We're only halfway through 2022 and it already feels like there's been a full trip around the sun's worth of great releases to sift through. From scene titans like Ghost and Korn returning in stride to younger acts across hardcore, deathcore, metalcore and more making their mark, it's already safe to confidently declare this year a rousing success when it comes to new heavy music.
We published our list of the 25 best albums of 2022 so far, but we wanted to know what our readers would choose. So we asked, and the top five vote-getters are ranked accordingly below.
It's been over a decade since Motionless in White came crashing onto the scene with their 2010 debut, Creatures, and the Pennsylvania group are now at an elder statesmen point in their career when they can strike a healthy balance between self-fulfilling experimentation and rewarding fan service. Scoring the End of the World has some of the heaviest shit they've ever released (see "Slaughterhouse" featuring Knocked Loose's Bryan Garris) and some of the most out-there, specifically a way-cool collab with DOOM composer Mick Gordon. They try a lot of moves on for size, and they all fit like a glove.
Six years was long enough since the last Meshuggah album — we needed the kind of sonic lobotomy that only they can provide. The extreme-metal Swedes once again proved themselves to be true masters of their craft on Immutable, a collection of stove-burner-to-the-face brutality that doesn't reinvent their wheel, but challenges their fans with the same elements that've been confounding and delighting us for nearly 30 years. These songs are fuckin' heavy, these songs groove, these songs twist the mind, and then they do it all again. And again.
Korn's 2019 album, the Nothing, was steeped in the doom and gloom of grief, and things didn't get any brighter on its follow-up. Requiem sees Jonathan Davis and Co. pondering the "divine comedy of life," staring deep into the dark void of ceaseless suffering that is humanity as we know it, and finding, if not comfort in the desolation, then some sort of acceptance of the cyclical nature of despair. Musically stark and exploratory compared to some of their work, and lyrically prodding and compelling, Requiem is a damn fine record.
Rammstein's new album has a song called "Dicke Titten," the title of which literally means "big boobs," and it still might be their least perverted LP yet. That said, even if Zeit leans into the band's more sentimental and reflective side, it's still classic Rammstein through and through — and every accompanying music video, which are almost just as important to Rammstein as the songs themselves, has been a masterpiece. In the years since COVID, we desperately needed the gleeful musical fireworks and sophomoric potty humor that these Neue Deutsche Härte freaks do so well.
In many ways, 2022 has felt like the year of Ghost. The Swedish occult-rock band returned with their catchiest and most triumphant-sounding record yet, and it rocketed up the charts worldwide, including landing at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200. For as popular as Impera is, it's still imbued with all of the clever quirks and devilish details that make Tobias Forge's work so deeply rewarding, listenable and downright fun. We're not gonna disagree that it's the best album of the year so far.