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The Top 30 Albums of 2022

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Rounding up the strongest from this year's staggering amount of top tier selections.

Artwork by Noah C. Meihoff

Another year, another fruitful act of reflection as we look back at what inspired us, what amazed or shocked us, and what kept us going throughout this memorable 2022. Long awaited returns, new greats, and expansive growth into unique sonic territories comprised the best that this year had to offer. No matter where you stand on the musical spectrum, 2022 provided much to enjoy. From ethereal progressive to elegant dream doom and bone-crushing death, our selections collect a wide range of bands and albums worth their weight in gold.

Here are the Top 30 Albums of 2022:


30. Shape of Despair - Return To The Void | Season of Mist

Cover Artwork by Mariusz Krystew

29. SOM - The Shape of Everything | Pelagic Records

Cover Artwork by Austin Isaac Peters

28. Undeath - It's Time​.​.​.​To Rise From the Grave | Prosthetic Records

Cover Artwork by Matt Browning

27. Birds in Row - Gris Klein | Red Creek Recordings

Cover Artwork by Bart Balboa

26. Falls of Rauros - Key To A Vanishing Future | Gilead Media

Where ‘Patterns in Mythology’ (2019) burst out of the sea with intensity and vicious proclamation, this follow-up takes a hard stance against being its victory lap. Humbling, honorable in its intent, and ugly at points to the extent that you can see inside of the group's personal growth, the album concedes that it is fighting against hindsight of the past three years. Heavy at its rear-end, the tracklist skews towards a B-sided climax that steadily builds to its inevitable, heart-wrenching conclusion; with a moment to breathe, the group exhales on a howl at the moon, a cry for life, a declaration that they are still alive and refuse to leave the prime of their second era. It's majestic, lung-squeezing, and the closer one gets to its coda, a regret sets in that time is of the essence. The future is now. American Black Metal has been usurped by a thriving Maine quartet and they're begging you not to take them for granted. - Jake Sanders

Cover Artwork by Austin Lunn

25. Watain - The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain | Nuclear Blast Records

Cover Artwork by Erik Danielsson & Oik Wasfuk

24. Holy Fawn - Dimensional Bleed | Wax Bodega

Gentle noise and joyous reverie grip listeners in an album that crawled out of the cold of a morning fog. With profound appreciation for the world of post-rock, and a subtle sidelong glance at their heavier brethren, Holy Fawn craft what is the crossover album of the year. They are a perfectly woven quilt of overlapping polyrhythms and instrumental goodness that knows when to whisper, and when to scream. It's anxiety and euphoria on the edge of society's expectations. It's unlike what we know, and beautiful like a stranger from afar. 'Dimensional Bleed' should be clung to for dear life. - Jake Sanders

'Dimensional Bleed' (2022)

23. Cult of Luna - The Long Road North | Metal Blade Records

The Swedish masters of the cinematic slow build and tectonic shifting peaks managed to somehow raise the bar even higher on their latest sonic tome. Their trademark sound is as expansive and textured as ever, heaving with anguish and bitter emotion. With the help of some intriguing guest appearances along the way, this journey never gets old and has managed to keep our attention all year long. - Rohan

Cover Artwork by Erik Olofsson

22. Sylvaine - Nova | Season of Mist

Cover Artwork by Andy Julia & Daria Endresen

21. Fit For An Autopsy - Oh What The Future Holds | Nuclear Blast Records

Cover Artwork by Adam Burke

20. Vein.FM - The World Is Going To Ruin You | Closed Casket Activities

Closed Casket Activities had a standout 2022 with a wide array of notable releases, one being this uncompromising beast by way of Vein.FM. It's unconventional in every sense of the word and presents a twisted soundscape representative of Autumn Morgan's cover artwork, completing one exhilarating full-length that further establishes Vein.FM's prominence. - Luis

Cover Artwork by Autumn Morgan

19. Deadbody - The Requiem | Closed Casket Activities

The death metal arena is as flooded as its ever been with new releases arriving at our doors on a near weekly basis, but few stand as tall as Deadbody in delivering a thrill ride of a listen that is more than just instrumentally sound. It's downright punishing from the get go and keeps you on your toes at all times with venue leveling offerings that'll raise your blood pressure on moment's notice. This is as strong as death metal debuts go. - Luis

