The Pit’s 40 Best Albums of 2022

From top: The Flenser/Roadrunner/Solid State/Loma Vista/Atomic Fire/Prosthetic/Epic/Wicca Phase Springs Eternal/Pure Noise
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After several years of lockdown-induced malaise, things seemed to finally pick back up in 2022. Not only did some of our favorite artists release the best music of their career, but we were finally able to fully enjoy our favorites live and at shows.

With this renewed energy, we look back on 2022 and the best albums the year provided. Every flavor of rock and metal had a stand-out release this year from upcoming and massive artists alike. Here are the best-of-the-best, and our recommendations on what you need to check out.

Contributions by Tim Coffman, Michael Pementel, John Hill 

Alter Bridge – Pawns and Kings

Alter Bridge doesn’t really need to take risks at this stage, but this might be their most ambitious project to date. Walk the Sky may have had its bombastic moments, but this album reaches power metal levels of scope, as Mark Tremonti and Myles Kennedy bring a lot more thunder this time around. It might be a bit mainstream, but this is the kind of stuff that can get normal rock fans into the heavier side of things. Tim Coffman

Author and Punisher – Krueller

In the world of industrial metal, few bands capture the darkness of Tristan Shone’s personal hellscape. The man has been committed to his industrial aesthetic, and on Author & Punisher’s latest he’s programming his homemade metal instruments until they are pleading for mercy on every track. Perfect listening if you need music for peeling paint off the walls. TC

Billy Howerdel – What Normal Was

Billy Howerdel has always talked about A Perfect Circle having a gothic flair, and this record is basically that taken to the nth degree. Bringing in sounds from electronic and alternative music, Billy’s solo outing is a much different flavor than what he gets into with Maynard, but still no less pitch black. A Perfect Circle may feel like the darker side of Tool at times, but this is what APC would be if they made a Depeche Mode album. TC

Battle Beast – Circus of Doom

For all of the crushing metal out there, it’s always nice to have a record that’s an epic good time from cover to cover. Even though Battle Beast’s brand of power metal might seem a bit cheesy, Noora Louhimo’s shout is enough for you to buy in from the minute the first track starts playing. Battle Beast are still working out their sound, but this record sounds like they’re getting closer to metal perfection. TC

Blackbraid – Blackbraid I

Created by the Native American artist Jon Krieger (who also performs under the pseudonym Sgah’gahsowáh), Blackbraid has proven to be a fascinating force of artistry. Blending familiar black metal elements alongside folk music (using native instruments), Sgah’gahsowáh’s Blackbraid I stands as one of the most unique and inspiring albums of this year. Michael Pementel

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses

Blending noise and black metal together, Blut Aus Nord offers audiences yet another incredible work of horror. When you listen to Disharmonium – Undreamable Abysses, you may feel you have stepped into some kind of disturbing Lovecraftian world. MP

The Body & OAA – Enemy of Love

Through their collaboration with OAA, The Body provides yet another spectacular work of sonic madness. Enemy of Love blends noise, pop, and a plethora of other styles to create a work of chills and nightmares. MP

Cave In – Heavy Pendulum

Still in mourning over the loss of bassist and singer Caleb Scofield, Cave In digs deep for maybe their most impressive work to date in Heavy Pendulum. The band builds on their foundation of metalcore and post-hardcore and imbues their sound with tasteful nods to Alice In Chains and their cohorts. The band has swerved in many different directions over their storied career, and we’re pretty stoked about this one. John Hill

Counterparts – A Eulogy For Those Still Here

Only Counterparts’ Brendan Murphy could write a song about a terminally ill cat and make it into one of the year’s heaviest and most genuinely heart-breaking tracks. A Eulogy for Those Still Here is a perfect summation of the work Murphy and crew have put into developing their sound over the last ten years, adapt at both sonic and thematic heaviness. JH

Chat Pile – God’s Country

A brilliant work of sludgy metal that explores the hells of capitalism, Chat Pile’s God’s Country is an extraordinary work of thematic exploration that provides much to mull over. Offering so much incredible technicality and lyrical depth, this release further highlights Chat Pile’s amazing artistry. MP

Devil Master – Ecstasies of Never Ending Night

Gloomy, gothic, and packing lots of melodies, Devil Master makes music that captures the magic of the night. If you are looking for chilling tunes that exude shadowy atmospheres and provide ominous rushes, Ecstasies of Never Ending Night has you covered. MP

The Devil Wears Prada – Color Decay

The Devil Wears Prada establishes itself as one of metalcore’s most important bands with their latest LP Color Decay. Building off of their past turns into heaviness and post-rock, the group settles into a genuinely unique mixture of melodic sensibility and thirst for heavy-ass riffs. Color Decay boasts incredibly forward-thinking production on all fronts and a fully realized dynamic between singers Jeremy DePoyster and Mike Hranica which results in a triumphant record for the genre. JH

