As we wrap up the year, our list of 2022’s best albums is coming next month. Here are our picks for November’s best heavy metal albums.
1. Disillusion – Ayam (Prophecy)
Despite forming nearly thirty years ago, Ayam is only Disillusion’s fourth album. The German melodic/progressive death metal band’s 2019 album The Liberation stormed its way upon the scene, making its presence felt on multiple year-end lists. Now a mere three years later (the last gap in albums was 13 years) the band is back with Ayam, and they aim to show us that not a single step has been lost.
The album kicks off with one of the best songs of the year, “Am Abgrund,” and barely lets up after that. One can hear plenty of influence from Katatonia to Amorphis, but Disillusion wrap it all up in their own style – majestic, epic, emotional, and quite simply beautifully executed. Even if you don’t want to, you can’t help but stop what you’re doing and just listen to the entire album. Ayam is our pick for the best album of the month.
2. Candlemass – Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm)
Sweet Evil Sun is the 13th album overall by Candlemass and the second since the return of original front man Johan Langquist. Opening with “Wizard of the Vortex” is a powerful statement. The song plays out in slow fashion with Langquist soaring above the band. This properly marries the doomy dirges to an operatic style of singing for which the band is most famous. “Angel Battle” hits the same high notes a few tracks later with a crushing crescendo fading into darkness at the track’s end.
These Swedish masters of the craft have once again delivered an outstanding album. Candlemass are without a doubt one of the greatest bands that doom metal has ever produced and Sweet Evil Sun is the latest in a chapter of excellence without parallel.
3. In The Woods… – Diversum (Soulseller)
Four years after their last album, Norwegian veterans In The Woods… have both a new singer (Bernt Fjellestad, formerly of Susperia and and Scornbath) and a new record label (Soulseller). Diversum is their third album since they re-formed in 2014, and sixth overall.
They have come a long way from their black metal beginnings, evolving into a prog/avant-garde band. Diversum is an appropriate title for an album with a lot of variety. “Moments” has a singalong chorus and streamlined length, while songs like “We Sinful Converge” and “A Wonderful Crisis” are more epic with plenty of ebbs and flows and a combination of singing and harsh vocals. Fjellestad is a good addition, a versatile singer that fits right in and gives a strong performance throughout, especially on “Master Of None.” In The Woods… are able to write songs that are both memorable and interesting, making Diversum a highly enjoyable listen.
4. Kampfar – Til klovers takt (Indie)
Ever since Norwegian black metal veterans Kampfar re-formed their musical anatomy in 2011 with their acclaimed album Mare, it’s as if they’ve reinvented themselves. This path gradually expanded and developed during the last decade until it became the high point of the band’s music. Til klovers takt, Kampfar’s latest full length, once again depicts their mastery in creating a passionate and artistic work.
Til klovers takt is a continuation of the glorious and storytelling path that Kampfar have established over the past decade. Black metal is not only the medium to convey the concept of black metal and the pagan messages, but is a vessel to connect the listener to the endless world of Norse folk history and mythology, by carefully crafted illustration of its tales. This is made possible by brilliant and dynamic songwriting and equally impressive performances by the band members. It seems Kampfar won’t go astray, as Til klovers takt proves.
5. High Command – Eclipse Of Dual Moons (Southern Lord)
Firing out of the gate in a frenzied metal fury, the title track of Eclipse Of Dual Moons is the clarion call for this metal militia’s next wholesale objective. It is eight tracks of fury, just short of 50 minutes and maximum heaviness that draws from a pool of influences without any discernable depth. ‘80s thrash, death, classic metal; you name it, High Command delivers on it.
High Command are on the cutting edge of what crossover thrash is, whether that be the lyrical content taken from legendary lore or the use of a Hammond organ on a track called “Fortified By Bloodshed” of all things. They have lost nary a step because of this. The album’s closing track “Spires of Secartha” is the most ambitious thing they have done to date. 12-minute songs aren’t often part of this genre’s mix, but High Command are doing their own thing and doing it well. Their ambitious take on a genre that doesn’t often thrive on variety is something that is well worth celebrating. This tour-de-force of an album is a must hear.
6. MMXX – Sacred Cargo (Candlelight)
MMXX were formed by current and former members of Daylight Dies and The Foreshadowing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The draw to their debut album Sacred Cargo is all the outside vocalists they utilize. Dan Swano, Aaron Stainthorpe, Mikko Kotamaki; these are just a few of the musicians who contribute their recognizable voices. Fans of doom/death metal will be thrilled at who else is involved, as this is a who’s who of belters with decades of experience.
Even though there are over half a dozen singers on Sacred Cargo, it never comes off as disjointed. Like a doom/death take on the Probot project Dave Grohl created back in the early 2000’s, each song is tailored to the strengths of each guest vocalist. MMXX are able to do something new in doom/death by bringing together top-tier talent from all over the world in a unified front.
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
August 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
September 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums
October 2022 Best Heavy Metal Albums