Cover Artwork by Thomas Toye

18. Temple of Void - Summoning the Slayer | Relapse Records

Cover Artwork by Ola Larsson

17. Animals As Leaders - Parrhesia | Sumerian Records

Cover Artwork by Telavaya

16. Astronoid - Radiant Bloom | 3DOT Recordings

Cover Artwork by Travis Smith

15. The Halo Effect - Days of the Lost | Nuclear Blast Records

Cover Artwork by Adrian Baxter

14. Chat Pile - God’s Country | The Flenser

Cover Artwork by Chat Pile

13. Blackbraid - Blackbraid I | self-release

Cover Artwork by Adrian Baxter

12. Inclination - Unaltered Perspective | Pure Noise Records

Cover Artwork by Ridge Rhine

11. Coheed & Cambria - Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind | Roadrunner Records

Diving straight into electronic influences, Coheed crafted the album of the summer by taking a fun, and playful new direction in this album, featuring catchy lyrics, melodic anthems that just keep coming, and a closing track that works as a show-stopper. - Jake Sanders

Cover Artwork by Chase Stone

10. Fleshwater - We’re Not Here To Be Loved | Closed Casket Activities

Cover Artwork by Fleshwater

9. Cave In - Heavy Pendulum | Relapse Records

Cover Artwork by Richey Beckett

8. Faceless Burial - At the Foothills of Deliration | Dark Descent Records

The Aussie death metal trio delivered another bludgeoning riff-fest, packed with neck-snapping twists & constant rhythmic changes. Adorned with another timeless Seagrave cover and boasting a thick, punching analog sound, “At the Foothills of Deliration” sits atop the steaming pile of killer death metal releases that have seen the light of day in 2022. - Rohan

Cover Artwork by Dan Seagrave

7. Dream Unending - Song of Salvation | 20 Buck Spin

On the duo’s newest offering, Vella and DeTore use a less is more approach to create a sophomore record that stands toe to toe with its predecessor and in some cases, rises above. Dream Unending will continue to beckon us not to a void, but a doorway that leads to music that feels as large and ponderous as being in the Library of Alexandria. It’s deep and vast, but only accessible through your guides. - Tyson Tillotson

Cover Artwork by Benjamin Vierling

6. Counterparts - A Eulogy For Those Still Here | Pure Noise Records

Cover Artwork by Colin Crane

5. Messa - Close | Svart Records

Mesa’s third full length offering marks a bold, creative expansion of their sound, resulting in one of the year's most captivating releases. Their blues-soaked doom offerings are a masterclass in patience, poignancy & power. Lead vocalist Sara’s performance is nothing short of remarkable, from gentle & delicate verse passages to soaring chorus melodies, her vocal character is what sets this band apart. It's somber & haunting in parts, with a heightened intensity full of fist-pounding riffs in others. Leaning on an eclectic array of world instruments throughout the entire album, Messa have crafted an entirely unique soundscape and set their course for what is sure to be an exciting trajectory going forward. - Rohan

Cover Artwork by Marco Zanin and Sara Bianchin

4. Wake - Thought Form Descent | Metal Blade Records

Wake's Metal Blade Records debut is a towering step up from its 2020 predecessor and is arguably their most grandiose effort yet as it concocts a beautiful nightmare of face-melting speed met by slow-burning rage and graceful melody in streaks. The balance established between two extreme ends is a feat to behold, an evident byproduct of sonic maturity that has positioned the band among the best in metal today. - Luis

Cover Artwork by Samantha Muljat

3. Thornhill - Heroine | UNFD

Cover Artwork by Kevin Moore

2. Sumerlands - Dreamkiller | Relapse Records

The highly anticipated follow-up to 2016's 'self-titled' record is a joyous, heavy metal ride through the Sunset Strip. Soaring vocals and electrifying solos comprise this wondrous outing oozing with soul. 'Dreamkiller' carries itself as an infectious wonder warranting permanent positions in everyone's playlists. You'll find yourself screaming its choruses in no time. - Luis

Cover Artwork by Brendan Radigan

1. Meshuggah - Immutable | Atomic Fire Records

As tantalizing as ever, Meshuggah came forth and delivered a masterclass performance that astounds as well as it does on the live stage as it does on one's headphones. Opener 'Broken Cog' introduces what is among the band's most crushing releases across their revered discography as it continues through a maelstrom that perplexes the mind as it does the physical body, all the way through the monstrous 'Past Tense'. 'Immutable' is more representative of a band firm on pleasing creative ambitions decades past their inception than it is a showcase of commanding technical ability, and with it being their first record standing at over an hour in length, Meshuggah craft another magnum opus in Swedish metal. - Luis

Cover Artwork by Luminokaya


Congratulations to all for another fantastic year in music, and thank you to all of the musicians, publicists, labels, managers, and affiliated individuals responsible for keeping us enriched with great music on a daily basis. Another great year awaits...

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