Man there's a lot of music I've never heard (of) this year.
Here's my Top 21 list (why 21? Because why not?)
1. GGGOLDDD - This shame should not be mine
Easily the best album of the year. Emotional, cathartic and empowering. This isn't really metal, but there's certainly heavy sections. I think this would appeal to the likes of @markm and.... 🤷♂️
2. Jordfäst - Av stoft
Just like previous album, Av Stoft is a fantastic journey through hardships and torment via the vehicle of black metal. Jordfäst play folk metal in the very essence of the word; recalling a 18-19th century layer of working class toil on their music and lyrics, without using accordians or folk songs. The perspective is always the worker, looking up at the unjust rulers and the unjust sky.
3. Saints n Sinners - Rise of the alchemist
When I first heard this in march it was clear that this was gonna stay with me for a long time. The greatest power/heavy metal album of the year comes from.... fucking Turkey? Yep, with incredibly catchy riffs and choruses and a singer evoking Bruce Dickinson without the needless higher register wailings, SnS is fucking phenomenal and I can't wait to see where they go next.
4. Erzfeynd - Muspilli / Behaft bekert / Wyrm / Split
The lone German has had an incredibly productive year and while most material was written last year, 2022 saw the literal ketchup effect of no less than 4 EP:s/splits, and they all rule. This is by far my favourite discovery of the pandemic years and I can't recommend him enough.
5. Misthyrming - Með hamri
It's Misthyrming, you know it rules!
6. Besna - Zverstva
A hidden Slovakian gem of atmospheric black metal coupled with hints of post-metal. A really wonderful treat, and a band that I think will break big with their next album, similar to what happened to Gaerea. You heard it here first.
7. Ultra Silvam - The Sanctity of Death
Just as viciously sharp as The Spearwound Salvation, but with slightly more refined song writing. The chaotic feeling of wheels coming of is intact though!
8. Venus Principle - Stand in your light
A mellow, rocking, beutiful album featuring ex-members of Crippled Black Phoenix, with paired male and female vocals.
9. Tchornobog/Abyssal - Split
Tchornobog (and all Markov Soroka's bands) have quickly become one of my favourite entities of dark, abyssmal churnings and the split did not only not disspoint, but also introduced me to U.K.'s Abyssal. Both bands deliver 20+ min songs that both wreck minds and corrupts spirits.
10. Absent in Body - Plague God
A honest to god super-group that actually delivers. Featuring current or former members of Amenra, Neurosis and Sepultura AIB's main strength is the atmosphere of dark corruption in the music and the absolutley filthy vocals of Colin van Eeckhout (I think). I would also like to highlight the excellent lyrics who also has a very distinct and rhythmic pacing to them. The lyrics could work just as well as spoken word-poetry.
11. Cult of Luna - The Long Road North
The undefeated kings of posthardcore/metal. The Long Road North is like the perfect blending of Vertikal and A Dawn to Fear; futuristicly cold and arboreally hostile, while also infinitely beautiful.
12. An abstract illusion - Woe
A modern take on death metal with breakdowns, synths, but without falling into the trappings of death/metalcore or djent.
13. Mortuus - Diablerie
The true forgotten gem of 2022 black metal. I don't think I've seen this on any AOTY list. This is mid-paced orthodox black metal with a great balance between atmosphere and agression. Topnotch stuff.
14. Egregore - The Word of his law
American death metal with a very out-there approach. It's like listening to a round metal cube forcing itself into a square wodden hole.
15. Moonlight Sorcery - Nightwind: The Conqueror from the Stars
These Finns surprise-dropped this EP towards the end of the year and just like "Piercing..." there are fleet-footed black metal with a huge dose of 80's shred guitar and tons of charm. Standout track is definitely "Constellations".
16. Shaam Larein - Sticka en kniv i världen
The only doomrock band on the list, so you know they must be great! Has a bit of the occult rock flair but packs a lot more attitude and brassknuckles than your usual Devil's Blood-clone. Great, soulful vocals from Shaam too.
17. Kvaen - The Great Below
You know this one. The Funeral Pyre set the meloblack scene ablaze two years ago and it's no surprsie The Great Below continues with equal prowess.
18. Kuggur - حصاد ضَوْءٌ النُّجُوم
An electronic, ambient album by former Sólstafir drummer Gummi, musing on the artistic similarities between Icelandic and Middle eastern folkmusic. The result is beautiful.
19. Det Eviga Leendet - Reverence
Swedish black metal band with Jacob from Mare Cognitum on vocals. A tempered iron gauntlet weilding a spiked flail to your temple, over and over. Hints of dissonant chords keep you on your toes, but you're mainly here for the beating.
20. Deathspell omega - The Long Defeat
The most accessible and catchy album by the Frenchies, with some wellsuited guest vocals from M and Arioch. unfortunatly shithead Aspa is still there.
21. Moonlight Sorcery - Piercing Through the Frozen Eternity
This EP dropped in febuary and it took me well into the summer before I discovered it. Glad I did though since it's a very, very fun EP. Finnish black metal with extra everything.