Despite all the crap the music industry’s had to endure, and will probably have to suffer through for a while longer, we were still blessed with an incredible flow of quality releases. Especially 2021 was crammed full with killer albums from start to finish. Just look at our reviews, editor’s top lists, and GRIMM’s top albums of 2021, which are all chock-full of amazing music. We therefor see no reason why 2022 shouldn’t enjoy the same blessing. One need only look at the records that have been announced and rumored so far and you know it’ll be a good year for music again even if live shows and tours aren’t properly happening yet. Here are some of our editorial team’s picks of the most anticipated releases of this month:
Hath – All That Was Promised
(2/3 – Willowtip Records)
The New Jersey prog-ish blackened death metal geeks of Hath return for a second full-length journey into the universes of dark fantasy inspired by games like Dark Souls and Salt And Sanctuary. It’s no surprise really that I’m including this band in the list, since the subject matter holds a special place in my heart, being such a huge fan of said video games myself. Of course the music is genius as well and definitely transcends what could be perceived as a gimmick. I was instantly sold on their previous two releases, the 2015 EP ‘Hive‘ and the 2019 full album ‘Of Rot And Ruin‘ (respective reviews by yours truly and a colleague), and I still find myself spinning them on a regular basis. I have no doubt ‘All That Was Promised‘ will enjoy the same treatment, seeing as I loved all three singles they’ve put out so far.
Vein.fm – This World Is Going To Ruin You
(4/3 – Closed Casket Activities / Nuclear Blast)
One of my most anticipated releases not only of this month but of this year, would definitely be Vein.fm‘s ‘This World Is Going To Ruin You‘. The Boston, MA dissonant hardcore five-piece is a fairly young band, but have made quite the name for themselves in the underground and lower mainstream alike in a very short time thanks to their insane live performances. The band’s blend of musical styles could be the subject of lengthy discussions, but I’ll simply leave it at “hardcore with a few 2000s nu-metal vibes”. This one’s for fans of genre colleagues Code Orange, Car Bomb, Frontierer, Tallah, Godmother, etc.
Sylvaine – Nova
(4/3 – Season Of Mist)
Having been a favorite of many people in our team, it’s no surprise that a new album by Kathrine Shepard / Sylvaine is one of our most anticipated releases for this month. ‘Nova’ is the follow-up full-length to her critically acclaimed 2018 album ‘Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone’ and promises much of the same atmospheric blackgaze/post-metal sound we know of her, while further expanding on her individuality that makes her stand out ever so brightly. On a lot of the album, you’ll be floating on the mesmerizing and gorgeous waves of atmospheric music with Sylvaine‘s stunning vocals. While at other times get ready to be pulled into into furious parts that veer more clearly into black metal realms with howls and screams. This promises to be a quite stunning release and fans of bands like Alcest, Harakiri for the Sky and other similar atmospheric black/blackgaze acts will find this to be quite the treat.
Crowbar – Zero And Below
(4/3 – MNRK Heavy)
Crowbar need no introduction. 30+ years in and they’re not showing any signs of stopping. The New Orleans doom metal / hardcore pioneers (or sludge, but Windstein would disapprove) are set to release their twelfth (!) full-length album. Going on the singles alone, it is clear that even after all this time the formula hasn’t changed much. And that’s okay. Bands don’t always have to undergo a game-changing evolution. It’s like going to a restaurant convinced that you’re going to try something new for once, only to end up ordering the same delicious dish you always order because it never disappoints. ‘Zero And Below‘ promises to still very much be a typical Crowbar record: riffs with a side of riffs, served with Windstein‘s raspy melancholy singing on top.
Midnight – Let There Be Witchery
(4/3 – Metal Blade Records)
Now, let’s shift at least ten gears up with my favourite black ‘n’ roll artist currently roaming the misanthropic plains of the black metal scene: Midnight. I have to admit I haven’t been listening to this band for that long, but ever since I attended the pure fucking mayhem that was their show at the Metal Méan festival back in 2019, I was completely sold. I consequently had their last album, ‘Rebirth By Blasphemy‘, on near constant repeat in the first weeks of its release. It was just that good. A short two years later, Midnight are set to drop their fifth full-length album and I already like what I’m hearing. Although the single ‘Szex Witchery‘ off the upcoming record isn’t as explosive as I expected, the raw energy they got us hooked on is still very much present. And the occult, raunchy subject matter still fits the style so well.
Ghost – Impera
(11/3 – Loma Vista)
It’s been four long years since Ghost released the critically acclaimed ‘Prequelle‘. Whereas that album took inspiration from medieval Europe in the midst of the Black Death, ‘Impera‘ will transport us hundreds of years forward and will be centered around the rise and fall of empires. Just like the cover artwork for ‘Impera‘, the Nameless Ghouls surrounding Papa Emeritus IV have updated their appearance to a more steampunk-inspired aesthetic. Despite this visual departure, Ghost‘s quintessential sound seems to have been retained mostly with here and there some surprising touches, as can be heard on the album’s first two singles ‘Call Me Little Sunshine‘ and ‘Hunter’s Moon‘.