Drug Church – Hygiene

Patrick Kindlon and the rest of Drug Church’s conflict in sound make for the band’s secret sauce of hardcore guy doing spoken word over arena-ready 90s pop rock. Hygiene takes the band’s previous efforts forward, the group very readily delivering catchy post-hardcore rippers while Kindlon openly muses about the state of the world in poignant hits. JH

Fleshwater – We’re Not Here to Be Loved

Sharing members with Vein.FM, Fleshwater’s debut LP We’re Not Here to Be Loved is rock music by way of hardcore and metal kids at its finest. Mixing two clean singers and some occasional screams, songs like “Woohoo” and “Enjoy” straddle the line between brutal and pretty. Also the guitars on the re-recorded “Linda Claire” might have the dirtiest tone of the year. JH

Ghost – Impera

Over the past few years, Tobias Forge has been steering Ghost in a more mainstream direction. While that might be disheartening for the OG fans, Impera might be the first time the cathedral sounds of their first era have come back, even doing both together on “Call Me Little Sunshine.” For people who jumped on during Prequelle, this is the perfect gateway drug to some of Ghost’s earlier work. TC

Gonemage – Handheld Demise

When you blend grind with black metal and chiptune music, you get the delightful sonic bliss of Gonemage. Handheld Demise easily stands as a riveting experience of technical intrigue, while also coming across as the ideal soundtrack for a video game adventure. MP

Gridiron – No Good at Goodbyes

If there’s a future for rap metal, Gridiron offer up a pretty good argument of how fun the genre can still be, years after the genre’s initial boom period. The difference this time is everyone playing an instrument in Gridiron sounds like they got lost on the way to thrash practice, in a good way. The band’s ability to get technical when need be make it the platonic ideal of ignorant, break your friends’ noses in the pit kind of fun. JH

Halestorm – Back From the Dead

Halestorm has always brought the riffs, but this is the first time they’ve been able to capture the fire of their live shows onto a record. Every metalhead has to deal with finding their tribe, and hearing Lzzy Hale talk about her own personal journey in the past few years can hit a nerve with pretty much any metalhead on Back From the Dead. Even with what we got on record, these songs are going to absolutely crush in a live setting. TC

High Vis – Blending

Extremely British in all the best ways, High Vis sounds like the Gallagher brothers’ best reincarnated into a revolution-summer style of a post-hardcore band. “Talk For Hours” kicks things off at a perfect high energy sweetness, the album never sacrificing tempo. Anthems for the beer-soaked clubs across the world, Blending is a record you can show both your mom and jaded cousin. JH

Ibaraki – Rashomon

Matt Heafy always had potential outside of Trivium and this is probably one of the most savage things he’s released to date. Although his main gig might be going in a melodic direction, Ibaraki is the kind of blood-soaked shrieks that some of the old Trivium fans have been waiting for for a long time. TC

Lamb of God – Omens

Lamb of God just seems to be getting more cutthroat with age. As much as Randy Blythe maintains his punk credentials, this is the most straightforward metal release we’ve gotten in a very long time, with lyrics that shed light on the lack of connection we’ve had since 2020. The pandemic did a number on all of us and sometimes we need a Randy Blythe in our lives to help us get our shit together again. TC

Lil Texas – Faster

Lil Texas is a huge proponent of hardcore, though the electronic subgenre and not the punk offshoot. That said, Harder is an album closer in scope to a Prurient than a Marshmello, interjecting insane industrial drops into deceptively sweet EDM starting points. “What Up Texas” takes Texas’ addiction to high BPM crushers to the nth degree, resulting in a cacophony of noise sure to clear any club of normies instantly. JH

Lorna Shore – Pain Remains

10 years ago, the words “blackened metalcore” would illicit intense eye-rolls from elitists. But we live in a new era, and Lorna Shore makes a compelling case for the combination of genres on Pain Remains. Oscillating between absolutely crushing breakdowns and symphonic interludes, it’s an album with a vision few others in their lane could conceive of. JH

Mamaleek – Diner Coffee

This work of jazzy metal is nothing short of jaw-dropping, for each track is built to offer a surreal and captivating experience. Through Diner Coffee, Mamaleek offers audiences an album that flows like a dream – possessing an atmospheric duality that is both calming and unnerving all at once. MP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Having basically birthed a subgenre of metal from their own creativity, Meshuggah earned the leeway of taking it easy from here on out, however their drive is unextinguishable as heard on Immutable. By some unholy songcraft the band only seems to get heavier, from the first moments of “Broken Cog” to the eternal kick in the teeth of “Armies of the Preposterous.” No copycat can ever fully replicate the band’s tenacity for heaviness. JH

