Writing my top records for 2021 proved to be a challenge considering all the good music that came out last year – and 2022 already looks to be just as exciting. Across death metal, doom, ambient, avant-garde, nu metal, and even more, there’s a lot to be on the lookout for.
An important note that I want to share is that, while the below includes albums that have been officially announced with dates (or are at least in production/rumored), there are always a plethora of amazing records throughout a given year that arrive in under the radar. While the below includes records from incredible acts that you should be super excited for, make sure to keep in mind that other surprises are sure to appear throughout 2022.
Without further ado though, let’s look at some of those kick-ass records coming out!
Shadow of Intent – Elegy (1/14)
Not going to lie – I got into this band very much because of the “Halo” tag, but Shadow of Intent have proven themselves to be more than a gimmick (even if the gimmick is very cool). For me, I was really impressed with 2019’s Melancholy – which is a great work of melodic death metal and symphonic metal meets deathcore. Given alone what the band have shared from their single “Where Millions Have Come To Die,” Elegy looks to be another killer chapter for Shadow of Intent.
Mizmor – Wit’s End (1/14)
A.L.N. of Mizmor knows how to captivate and move listeners. Blending traits of doom, noise, and death metal, Mizmor is a remarkable force of existentialism and emotion. Wit’s End looks to continue down the path of heavy material the one-man act is known for; offering two tracks of breathtaking avant-garde sound, Mizmor once again invites listeners to experience a record of grand exploration and depth.
Boris – W (1/21)
This is one of those bands that I will be forever amazed by. Discovering them back in 2019 with their release of Love Evol, Boris is an impressive force of noise, rock, and punk. Their 2020 collab with noise artist Merzbow is one of my favorite records of recent years, making for an experience of surreal sound that thrills and entrances. Given Boris’ incredible history of genre fusion and remarkable skill in technical performance, I am excited for what this band has in store for us with W .
Boy Harsher – The Runner soundtrack
The darkwave duo of Boy Harsher has a movie coming out this year called The Runner ! Accompanying the film is a companion soundtrack, displaying the act’s awesome skills in creating captivating and chilling industrial dance music.
Korn – Requiem (2/4)
Frankly, I was never a huge Korn fan in my teenage years; it wouldn’t be until young adulthood with 2013’s The Paradigm Shift that the band really grabbed my attention. Korn has remained consistent in their later years, providing material that pulls from their earlier nu metal work, while blending in touches of electronic flair. Which is a good thing, given how their music works to both excite, while also providing lyrical substance when it comes to their subject matter. I won’t be surprised to hear Requiem kick a lot of ass.
Venom Prison – Erebos (2/4)
Following up that of 2020’s Primeval, Venom Prison is looking to charge ferociously into the new year. From the album’s single “Pain Of Oizys” alone, Erebos sounds to be a riveting work of crushing death metal. The menacing thrash appeal to Venom Prison’s music is enough to get anyone’s blood rushing, and this time around they are looking to push the boundaries of their artistry. When it comes to the new age of death metal, Venom Prison is a band you don’t want to miss out on.
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher – Corpsegrinder (2/4)
While Corpsegrinder has been known to guest star on other albums, the Cannibal Corpse frontman is looking to unleash a solo effort this year. Containing a plethora of heavy genres, we can expect anything Corpsegrinder is working on to shred eardrums and faces off.
Zeal Ardor – Zeal Ardor (2/11)
Zeal Ardor is one of the best musical acts I’ve discovered in all my years of music listening. 2016’s Devil Is Fine astounded me in its fusion of black metal meets electronic meets blues meets gospel meets soul presentation; a breathtaking work of musical ferocity that gets the blood rushing and unnerves. The depth to Manuel Gagneux’s material is remarkable, and he has only continued to expand upon his array of style. Gagneux has a brilliant talent for infusing his music with emotional depth, reflecting upon the cruelties and injustices of our world. Whatever he has planned for us in his upcoming self-titled effort, I am confident it will be breathtaking.
Blood Incantation – Timewave Zero (2/25)
One of my favorite heavy bands of today, Blood Incantation is a fantastic force of psychedelic death metal. With a jazz-like mentality to their compositions, Blood Incantation weave together pummeling instrumentation and mesmerizing ambiance to create surreal works of cosmic brutality. Their upcoming release looks to not only expand upon this quality, but to take things to a whole new sonic level for them. Blood Incantation is the closest we’ll probably ever get to communicating with the stars, so make sure that Timewave Zero is on your radar.
