Here are our picks for October 2022’s best heavy metal albums.
1. The Otolith – Folium Limina (Blues Funeral)
SubRosa called it a day in 2019, but several members of their final lineup and some from earlier incarnations are now in The Otolith. That includes Sarah Pendleton (vocals/violin), Kim Cordray (violin), Levi Hanna (guitar/vocals) and Andy Patterson (drums). Matt Brotherton is their bassist.
Sonically their debut album Folium Limina treads a lot of the same ground as SubRosa, with violins providing a signature sound, but also moves in a new direction with more of an emphasis on folk and darkwave elements. There are still plenty of heavy doom riffs and dense atmospherics, with the long song lengths giving The Otolith ample space to shift seamlessly between styles. Those shifts make tracks like the 13 plus minute opener “Sing No Coda” compelling throughout. With their pedigree, it’s no surprise that Folium Limina is an impressive and engaging debut. It’s also our pick for October’s best album.
2. Dead Cross – II (Ipecac)
Five years after their debut, the experimental troupe Dead Cross return with their sophomore effort II. Fronted by Mike Patton (Faith No More/Fantomas), the band’s lineup also includes guitarist Mike Crain (Retox), bassist Justin Pearson (Deaf Club) and drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer, Fantomas, Mr. Bungle). It was a challenging recording process, with Crain going through cancer treatment while they were tracking.
Dead Cross explore a variety of styles, from the catchy hardcore of “Animal Espionage” to the lightning fast yet complex thrash of “Heart Reformer.” “Reign Of Error” is Slayer-esque, a furious thrash number blazing by in less than two minutes. Pearson handles lead vocals on “Christian Missile Crisis” and provides backing vocals for several other songs. Lyrically there are certainly serious topics, but also a lot of humor. II is an eclectic album with great musicianship and a unique sound.
3. Goatwhore – Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven (Metal Blade)
NOLA extreme metal masters Goatwhore are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. Their eighth full-length Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven comes five years after Vengeful Ascension, the longest gap between albums in their career.
It’s also the longest album of their career, though at 47 minutes isn’t exactly bloated. They deliver a combination of black, death and thrash metal that’s sometimes dense and crushing, other times groovier and more melodic. There aren’t a whole lot of surprises, though Goatwhore always manage to throw something different into the mix, such as cinematic moments in the title track and the dynamic closer “And I Was Delivered From the Wound Of Perdition.” Fierce vocals from Ben Falgoust and Sammy Duet and Goatwhore’s masterful mix of genres makes Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven another strong addition to their impressive body of work.
4. Psychonaut – Violate Consensus Reality (Pelagic)
Belgian progressive/post-metal trio Psychonaut return with their second album, Violate Consensus Reality, a loose concept album based on the idea of creating a new civilization based on a new human identity – not a bad idea considering the last few years. If you missed out on their debut Unfold The God Man, or singer Stefan de Graef’s other band Hippotraktor, don’t let this one slip by.
Psychonaut have mastered the dynamics needed to create compelling progressive post-metal. The eight songs here never let our attention slip, from the varied vocals (mostly harsh, but with some strong cleans as well) to the hypnotic and aggressive music. Guest vocal appearances from Stefanie Mannaerts (Brutus) and Colin H. van Eeckhout (Amenra) on the massive title track add just the right amount of variety.
5. Ripped To Shreds – 劇變 (Jubian)
Once a solo project by main man Andrew Lee, 劇變 (Jubian) sees Ripped to Shreds‘ third proper album branch out into a fully-fledged band, their first for Relapse Records. Lee and crew have applied the scorched earth strategy when it comes to influences on this track, never buying in too much in one direction, but feeling like a musical transformation for the during this epic opus’s run time.
If 亂 (Luan) was a precursor of the band’s future then consider 劇變 (Jubian) a massive statement and evolution for the band. This is the sound of a death metal band taking every influence they already had, running it through a blender and making it theirs entirely. Ripped To Shreds are the next big thing in death metal.
6. Ritual Dictates – No Great Loss (Artoffact)
In just two years, Ritual Dictates have gone from quirky death metal to brooding gothic metal with No Great Loss. They haven’t gotten rid of the death metal, as evident by “Burn The Widow” and the final minutes of “Succumbing To The Ravages of Age.” However, with regards to that second song, it starts out as an acoustic ballad with mournful singing. The group definitely have put all their creative efforts into gothic gloom with their sophomore album, one that has a bit of a latter-day Ulver atmosphere to it.
“Aqua Tofana,” which features excellent vocals from Unleash The Archers’ Brittney Slayes, could’ve fit in somewhere on The Assassination Of Julius Caesar. No Great Loss is likely to be as divisive as that album was, yet just like that one, Ritual Dictates prove to be more interesting the further they step away from their original sound.
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