It’s hard to believe 2022 is already halfway done, and it has been a good year so far for metal releases. Here are our picks for June 2022’s best new metal albums.
1. Kreator – Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast)
German thrash titans Kreator show no sign of mellowing or slowing down nearly 30 years into their career. Their 15th studio album Hate Über Alles comes five years after Gods Of Violence,, though they have released EPs, splits, several live albums and a couple compilations in that time frame. It’s the first Kreator studio album for bassist Frederic Leclercq (Sinsaenum, ex-DragonForce).
Hate Über Alles begins with a brief spaghetti western influenced instrumental before the thrash kicks in. Galloping riffs and potent drums from Ventor drive the songs. This batch of tunes is excellent, with a lot of variety, first-class musicianship and a high catchiness factor. Petrozza’s biting vocals give the songs even more edge. There’s not a weak track in the bunch, with some of the highlights being the title track, the mid-paced “Crush The Tyrants” and the anthemic “Conquer And Destroy.” The biggest curveball is “Midnight Sun,” featuring a guest appearance from German pop singer Sofia Portanet, whose ethereal vocals give the heavy song a different vibe. The album closes with the six plus minute “Dying Planet,” a bit more expansive and dramatic than the typical Kreator song. It’s a strong ending to another quality album from one of thrash’s best bands. It’s our pick for June’s best new metal album.
2. Seventh Wonder – The Testament (Frontiers)
After an eight year gap between The Great Escape and 2018’s Tiara, the Swedish progressive metal band Seventh Wonder are issuing The Testament after only about a 3 and a half year span.
While there are longer and proggier songs later on the album, The Testament opens with “Warriors, a relatively straightforward and exceptionally catchy track. Other songs such as “The Light” and “The Red River” keep those memorable melodies while utilizing extended instrumental sections and other progressive tropes. The instrumental “Reflections” showcases band’s musicianship. On The Testament, Seventh Wonder minimize the self-indulgence and maximize the hooks, making for an album that’s both instantly engaging and has a lot of subtleties that emerge after multiple listens.
3. Belphegor – The Devils (Nuclear Blast)
In their 30 year career, Austrian death/black metal legends Belphegor have issued albums every two or three years. The gap between Totenritual and their twelfth studio album The Devils was five years, the longest they’ve had. But, they made it worth the wait.
Helmuth and Serpenth have developed a distinctive style over the years, creating a brutal blend of death metal and black metal. The balance of their lethal concoctions varies from song to song. Tracks like “Totentanz – Dance Macabre” bring black metal to the forefront while songs such as “Damnation – Höllensturz” deliver mid-paced death metal with some acoustic moments. It’s a streamlined album clocking in at 36 minutes with maximum variety and minimum filler. The Devils is the latest in a long line of excellent Belphegor albums.
4. Werewolves – From The Cave To The Grave (Prosthetic)
Since 2020, the Australian technical death metal act Werewolves have released one album each year to become a tireless band in no time. What attracts the most attention is that their music always sounds gigantic; just like their third and newest album From The Cave To The Grave. All are bulky, wicked and furious.
Werewolves integrate black metal touches into the structure of brutal-tinged technical death metal, creating an appalling soundscape. And this technicality has been observed to the extent that it does not add abstract complexities to the album, so that Werewolves can add groove to their music layers. The stunning production of the album brings the dynamics of the songs to the highest levels of listening experience, while the subtle sounds of musical instruments attack its audience in detail. Werewolves have expanded their musical power with From The Cave To The Grave to become one of the most prominent bands of the underground’s scene.
5. Charlie Griffiths – Tiktaalika (InsideOut)
Charlie Griffiths is the guitar player for prog superstars Haken, and Tiktaalika is his debut solo album. It gives Griffiths the chance to stretch his wings in a few non-Haken directions, particularly when it comes to instrumentation; here he focuses on 6-string guitar rather than 8-string. Guest vocalists who help bring these songs to life include Tommy Rogers (Between the Buried and Me), Daniel De Jongh (Textures), Neil Purdy (Luna’s Call), and Vladimir Lalic (Organized Chaos).
Tiktaalika is a prog metal album, loaded with technicality and blistering guitar work, plenty of clean and harsh vocals, and a number of detours ranging from thrash to King Crimson influences. Griffiths shines on guitars, bass, and keys, with some help from Jordan Rudess, drummer Darby Todd, and Rob Townsend on sax. It’s a captivating, energetic album.
6. 10,000 Years – III (Interstellar Smoke)
Almost a year to the day since 10,000 Years released their first studio album II, the stoner metal group have a new album ready with III. This one continues the story that began in 2020’s I EP, as a spaceship and its crew wander through Earth millenniums in the future after going through a rift in the space-time continuum. It’s total sci-fi worship, a perfect set piece for the smoky atmosphere this Swedish trio are clouded in.
Though little time has passed between II and III, this isn’t an album of half-baked ideas. There are several stunning points, including the outstanding minutes-long guitar solo in instrumental closer “To Suns Beyond” and the unrelenting pace of “Cult Axe.” These guys remain committed to their space-driven concept, making sure that the music matches the weightlessness of the cosmos.