumming is excellent, just didn't hold my attention as much as I'd hoped. [6.5-7.0]
19. Nocturnal Graves - An Outlaw's Stand
[Death/Black/Thrash, Australia] OK, this is nothing special, but maybe it's just the way these styles go together when done well that made this a worthwhile listen. Might come back to this. [6.5-7.0]
20. Shadow Of Intent - Elegy
[Deathcore, USA] A bit like Fit For An Autopsy below, this was going to need to do a lot to seriously impress me, but this is a much more solid record overall in my view. Perhaps because it leans a bit more into melodeath than straight up deathcore in places, but still not something I'd go running back to in a hurry. [6.5-7.0]
21. King Bastard - It Came From The Void
[Stoner/Doom, USA] There's a bit more variety on here than you might expect, but ultimately not enough to make me want to come back too often. The fat guitar and bass tone that give way to a more spaced out moment on opener 'From Hell To Horizon' is very promising, but I think the album's largely instrumental nature leaves it a but much to do to retain serious interest. [6.5-7.0]
22. Ancesthor - White Terror
[Thrash, Mexico] A curious record this. Five of its seven tracks are pretty banging melodic thrash rippers, which is all to the good. But then comes the semi-operatic 'La Llorona' derailing everything half way through and the 8-minute closer 'The Waltz Of The Sea' tries to be progressive, but is a mess, quite frankly. [6.5]
23. Kurokuma - Born Of Obsidian
[Sludge, UK] Pretty reasonable South American (for some reason) flavoured sludge here. It's decent, but not especially riveting. [6.5]
24. Needless - The Cosmic Cauldron
[Death/Thrash, Hungary] Seems a risky move naming your band Needless, especially given just how much music there is around! Pseudo-tech death adjacent stuff here, reminded me a bit of Vektor at times, but that could just be the sci-fi theme. Passable [6.5]
25. Sothoris - Wpiekłowstąpienie
[Death/Black, Poland] Obvious comparisons with Behemoth here. Also one song that sounds like it was lifted straight from the cutting room floor during Satyricon's Now, Diabolical sessions. Again, it's fine, but unlikely to get me coming back. [6.5]
26. Tony Martin - Thorns
[Heavy/Rock, UK] I mean, this sounds exactly how I'd expect a Tony Martin record to sound in 2022, which is to say it could have been released any time between about 1985 and the present day. The man himself is still on top form and the songs are fine, just nothing really outstanding. The countried-up and pseudo spoken word 'This Is Your Damnation' is just odd. [6.0-6.5]
27. Fit For An Autopsy - Oh What The Future Holds
[Deathcore, USA] Deathcore has a lot to do to convince me it's worth my time. Born Of Osiris managed it in 2021; can Fit For An Autopsy manage it in 2022? Maybe. There are a few elements that make FFAA a bit different to some other bands in the space, and there are a couple of nice songs here - 'Two Towers' for example. But I still think they fall back on genre stereotypes a bit too much. [6.0-6.5]
28. Power Paladin - With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel
[Power/Heavy, Iceland] Only listened to this on the recommendation of a friend. Daft but incredibly catchy power metal anthems with suitably stupid lyrics. Some songs are very repetitive though. Not much in the way of new ideas - the first riff on the album being lifted straight from the mid-section of Maiden classic 'Sign Of The Cross' illustrating this perfectly. [6.0]
29. Necrophagous - In Chaos Ascend
[Death, Sweden] It seems a curious thing to release a debut album in this style in 2022 to be honest. Straight up death metal really. Tightly played and produced, sure, but bang average overall. [6.0]
30. Insecurity - Intruder Of Reality
[Thrash, Chile] By the numbers 80s thrash worship, lifting VERY clearly from early Metallica, Testament, Anthrax etc. Occasionally recalls early Blind Guardian-esque speed metal. A fun one-time listen, but incredibly derivative. [5.5]
31. Boris - W
[?, Japan] Can't say I've ever really bothered with Boris before, but they do have quite the reputation. Although it hard to see why based on this! Sure, there are some individual moments that are cool, but overall this is an incoherent mish-mash of styles that don't fit well together and mostly sound unfinished. [4.0]
32. To write up:
33. Amorphis - Halo
[Melo/Folk, Finland]
34. Porcupine Tree - Closure / Continuation
[Prog Rock, UK]
35. Rolo Tomassi - Where Myth Becomes Memory
[Post, UK]
36. Immolation - Acts Of God
[Death, USA]
37. Municipal Waste - Electrified Brain
[Thrash/Crossover, USA]
38. Eucharist - I Am The Void
[Death/Black, Sweden]
39. Amon Amarth - The Great Heathen Army
[Melo, Sweden]
40. Autonoesis - Moon Of Foul Magics
[Black/Death/Thrash, Canada]
41. Dreadnought - The Endless
[Progressive, USA]
42. Monuments - In Stasis
[Djent/Math, UK]
43. Megadeth - The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead!
[Thrash/Heavy, USA]
44. Slipknot - The End, So Far
[Alternative/Nu, USA]
45. Behemoth - Opvs Contra Natvram
[Death, Poland]
46. Parkway Drive - Darker Still
[Heavy/Metalcore, Australia]
47. Soilwork - Övergivenheten
[Melo, Sweden]
48. The Halo Effect - Days Of The Lost
[Melo, Sweden]
49. Toxik - Dis Morta
[Thrash/Progressive, USA]
50. Panzerfaust - The Suns Of Perdition - Chapter III: The Astral Drain
[Black, Canada]\
51. White Ward - False Light
[Black/Post, Ukraine]
52. Zeal & Ardor - Zeal & Ardor
[Avant Black, USA]
53. Blackbraid - Blackbraid I
[Black, USA]
54. Candlemass - Sweet Evil Sun
[Doom, Sweden]
55. Disillusion - Ayam
[Progressive, Germany]
56. Darkthrone - Astral Fortress
[Black, Norway]

Disclaimer: All top lists are unofficial and do not represent the point of view of the MS Staff.
[ More lists by LordFezzington ]

Hits total: 406 | This month: 12