Mazen’s Albums of the Year 2022

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As we draw near the end of the year, the time has come to shed light on my favorite albums of 2022. Unlike the previous years I had struggled to find the proper fitting black metal albums, although there had been countless releases that came out throughout the year, it was disappointing enough to put me off of the black metal genre in general for a while. Though this is the first time in many years my death metal album list doesn't tally with the black metal list. 2022 was overwhelmingly great for death metal, in general, there is absolutely no question about the tons of albums that I bought, without doubt, the major purveyors of death metal labels were strongly present. Record labels such as Dark Descent Records, 20 Buck Spin, Me Saco un Ojo Records, Memento Mori, Napalm Records, Iron Bonehead Productions, Century Media, Season of Mist, and Nuclear Blast Records have had great releases. So buckle up now as we slowly dive into my top ten albums. I have also included an additional list of 20 albums that include all genres from death, black, and thrash/heavy metal. My list has been curated by the most albums I have listened to throughout the past 12 months, you can view the list of my honorable mentions in the last page of my article.

10. Phobophilic - Enveloping Absurdity

Release Date: September 16th, 2022 (Prosthetic Records)

Phobophilic took a shift from the 2019 EP “Undimensioned Identities” but they managed to hone a proper death metal record offering. One of the year’s bone-chilling classics, therefore “Enveloping Absurdity” is a kind of sophisticated album with many bizarre twists loaded with chugging guitars and monstrous growls. Even though nowadays we get to hear the same re-cycled riffs with the newer bands, Phobophilic managed to release a fresh and grisly death metal album. The guitar department has amassed some killer riffs and there are tons of lead and rhythm insertions that set a gory theme, and the song structures are solid and coherent. So if you dig the cavernous style of death metal then you must check out this incredible record.

Read my full review here.

9. Autopsy - Morbidity Triumphant

Release Date: September 30th, 2022 (Peaceville Records)

Morbidity Triumphant” reels in dreadful horror and gruesomeness, through the corpse-ridden sickness the swell of nasty caveman riffs is soaked in cavernous reverb. The album has a slow doomy cavernous sound with lots of twists and the lead guitars are damned great. It’s almost as if Autopsy is reminiscing about past albums like “Mental Funeral”. There is an undeniable sense of morbidity surrounding the overall theme of the album, and the gruesome cover art made by Wes Bencoster (Bloodbath, Vader, Slayer, Broken Hope) sums up the horrible and spine-chilling macabre obsession with death. “Morbidity Triumphant” has all the qualities of becoming one of my favorite albums of the year this is a classic death metal album executed in the old rotten ways.

Read my full review here.

8. Stormruler - Sacred Rites & Black Magick

Release Date: October 14th, 2022 (Napalm Records)

Stormruler’s triumphant entry into the vast fantasy realms vindicates its melodic compositions, there is a superb emphasis on conjuring a melodic atmosphere. Following the archetype of the masters of Scandinavian black metal like Dawn and Vinterland, they have achieved songwriting with flawless performance. The new album contains 20 tracks, and half of the track list is divided between instrumental cuts and ambient interludes. While the sophomore has a majestic sense of grandeur the duo shows an impressive modus operandi in tackling the cold melodies, the guitars are powered by scathing tremolo-picked riffs infused with cold icy rhythm. Stormruler’s sophomore is one of the best albums in black metal this year “Sacred Rites & Black Magick” is a spectacular album so epic and remarkable in its proportions.

Read my full review here.

7. Watain - The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain

Release Date: April 29th, 2022 (Nuclear Blast Records)

Watain has been carving its name for so long and their 7th album brings back the signature style of the band. E. Danielsson, P. Forsberg, A. Lillo, H. Eriksson, and E. Forcas have refined their sonic architecture that manifests the rawer roots of bands like Bathory and Dissection. The tight performance of the band ultimately proves that Watain is still one of the leading acts in Swedish black metal. The songs are built on refined foundations of black metal, and they are showcased by rapid tremolos and catchy guitar passages. There are many great songs on the album like the haunting song “Serimosa”, Leper’s Grace”, and “We Remain” which features Farida Lemouchi (ex-The Devil’s Blood). This time the tremolos are at the fore and the guitars are soaked with unique and catchy composition. It’s about time for the Swedish act to present their work of art in this sophisticated and masterful performance and the new album fulfills the quest.

Read my full review here.

6. Shape of Despair - Return to the Void

Release Date: February 25th, 2022 (Season of Mist)

Finnish funeral doom ensemble Shape of Despair has once again emerged from the cold depths of the forest as they convey a supreme art of melancholy and beauty. While their music has exerted a profound touch on the style of funeral doom, “Return to the Void” demonstrates a fine ability to craft dramatic melodies perhaps because of the soaring female vocals and the gloomy gothic atmosphere that leaves the listener lost in the beautiful song composition. The sextet has captured the profound mood for the brooding atmosphere, with the slow pacing of the lurching drums and the haunting atmosphere the musical landscapes are spacious and very eloquent in creating a depressing effect feel throughout the album. This is a great comeback album full of haunting moments that leave you floating with the cold atmosphere and the dark depressing symphonies.

Read my full review here.

5. Ars Hmu - Empire of Impurity

Release Date: February 23rd, 2022 (Amor Fati Productions)

Featuring members of Gardsghastr, Chaos Moon, Musmahhu, Greve, Bekëth Nexëhmü, and more, there is something undeniably melancholic on the debut album “Empire of Impurity”. The awe-inspiring arrangement of the guitars and the synth comes with a majestic atmosphere that evokes bands like Emperor and early Setherial. Ars Hmu shows a creative display of melody and songwriting setup, the synth effects and the acoustic passages are topped with tremolo picked-riffs. “Empire of Impurity” is as grim and cold as the Norwegian and Swedish black metal counterparts, in the debut album, the acoustic guitars offer many textures to the music. The rhythm guitars flawlessly channel the melodic aesthetics of the Scandinavian black metal and while the element of the vocals gives it a dark and frosty aura the songs are memorable. But beyond that there is an aspect that is deeply rooted in the aesthetic appeal, making the trio focus on the otherworldly atmosphere.