Mindforce – New Lords

Hudson Valley NY hardcore band Mindforce have been making their mark as one of the best bands currently making a run at crossover. New Lords perfectly connects the strands of Snapcase and Slayer into a triumphantly kickass record. JH

Revocation – Netherheaven

Absolutely fucking thrilling death metal right here. Revocation’s Netherheaven is savage-sounding thrash, gripping death metal aggression, and pure ferocity. We love it. MP

Ripped to Shreds – 劇變 (Jubian)

When it comes to utterly vicious-sounding death metal, our friends in Ripped to Shreds released one of the heaviest fucking albums of this year. From the moment it starts, 劇變 (Jubian) promises to sonically peel faces off and tear apart eardrums. MP

Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory

It always feels contradictory blending the ambient music with metal, but Rolo Tomassi makes that sound look so goddamn easy. Being equal parts Deftones as they are My Bloody Valentine, this more progressive outing from the band takes elements of shoegaze and brings a healthy dose of heaviness into the mix, with Eva Korman’s shout sounding beautiful over these mellow backing tracks. TC

Slipknot – The End So Far

This era of Slipknot may finally be over, but what a note for the band to go out on. No, it’s not as heavy as something like Iowa, but we do have the most experimental set of songs the 9 have made in years, building on the sounds of We Are Not Your Kind and making room for more punishing songs like “Yen.” Compared to previous Slipknot records, this feels like you’re trapped in a ‘00s horror movie with no hope of escape. TC

Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems

Soul Glo’s new record Diaspora Problems is hardcore perfectly suited for 2022. Equal parts celebratory, funny and pissed off, the album hits on all cylinders from the jump, delivering manic hardcore salvos that wait for no one. Pierce Jordan has a shot at being one of the best frontpeople of his generation, able to thread together poignant lyrics with one of the best screams we’ve heard in a long time. JH

Sumerlands – Dreamkiller

Producer, guitarist, songwriter extrodinaire Arthur Rizk has the Midas Touch when it comes to heavy metal. Sumerlands’ second LP Dreamkiller is a celebration of the things that made all of us fall in love with the genre in the first place, featuring nods to Ozzy Osbourne, AOR and everything in between with its meticulously written shredders any metalhead would fall for. JH

Ultha – All That Has Never Been True

Featuring a plethora of awesome technical performances and overwhelming with emotion, Ultha’s All That Has Never Been True is a gripping display of black metal. The band’s technical finesse aids in elevating the emotional tone of each song, making for an immersive experience. MP

Undeath – It’s Time… To Rise from the Grave

This record is easily one of the gnarliest death metal albums of the year. Nonstop sonic brutality from beginning to end, Undeath’s It’s Time… To Rise from the Grave is pure death metal adrenaline (and we’ve had it on spin repeatedly since its release). MP

Underoath – Voyeurist

For a certain demographic of metalheads, synths and atmospherics are naughty words. As for Underoath, Voyeurist is an album that understands how to blend both together, being heavy when it needs to but balancing things out with the kind of buzzy synths you would actually hear on the radio. Pop and metal can definitely get along…you just need to know how to use them properly. TC

Vein.FM – This World Is Going to Ruin You

Not many in the world of hardcore have a vision for what the genre can be sculpted into like  On This World Is Going to Ruin You, the band pulls sonically as much from Converge as it does unexpected sources like Silent Hill, resulting in an album that will scare the shit out of you when you’re done crowdkilling. JH

Vermin Womb – Retaliation

Gross sounding, fucking fast, and sure to annihilate your ability to hear, Vermin Womb kicks it out of the park with Retaliation. Honestly, while there are a lot of heavy records from this year, few come close to capturing the haunting menace this album provides. MP

Wicca Phase Springs Eternal – Full Moon Mystery Garden

Forged in the pitch-black backroads of Northeastern Pennsylvania, few capture the many shades of darkness like Wicca Phase Springs Eternal. On Full Moon Mystery Garden, Wicca enlists production collective Garden Avenue for a tome of hauntingly beautiful hip-hop. Wicca might also be the first artist to drop his big three zodiac signs on “I Am the Same.”  JH

Wormrot – Hiss

Imagine a car engine spewing fire in all directions for 30ish minutes. That sort of utter chaos is the kind of grind experience Wormrot has crafted with Hiss (and it’s fucking amazing). MP

Zeal and Ardor – Zeal and Ardor

Manuel Gagneux had his work cut out for him to follow up Strange Fruit back in 2018. Apparently, the answer was going even heavier, trading in the soul and gospel flair for something a bit more industrial and caustic than what came before. Other bands might try to make one banger after another, Manuel is trying to create an entire landscape in your mind. TC