Animals as Leaders – Parrhesia (3/25)
The prog metal outfit has released a plethora of riveting, forward-thinking records throughout their career, and Parrhesia continues that trend. The instrumentation of Animals as Leaders has a tranquil, magical power to draw audiences into sonic landscapes of exciting wonder. In how guitar melodies swirl and contort, in how drums beat down alongside intricate bass rhythms – Animals as Leaders know how to craft songs of wonder.
Fans eagerly anticipate a new release from one of heavy metal’s biggest bands. Avenged Sevenfold has always been proud to wear their influences on their sleeve, pulling inspiration from the great metal acts of thrash and groove to create their own brand of stadium rocking tunes. Whereas 2016’s The Stage was a great demonstration of the band further expanding upon their sound, it won’t be to anyone’s surprise that whatever the band has planned for us next will be a banger.
Coheed and Cambria
I love a band that uses music to tell stories, and it was the sci-fi epic tale found within the songs of Coheed and Cambria that got me into them. Throughout their career, the band has only evolved as a prog outfit, building upon their technical prowess and pushing themselves into new territories of style and play. The first couple singles released at the time of this writing are an absolute blast, providing a great rush and promising direction for Coheed’s upcoming album.
Very excited for these New England metalheads to be releasing a new album! Following up 2018’s The Outer Ones, the band share that their new album should be out sometime in the fall. Expect a whole lot of thrashy death metal chaos!
I’ve always found Ghost to be a fun band; maybe they aren’t meant to be fun, but I feel they have always been effective in creating dark pop-rock music. There is a tongue-in-cheek nature to their material that works to be playful, while still a little creepy. Their recent new track “Hunter’s Moon” (which is featured on the Halloween Kills soundtrack) is a whole lot of fun, and I expect nothing less from a new Ghost record but some good, creepy joy.
When it comes to moving a crowd, very few reach the level of extreme that is Rammstein. The German metal act has taken over the world with their ferociously catchy blend of industrial music, creating tunes that get folks riled up to dance and break things all at once. Their 2019 album made for another great chapter in the band’s discography, and I’m sure their next release is only going to rage with even more pop-industrial-metal fire.
2019’s We Are Not Your Kind is not only an impressive effort from the Des Moines, IA metal act, but also a brilliant return to form. Pulling from their musical history, the record is a remarkable fusion of style and depth, with touches of Iowa, Vol. 3: (Subliminal Verses), and All Hope Is Gone heard throughout. It appears that the band has a couple of releases they are looking to put out, with one involving music with a Radiohead-like sound to it. These songs are outtakes recorded during the creation of All Hope Is Gone, but the band does have another studio album in the works. Expect whatever Slipknot has planned for us to be heavy as hell.
When it comes to musical homages to horror, there’s no way one cannot mention Wednesday 13. While I will forever mourn the loss of The Murderdolls, Wednesday 13 is a kick-ass force of horror rock flavor; with a plethora of killer records like Transylvania 90210: Songs of Death, Dying, and the Dead, Calling All Corpses, and Necrophaze, Wednesday 13 knows how to entertain the ghouls and freaks.
Halloween Ends OST (John Carpenter, Cody Carpenter, Daniel Davies)
With the final chapter in David Gordon Green’s Halloween trilogy arriving this year, we can expect an official record component from none other than the Master of Horror himself (with the help of his son and godson as well). Given what we’ve heard from the past two Halloween soundtracks, expect Ends to ride forth with electronic guitars and some fun, chilling synth. This will be a record to get one’s blood rushing.
*Album I hope releases this year – new Job for a Cowboy
Job for a Cowboy is one of the best gems in modern death metal and I am in need of a new record from them. Since that of 2014’s Sun Eater (which FYI, if you haven’t heard this record, get on it!) – the band has been on hiatus. With several members working among different bands (some even coming together for a new act called Serpents of Gnosis, who put out a record back in 2019), there has only been little pieces there and then regarding news of a new JFAC record. Here’s hoping 2022 is the year that these underdogs of technical death metal release a spanking new offering of metal ferocity!