Read my full review here.

4. Sedimentum - Suppuration Morphogénésiaque

Release Date: July 25th, 2022 (Me Saco Un Ojo Records & Memento Mori)

Canada’s Sedimentum has gained huge momentum with the first studio album “Suppuration Morphogénésiaque”, the band writes songs in the similar ilk of acts like Undergang, Disma, Funebrarum, and Tomb Mold, and the guitar work absolutely has a cavernous depth. There is everything you would wish for on this album, from the guttural growls to tons of rhythm guitars, and solos propelled with the cavernous death metal brutality. Fact is it didn’t take me much time to decide how great this album is. The album embodies sustained blasting sections, but often morphs toward death-doom territory. Sedimentum tread beyond the spectrum creating a visceral sound that would yield them great stature in the underground genre, this is why the album comes highly recommended for fans of Danish death metal.

Read my full review here.

3. Chaotian - Effigies of Obsolescence

Release Date: June 24th, 2022 (Me Saco Un Ojo Records & Dark Descent Records)

The year 2022 was great for the underground label Me Saco Un Ojo Records and Dark Descent Records, both of these labels had released some killer death metal albums like Ataraxy, Cryptworm, Vacuous, and Chaotian. The Copenhagen-based death metal trio Chaotian might be newcomers to some, but there are many reasons why any death metal fan should check out the band’s first studio album. This is a kind of death metal that is ridden with sickness and a foul sense of nausea the production on this album has these cavernous-sounding riffs and the guttural growls provide something visceral to the songs. The murkiness of the atmosphere is brimming with foul decaying flesh. Just listen to these damned growls the riffs are brutal and grotesquely cavernous. Although Chaotian brings something grisly to the fans of the genre, “Effigies of Obsolescence” isn’t quite in the same category as the ordinary death metal album, the quality of the riffing gnaws the bowels of your soul.

Read my full review here.

2. Trolldom - Av Gudars Ätt

Release Date: May 27th, 2022 (Iron Bonehead Productions)

From all the previous side projects Trolldom defines absolute craftsmanship the majestic beauty of the second wave of black metal is perfectly illustrated with raw and gloomy riffs and such thrill creates haunting moments. The first studio album “Av Gudars Ätt” Swartadapuz brings an aura of magical enchantment to his trademarks. The album contains four lengthy songs and an instrumental interlude, in its dark mesmerizing nature it is evident that the merging of the synth and the atmospheric elements serves to create an ancient feeling. With all the ghostly surroundings created by the synth instrument “Av Gudars Ätt” enters the majestic realm of the 90s black metal, the songs are bejeweled for the sinister and unearthly atmosphere here is unreal. The lavish textures of the guitars impose a grueling display of atmospheric & symphonic black metal that is akin to bands like Covenant, Troll, and Tartaros. Each entry has both qualities of being very unique and dramatic in nature is profusely symphonic, and the composition is swathed in a dark cloak of black sable.

Read my full review here.

1. Immolation - Acts of God

Release Date: February 18th, 2022 (Nuclear Blast Records)

Throughout their long career the New York death metal heavyweight Immolation has never released one bad album and their eleventh album “Acts of God” is an ungodly death metal record of brutal cacophony channeled by the tight performance of Robert Vigna, Ross Dolan, Steve Shalaty (drums) and, Alex Bouks. Immolation doesn’t need to reinvent itself the band has been consistent for many years, and despite the album being lengthy, the songs are sonically brutal. The album slowly gets under your skin and begins with a bewitching intro before the drums unleash torrents of blast beats. “Acts Of God” captures the core strength of past albums like “Close To A World Below” and “Majesty and Decay”, as they maintain the raw barbarity. Immolation is one of the fewer bands that can sound modern and old school, the guitar tone brings the right mix of brutality and dissonance offering heavy chunky massive riffs.  “Acts Of God” see Immolation sitting atop the throne of death metal, there’s no exaggeration here Robert Vigna, Ross Dolan, and Co. has delivered an incredible package of fifteen death metal songs.

Read my full review here.

Lastly, my list could have not been completed without adding some essential releases, below you will find some worthy albums:

  1. Ataraxy – The Last Mirror (Read my full review here).
  2. Worm – Bluenothing EP (Read the review here).
  3. Bloodbath – Survival of the Sickest (Read the review here).
  4. Disma – Earthendium (Read the review here).
  5. The Chasm – The Scars of a Reflective Shadow (Read the review here).
  6. Suppression – The Sorrow of Soul through Flesh (Read the review here).
  7. Reeking Aura – Blood and Bonemeal (Read the review here).
  8. SepticFlesh – Modern Primitive (Read the review here).
  9. Inanna – Void of Unending Depths (Read the review here).
  10. Djevel – Naa skrider natten sort (Read the review here).
  11. Dark Funeral – We Are the Apokalypse (Read the review here).
  12. Lord Belial – Rapture (Read the review here).
  13. Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses (Read the review here).
  14. Gnipahålan – I Nordisk Vredeslusta (Read the review here).
  15. Deströyer 666 – Never Surrender (Read the review here).
  16. Erzfeynd – Behaft Bekert (Read the review here).
  17. Erzfeynd – Muspilli (Read the review here).
  18. Satanic Warmaster – Aamongandr
  19. Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (Read the review here).
  20. Ghost – Impera (Read the review here).
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