August 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums

Here are our picks for the best new metal albums released in August 2022.

Nuclear Blast

1. Machine Head – Of Kingdom And Crown (Nuclear Blast)

It has been a tumultuous few years for Machine Head. 2018’s Catharsis was poorly received, and two longtime members (guitarist Phil Demmel and drummer Dave McClain) left the band. Lesser bands might have folded, but Robb Flynn was undaunted, adding guitarist Waclaw “Vogg” Kieltyka (Decapitated) and drummer Matt Alston to the mix. Their latest album Of Kingdom And Crown is the band’s first concept album.

Loosely inspired by a Japanese anime series, Of Kingdom And Crown is an ambitious effort, beginning with the ten minute opener “Slaughter The Martyr.” It starts with subdued melodic singing from Flynn before the metal kicks in. Heavy grooves are contrasted by periodic mellower parts, making for a dynamic listen. While musically it’s much more what fans expect from Machine Head, they still push in interesting directions. From crushers like “Kill Thy Enemies” to catchier numbers such as the closer “Arrows In Words From The Sky,” the songs are consistently good. That along with the seamless addition of the new members makes Of Kingdom And Crown a potent return to form for Machine Head. It’s our pick for August’s best new metal album.

Peaceville Records

2. Sigh – Shiki (Peaceville)

Japan’s pre-eminent purveyors of experimental black metal, Sigh, return with their twelfth full-length release, Shiki. It’s the beginning of a new four album cycle for Sigh (each album in a cycle starts with S-I-G-H letters) and the band claims the material within is some of their darkest, heaviest, and at times most psychedelic of their long career.

Despite the most certain experimental, avant-garde nature of Sigh’s style, there are so many straight-up metal moments throughout Shiki that the craziness can easily be overlooked. Killer drumming, some excellent guitar solos, and a number of perfectly set up breakdowns all lean more towards heaviness than cult, but this is still a Sigh album through and through. Through ten songs and forty-six minutes Sigh showcase the breadth of their talents while also giving us some of their heaviest moments of recent times.

Nuclear Blast

3. The Halo Effect – Days Of The Lost (Nuclear Blast)

For Swedish melodic death metal devotees, the prospect of a collective comprised entirely of former In Flames members creating new music reminiscent of that group’s early years was incredibly enticing. However, on their debut full-length Days Of The LostThe Halo Effect live up to the hype. This is Gothenburg metal writ large; there’s no one better qualified to craft a record of this ilk.

As the commanding opening one-two of “Shadowminds” and the infectious title track emphasize, there’s a memorable hook lurking around every corner, and nearly every one of the ten cuts packs its own identity. The melodic, riff-driven style is bolstered by modern production values. Standouts among the non-single tracks include symphonic-laced “Gateways”, which straddles melancholy and intensity; Mikael Stanne’s soulful clean vocals on “In Broken Trust”; and the downright catchy “A Truth Worth Lying For.” While an obvious acknowledgement of the members’ roots, this LP proves a sub-genre that has often felt stale in recent years can still sound fresh and vital in 2022.

Prosthetic Records

4. Psycroptic – Divine Council (Prosthetic)

Over the years, Psycroptic have maintained their status as an outstanding cult death metal band and they’ve never wasted a moment experimenting with various sounds and productions in their music. Now, four years after As The Kingdom Drowns, Psycroptic have set to return to the peak that they conquered 10 years ago with 2012’s The Inherited Repression.

Their 2020 EP The Watcher Of All was perhaps a learning experience for Psycroptic in terms of production, recording and mixing. The echoes of those voluminous and resonating sounds can now be heard eloquently in Divine Council. It can easily be considered as a spectacular and memorable work in Psycroptic’s career, as the songwriting is incredibly dynamic and intense, connecting the world of technical death metal to the new frontiers of extreme metal. Also all the members of the band, especially the Haley brothers, show a stunning aspects of their musicianship and performance. Psycroptic’s best since The Inherited RepressionDivine Council is djentier, groovier and more diverse than a typical technical death metal album.

Century Media Records

5. Arch Enemy – Deceivers (Century Media)

Five years have elapsed between Arch Enemy studio albums, the longest gap of the Swedish melodic death metal group’s long career. Deceiver is their third album with Alissa White-Gluz, who has been their vocalist for eight years now. That’s also when guitarist Jeff Loomis (Nevermore) joined the ranks.

With White-Gluz’s ability to both growl and sing, Arch Enemy have utilized those elements, but in small doses. That’s also the case here. The blend of unclean and melodic vocals is on display on album opener “Handshake With Hell,” but that’s the only track where singing is prominent. Michael Amott and Loomis deliver catchy riffs and solos throughout, and the rhythm section of Sharlee D’Angelo (bass) and Daniel Erlandsson (drums) is extremely tight. With both dense, extreme sections and soaring melodies, Deceivers is exactly what Arch Enemy fans expect. There’s enough originality to keep things interesting, and the execution is flawless.

InsideOut Music

6. SiX by SiX – SiX by SiX (InsideOut)

One of the most unexpected collaborations in recent years has to be the new international trio SiX by SiX. Featuring Ian Crichton (Saga) on guitar, Nigel Glockler (Saxon) on drums, and Robert Berry (3, the Berry/Keith Emerson/Carl Palmer collab) on bass, keys, and vocals, this eponymous effort is the band’s debut. The band makes sense though, as the three have played together occasionally over the years. They bring their not inconsiderable skills and songwriting to bear on SiX by SiX with ten guitar-driven classic prog tracks.

Here’s something you don’t say about prog too often: these are catchy songs. From the three-minute “China” to the eight-minute “Reason to Feel Calm Again,” each track is instantly recognizable on its own. This is largely due to Crichton’s amazing guitar lines and Berry’s perfect “classic rock” voice, but Glockler’s drumming performance also cannot be overlooked.

Other 2022 Monthly  Best Album Lists

January 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
February 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
March 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
April 2022 Best Metal Albums
May 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
June 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
July 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums

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