Our 2022 Midyear Report continues with our favorite metal and hard rock albums of the year so far.
The pandemic rages on, but the music industry has finally settled into some semblance of normalcy in 2022. Album cycles and tours have been less affected by delays and postponements, as we all cautiously move forward with a general sense of resignation. That said, the world feels no less dystopian. War broke out in Ukraine, climate change seems like a ship that’s sailed, and there’s uneasiness and unrest abound.
One thing’s for sure: Heavy music remains as vital as ever. The catharsis of these times demands music that can satiate the anger, the disillusionment, and the despair — or at least momentarily distract us from it. Of course, any genre of music or art can serve this function. But there’s something about heavy riffs and loud volumes that can invigorate the heart and mind during times of utter bleakness.
When building our list of the best heavy albums of 2022 thus far, we were struck by the sonic diversity of the selections — from the vitriolic hardcore of Soul Glo to the arena rock leanings of Ghost to the metal-meets-blues of Zeal & Ardor. Every entry here possesses its own idiosyncrasies. But what also stood out was the sheer urgency of the artists themselves. This is music made with intent, seemingly in spite of a growing, pervasive nihilism within the cultural consciousness.
We hope that you discover something in this list that inspires you to buy a record, go to a show, and acknowledge the music beyond merely streaming it. Directly supporting these artists is now more important than ever.
Senior Staff Writer