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:
Vanaheim – Een Verloren Verhaal
(4/2 – independent)
Following in the footsteps of Heidevolk and bringing their own take on pagan and folk metal, the Dutch Vanaheim is a band to watch out for. In a time when tours were cancelled and concerts postponed, the band pulled all their creative forces together to go all out in creating their full-length debut “Een Verloren Verhaal” (‘A Lost Tale’). The result is not one but 2 versions of that album: a “regular” folk metal version and a fully orchestral one. When in doubt about which version to release, they put the question to their fans, who responded with a resounding “both!”. And so the band will deliver.
Venom Prison – Erebos
(4/2 – Century Media Records)
UK death metal outfit Venom Prison has released one after the other critically acclaimed album and in February 2022 it’s time for their 4th release ‘Erebos‘. Just when you think you know what to expect from them, they surprised us with the captivating and more atmospheric single ‘Pain Of Oizys‘ that strays away from their usual straightforward crushing sound. Which made us all the more excited about what is promising to be a career defining album. We feel there is a good chance that this one will pop up on many AOTY lists at the end of the year!
Mass Worship – Portal Tombs
(4/2 – Century Media Records)
Swedish death metal/hardcore unit Mass Worship are one of my favourite discoveries of recent years. Ever since I missed the initial release of their self-titled full-length back in 2019 I made a point of tailing this band so as to avoid making the same mistake and not giving them the coverage they so deserve. The Scandinavian four-piece may be a fairly recent band but they’ve already made quite the name for themselves. And it seems they intend on preserving their good reputation by serving us another slice of crunchy death metal with the coming of their second full-length, ‘Portal Tombs‘.
Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle
(4/2 – Atomic Fire Records)
In the late nineties, Mystic Circle channeled the symphonic force of black metal, hence it made them relevant to the counterparts of Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth. Now almost sixteen years after their last outing “The Bloody Path of God”, Mystic Circle begins a new era and their 8th self-titled album is arguably their most aggressive and melodic piece. Mystic Circle ride the tidal wave of traditional black metal and had progressed in manifold forms and the time has come for the band to prove that.
Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
(4/2 – MNRK Heavy)
UK outfit Rolo Tomassi is coming with their 6th full-length ‘Where Myth Becomes Memory‘ and it promises to be quite the intense affair. First singles ‘Cloaked‘ and ‘Drip‘ showed their affinity to find the perfect balance between a harsh and pummeling mathcore sound and their more gorgeous side with ethereal post-rock atmospherics. While the more recent single ‘Closer‘ is all about simple beauty and excellent songwriting, proving that the album will be a magical journey through balmy soothing and soul-crushing harshness. A very strong possible contender for the AOTY lists at the end of the year and something to be looking forward to!
Korn – Requiem
(4/2 – Loma Vista / Concord)
There’s no way of going around the fact that Korn has been one of those trendsetting bands that are to this day serving as a strong inspiration for a wide arrange of new bands. They’ve continued to gain popularity, crossing many generations. So when these guys come with a new release, it’s met with a excitement by a whole lot of people. And while most of their more recent releases haven’t gotten the same amount of critical acclaim as a couple of decades ago, you can be sure of one thing: it’ll sound like Korn and you’ll get some solid tracks. What does make us more excited about ‘Requiem‘ than any of their latest releases, is the fact that they told the world that due to the ongoing pandemic situation, they’ve really taken the time to perfect the tracks, daring to throw something out when it doesn’t seem to work as well as it should. A thing that has resulted in some amazing and almost career defining releases by other bands of late, and we can only hope for the same with this album!
Once Human – Scar Weaver
(11/2 – earMUSIC)
It’s been 5 long years since the groove metal outfit Once Human, featuring renowned names like Logan Madder (ex-Machine Head, ex-Soulfly) and Lauren Hart (Kamelot live), released their killer album ‘Evolution‘. We’re finally getting the third full-length with ‘Scar Weaver‘, and going on the already released singles the album will be one hell of a banger yet again. Get ready for some serious headbanging the second Friday of February. In the mean time, prepare yourself by listening to their 1st single ‘Deadlock‘ featuring Machine Head‘s Robb Flynn on guest vocals:
Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
(11/2 – MVKA)
Ever since Zeal & Ardor came on our radar with ‘Devil Is Fine‘ with their eclectic mix of black metal, blues and gospel, they’ve been a favorite of our team. With follow-up ‘Stranger Fruit’ they further fleshed out their sound with a slightly less extreme direction and now with their self-titled 3rd full-length, it seems they’re combining the extremity and haunting vibes of the first album with the catchiness of the second album into a whole other new beast! We’re really looking forward to hear how this one will turn out like. Just take first single ‘Run‘ that sounded absolutely relentless and killer:
Amorphis – Halo
(11/2 – Atom Fire Records)
How can we not look forward to this one? The popular Finnish band Amorphis has cranked out stellar release after stellar release. Since their early death metal sound they’ve steadily grown into their much beloved more progressive nature. Which has provided us a steady stream of emotional and gorgeous compositions! Listening to singles ‘Brother And Sister’ and ‘The Moon’, upcoming full-length ‘Halo’ is going to be nothing less than stunning!
Author & Punisher – Krüller
(11/2 – Relapse Records)
To call Author & Punisher unique would be almost an understatement. With his self-made mechanical contraption, Tristan Shone manages to expel an industrial doom sound that has almost no equal. On his upcoming new full-length ‘Krüller‘, going on the first singles, he’s going slightly less heavy but all the more captivating through a load of melodies. Add to that guest players including Tool’s Danny Carey and Justin Chancellor, and you know that we’re in for an intriguing and absolutely special release!
Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North
(11/2 – Metal Blade Records)
The Swedish post-metal outfit Cult of Luna has a long career of critically acclaimed releases and people being swept away with their spell-bounding musical creations. A new release from these masters of atmosphere, pummeling heaviness and emotional-laden lyrics/vocals is then of course something a lot of people around the world are looking forward to, including us. And the first epic 10 minute track ‘Cold Burn’ they released a while back, already confirmed that this is yet again going to be a massive piece of musical art to sit through! Hold onto your breeches!
Bloodywood – Rakshak
(18/2 – independent)
The viral sensation that is the Indian metal band Bloodywood has finally put a full-length together with ‘Rakshak‘! Back in 2019, they toured around Europe even gracing the stages at Wacken and proving that they’re not just an internet thing, but a band that easily got many people close them in their heart. Their mix of heavy metal, rap and traditional Indian instruments is so damn infectious that you simply can’t do anything else than getting a big grin on your face and start dancing around. But don’t be fooled about them, they’re songs are not all fun and games, because while they try to bring us positive and uplifting music they don’t shy away from touching sensitive topics like mental health, environmental issues and how fucked up society and its politics can be like. Just check out their single ‘Gaddaar‘ and get swept away by their genuine music and lyrics:
Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts
(18/2 – Debemur Morti Productions)
It’s always exciting to discover new bands from areas of the world you don’t frequently look at to find some quality music. One such band that just recently came on our radar, is the Indonesian atmospheric black metal outfit Pure Wrath. While ‘Hymn To The Woeful Hearts‘ is already the 3rd full-length, somehow we completely missed out earlier. People who are in the kind of atmospheric black metal like for instance Wolves In The Throne Room simply have to check this release out. It brings a similar kind of captivating and epic atmosphere while featuring lyrics that could easily stir up some emotions, singing about the atrocities that the people of his country had to sit through during the 1965 Indonesian genocide. Mastermind behind Pure Wrath, Hardy, stated that this album is literally a dedication to a mother and survivor of those genocides, whose son was kidnapped, tortured and brutally beheaded. What more do you want if you’re looking for a kind of deep and meaningful release?
Immolation – Acts of God
(18/2 – Nuclear Blast)
U.S. death metal heavyweights Immolation is bound to return on February 18th, 2022 with their new album ‘Acts of God‘. The eleventh album maintains the signature New York style death metal Immolation is known for with complex musical structures, tremolos, and unhinged brutality. After revisiting their previous albums, “Acts of God” has all the promise to be my personal death metal album of the year. The N.Y.-based quartet will unleash demonic wrath on the feeble ones, once again the band will prove that their skills are unmatched. The album offers institutional songwriting and powerful performance from one of the crown jewels of the U.S.A.’s death metal elites.
Dagoba – By Night
(18/2 –Napalm Records)
The French metallers of Dagoba have always been somewhat on our radar as a pretty exciting band. A band of which we don’t really get how they haven’t gotten bigger than they are right now. Their music is usually the right combination of crushing grooves, infectious hooks and enough complexity to appeal to a pretty wide variety of heavy music lovers. Maybe their upcoming next album ‘‘By Night’ will prove to be somewhat of a boost for their career outside France, riding the wave of modern metal bands that the world has spewed out of late. They definitely deserve it in our books and the singles they released already promises the nice variety of atmospheres and sounds we know them for.
Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void
(25/2 – Season Of Mist)
Finnish funeral doom metal masters Shape of Despair will release their fifth album “Return to the Void”, returning after seven years of utter silence. The sextet seemingly perfected their conception to the aghast and woeful procession of funeral doom metal. Blending the sepulchral growls with the sorrowful rhythm, the dark majestic opus carries a colossal weight of grief. To the vast realms of void, Shape of Despair takes us on a path of solitude, tormenting the wretched souls with crushing doom riffs through violin soaked textures. The towering shades of darkness paint endless landscapes of mesmerizing beauty and sorrow.
Diablo – When All The Rivers Are Silent
(25/2 – Sakara Records)
Diablo is one of those metal bands that is immensely popular in their own country Finland, every single time they play live somewhere attracting a really big crowd. Now, after an almost 7 year long wait and a couple of decades hammering out their sound and style, they’re coming with their 7th full-length ‘When All The Rivers Are Silent’. The perfect combination and balance of tasty and catchy groove metal with all the right elements of melodeath they deliver time after time again, deserves to be heard by as many people as possible in the world! Would this be the album that gives them more of a breakthrough internationally? Going on the singles that were released to this point, we strongly believe that very well might be the case!
Reckless Love – Turborider
(25/2 – AFM Records)
The Finnish glam/sleaze/hard rock band Reckless Love has been one of its country’s top rock exports of the past couple of decades. With ‘Turborider‘, they’re back with their 5th full-length after a long wait of almost 6 years! And going on the singles and overall artwork, we can look forward to an album filled with glam rock and 80’s synth influences that brings the amount of kitsch to a whole new level. But in a good way, isn’t something this ridiculously happy and uplifting exactly what we need and want during these rather difficult times? Plus, the music is actually of a really high quality! Just get out the hairspray, put on some over-the-top sunglasses and turn on those neons!