Konvent – Call Down The Sun
(11/3 – Napalm Records)
Two years after their critically acclaimed full-length debut, ‘Puritan Masochism‘, the Danish ladies from Konvent make their grand return with the much anticipated sophomore, ‘Call Down The Sun‘. Their first album was hailed as one of the better works of contemporary death/doom and an instant classic, with good reason (by myself as well in this review). It therefor won’t come as a surprise that I’m excited to get my hands on the new album. We’ve been treated to two gorgeous singles until now, and so far they’ve lived up to my rather high expectations. Riffs sound even more monstrous than before and the growls are much slimier, which I can only approve of. I’m especially a fan of the track ‘Pipe Dreams‘, in which drums and strings drop it to a much slower, hulking pace, making the song sound incredibly heavy. I’m truly eager to get the full ‘Call Down The Sun‘ experience.
Oddland – Vermilion
(11/3 – Uprising! Records)
One of our discoveries in the early years of our site, the Finnish prog metal/rock outfit Oddland is finally back with another album! Back then we made comparisons to bands like Gojira, Pain of Salvation and Meshuggah in our review (check it out here) and looking at the djenty singles that have been released already, we’re in for pretty much the same kind of treat. Get ready for mesmerizing and complex music that at times kicks you in the face with pounding riffs, while then surprising you with unconventional instruments and sounds. Just check the ‘Feed The Void’ single with an almost jazzy part 2/3rds into the song:
E-L-R – Vexier
(11/3 – Prophecy Productions)
We came across the Swiss doomgaze band E-L-R the first time as support for the Amenra European tour back in 2019 and were immediately taken by the outfit. Comparisons with Amenra are not too far and they’ll be playing as support for Sylvaine‘s release party in Paris, which seems like match made in heaven to us. Expect heaps of dreamy atmospheres and lengthy passages that take away to float in another realm than this earthly plane, combined with some proper doomy riffing that at times almost veers into a black metal type of sound. Another stunning release that will put a spell on people looking for this kind of music!
Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse
(18/3 – Century Media Records)
Swedish black metal legends Dark Funeral are about to drop their seventh album, ‘We Are the Apocalypse‘. Following the departure of the former drummer Dominator who has been replaced by Jalomaah, and the arrival of new bassist Adra-Melek, the lineup is now stronger than ever. Within the 29 years of existence, the band has reached the prime status of the elite groups in Europe. The new record is bound to be yet another blasphemous record that casts a demonic manifestation of unholy black metal by blending the signature 90s sound with hefty musical arrangements. After eight years of relative silence, we are looking forward to having our high expectations met.
Ignite – Ignite
(25/3 – Century Media Records)
Despite having gone through a disconcerting line-up change that had everyone wondering in apprehension about the future of the band, Ignite are back with a vengeance. Taking over the mic from long-time singer and activist Zoltán “Zoli” Téglás and setting our minds at ease in the process is Eli Santana, whom we know and love as the rhythm guitarist for heavy metal act Huntress. Frontman changes are always a difficult thing as they tend to really impact a band’s sound in a way that just can’t be overlooked. Still, while we all will miss Zoli‘s characteristic vocals, Santana has proved himself to be more than worthy to carry the Ignite torch (pun intended) through some impressive performances on the various singles that have already dropped off the upcoming self-titled.
Abbath – Dread Reaver
(25/3 – Season Of Mist)
Abbath (ex-Immortal) exhibits his utmost talents on the third album, ‘Dread Reaver‘. Since the debut self-titled album, Abbath has been steadily drawing inspiration from speed metal/thrash and raw black metal, projecting ideas into his personal signature style. The raven dark force of thundering riffs and grim croaks elaborates upon these notions and seems filled with evil abominations once more. True to himself, the music is rooted in traditional metal brimmed with frenzied solos and rattling drums, musical qualities that will undoubtedly serve as another testimony to Abbath‘s musicianship.
Animals As Leaders – Parrhesia
(25/3 – Sumerian Records)
Is it me or does March look like it’s going to be a month of big comebacks? Among those, we’ve got the return of one the most legendary instrumental bands, well-known for boasting exceptionally talented musicians. I’m of course talking about Animals As Leaders. It’s been six long years since we’ve gotten any new music from everyone’s favourite progressive/djent heroes and it’s about high time they released their next masterpiece upon the earth. Well, wish granted!
Absent In Body – Plague God
(25/3 – Relapse Records)
Back in 2017, Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Mathieu Vandekerckhove (Syndrome/Amenra) and Colin H. van Eeckhout (Amenra/CHVE) collaborated on the abrasive 20 minute track ‘Absent In Body’. That track has now turned into a full-fledged project, also adding Igor Cavalera (ex-Sepultura/Cavalera Conspiracy) to the line-up and releasing their debut full-length album ‘Plague God’ this month. The few tasters of the Absent In Body album promises to give us a not easy to be digested filthy slab of abrasive doomy/sludgy/industrial sounds that might haunt your mind afterwards. A truly unsettling release that will probably be met with a “you love it or hate it” kind of attitude. We’re looking forward to it regardless!