Author's Choices

Arpad’s Top 10 Releases of 2022

Honorable Mentions

22 – Indepth – Ancient Architects
21 – Inanimate Existence – The Masquerade
20 – Kruhl – Sanguine Nihilism
19 – Anal Stabwound – Reality Drips Into the Mouth of Indifference
18 – Psycroptic – Divine Council
17 – Neurotic Machinery – A Loathsome Aberration
16 – Allegaeon – Damnum
15 – Fallujah – Empyrean
14 – Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion
13 – Sonivinos – Sonicated Intravaginal Insemination in Numbers
12 – Catalyst – A Different Painting For A New World
11 – Exocrine – The Hybrid Suns

Top 10 Albums of 2022

10 – Hath – All That Was Promised
[Willowtip Records]

All That Was Promised was released in March 2022 and for me it was pretty clear that it will end up on my AOTY list. And here we are. This is exactly how modern Death Metal is done! A little progressive, a little technical, a little blackened and definitely groovy. That is pretty much everything that’s needed to create something that stands out for me. Compared to Of Rot and Ruin, I feel like this one is a little less blackened and a little more groovy and melodic. Although melodic is definitely only meant as a nuance. Something that I feel is outstanding here are the drums. Really clever drumming. Overall an amazing release.

9 – Tomàrúm – Ash in Realms of Stone Icons
[Prosthetic Records]

I am a Death Metal guy. I always prefered Death Metal to anything else and I don’t think that will ever change but I do love and listen to a whole bunch of different genres and subgenres. Black Metal for example. What I like in Black Metal is the trance-like feeling you often get in the more atmospheric and melodic releases of the genre. What I also like (more like NEED) is good and clean production. So, if something sounds like all those muddy and flat 90’s classics, I’m pretty sure I won’t love it. Luckily, Tomàrúm are anything but not that! Ash in Realms of Stone Icons is modern, heavy, well produced and incredibly well written… Black Metal tends to be cold, this is definitely more of a warm sound. Heavy, fretless bass driven parts follow more atmospheric and melodic elements while it’s all combined in a progressive manner. All songs are at least 8 minutes long while the record ends with a 15 minutes long epos. Wow, what a journey! Ash in Realms of Stone Icons, is my Black Metal album of the year 2022.

8 – Freedom of Fear – Carpathia
[EVP Recording]

Freedom of Fear is a name that will be heard a lot more the next coming years. I’m pretty confident with that. They had a really solid release already in 2019 with Nocturnal Gates but Carpathia is a little bit better from every poing of view. Their highly technical style of Death Metal is something you could definitely call neoclassical. Melodic guitars, a good load of soli, all complimented by some symphonic elements without pushing it too far. Highly recommended for fans of Obscura (Cosmogenesis and Omnivium era), Fleshgod Apocalypse as well as Dimmu Borgir (Death Cult Armageddon and In Sorte Diaboli era) and Children of Bodom.

7 – Despite Exile – Wound

Yeah, this is again one of those “out of nowhere” records for me. Seems like this list is pretty much ruled by those kinds of releases. I remember enjoying their previous release enough to get it on CD but this is nothing like that… this is next level! A huge step up in their carrer in my opinion. On Wound, the Italians went more for that atmosphere and groove instead of brutality or speed. Some of the songs remind me of later Fit For An Autopsy or even Gojira, just so you get what music they playing, but they definitely have their own style. I am really impressed by the progression of the band on this release and I keep discovering new bits every time I listen to it. So good!

6 – Spire of Lazarus – Soaked in the Sands

One of the brightest rising stars in modern Technical Death Metal! Period. They pretty much picked it up where they stopped with Ghost of Sparta. Incredible technicality, calm and pretty atmospheric parts, tons of shred and blast beats. Lots of blast beats! The band, (ex Dayum) made it their mission to give their favourite video games a pretty brutal soundtrack and I feel free to say, they do it great! Soaked in the Sands is a little more brutal, a little more technical and simply a little more of everything as the previous two. Wow, what a ride!

5 – Miseration – Black Miracles and Dark Wonders
[Massacre Records]

They are back! And they came to rule… The amazing artwork (Pär Olofsson) shows pretty much what Black Miracles and Dark Wonders is about. The lyrics deal with the darker sides of deities and myths from several different cultures and religions. The music… Oh the sweet music! This record is in my opinion by far their best work, though I am a huge fan of all their records. Compared to their previous 2 records, which are in my opinion their most brutal and relentless ones, the guys cut away a good bit of chaos and buzz on Black Miracles and Dark Wonders. The duo (Christian Älvestam / Jani Stefanovic) managed to stay true to their sound but make this one just as groovy as their first record, Your Demons Their Angels was but simply better! The long wait has really payed off.

4 – Bloodywood – Rakshak

I have known for many years now that the Indian Metal scene is strong as hell and countless incredible bands are spawning from the subcontinent, but after the very first listen of Bloodywoods debut album Rakshak, I knew they will blow up fast! And they did. Congratulations guys! This is by far the most accessible record on this list but I just cant change it, I love it! On Rakshak you will find Nu Metal and Rap Metal from 20 years ago (early Linkin Park, POD and such), tastefully combined with Groove Metal and a little Melodic Death Metal. The combo of 2 vocalists, where one raps in English and the second one sings (clean and harsh) in Hindi is in my opinion one of the best things about this record. That all complimented by traditional Indian instruments makes Rakshak a really unique piece of art!

3 – Humaniac – Until the Light Fakes Us

“Until the Light Fakes Us” caught me off guard. Though I knew the band delivers quality music I was not prepared for this. The record came out of nowhere and totally ruined the already existing AOTY base I had in my mind until then. This is tasteful modern Technical Death Metal with strong progressive elements, spiced up with some experimental bits and great melodies. If sweep picking is something you usually enjoy, please don’t miss out on this underappreciated badboy of a record! But beware, it’s crazily fast.

2 – An Abstract Illusion – Woe
[Willowtip Records]

Fans of An Abstract Illusion have been patiently (or not) waiting for a follow-up to Illuminate the Path for many years… A little more than 6 years, to be exact. I was not a fan before Woe (but I honestly never really gave them a fair chance) but I really am now. Wow… this record is pretty much everything I am looking for in Extreme Metal. It’s progressive, it’s melodic, it has a few pretty technical elements but most of all, it’s amazing! There is not really a genre you could stamp on this release so I just call it Extreme Metal. But for genre nerds, like me: it’s mainly Progressive Death Metal with a strong, blackened feeling + some fine extras. The songwriting is excellent and what stands out the most I would say. The whole record has an emotional effect on me but the song “In The Heavens Above, You Will Become A Monster” is incredible. The lyrics are heartbreaking and the song just as sad as it is beautiful! An absolute masterpiece.

1 – Kardashev – Liminal
[Metal Blade Records]

As a long time fan of these guys (since Peripety, 2015) I must say I simply love, LOVE how they have been changing their style, little by little with every release since their inception. They have changed their style until they ended up with their own subgenre. That was in my opinion manifested with the previous EP: The Baring of Shadows. Sitting somewhere in between Black Metal, Prog and remnants of Deathcore they call their creation Deathgaze. Liminal Rites is one bit more of everything, just one step further in their seemingly neverending circle of progression. The atmosphere they managed to create on here is simply incredible. Incredible… Dreamy, gazey and soothing but also melancholic and pretty brutal at times. The beautiful and often almost eerie cleans by singer Mark Garrett are phenomenal and in my opinion they lift the whole record to a brand new level! An outstanding and amazing release that is rightfully my AOTY 2022.

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