Top 30 Metal and Hard Rock Albums of 2022

Our 2022 Annual Report continues with the best heavy music albums of the year

Top Metal and Hard Rock Albums of 2022 featured

    Our 2022 Annual Report continues with our Top 30 Metal and Hard Rock Albums list. As the year winds down, stay tuned for more awards, lists, and articles about the best music, film, and TV of 2022. You can find it all in one place here.

    Touring returned in full force in 2022, if not more so, as bands made up for lost time on the road. During that concert-industry shutdown of 2020 and 2021, many artists used the time to hit the studio.

    Veteran acts like Ozzy Osbourne, Slipknot, Rammstein, and Lamb of God, who had all just released albums in 2019 or 2020, were able to record new albums during their time off the road, and thus unleashed follow-ups in a relatively quick manner in 2022.


    Other acts like Megadeth and Alexisonfire ended long waits, releasing their first albums in six and 13 years, respectively. And Ghost continued their meteoric rise to the upper echelon of metal bands with their fifth album, as the Swedish act brought their stunning live show to arenas around the world.

    Meanwhile, younger bands such as Soul Glo, Nova Twins, and Bloodywood — all of whom are pushing the boundaries of heavy music while delivering thought-provoking and socially conscious lyrics — offered exciting and groundbreaking releases this year.

    Heavy music continues to evolve on a yearly basis, as evidenced by the wide range of releases that made Heavy Consequence‘s list of the Top 30 Metal and Hard Albums of 2022. Below are the albums that stood out among the rest this year.

    — Spencer Kaufman
    Managing Editor, Heavy Consequence


    30. Voivod – Synchro Anarchy

    voivod synchro anarchyVoivod returned this year with their 15th studio, Synchro Anarchy, the longstanding metal band’s follow-up to 2018’s The Wake. Synchro Anarchy features the band’s classic heavy metal sound, and while they aren’t reinventing the wheel, they are performing at their highest caliber. Songs such as “Paranormalium” and “Memory Failure” feature the fiery riffs and tempos that fans have come to expect, showing off a band that sounds more confident than ever. — Anne Erickson

    29. Arch Enemy – Deceivers

    arch enemy deceivers artwork

    Five years after releasing the killer Will to Power, Arch Enemy arguably topped themselves with intentional grower Deceivers. Opener “Handshake with Hell” alone showcases singer Alissa White-Gluz’s perpetually sophisticated dexterity and the band’s growing knack for catchy variety. Later, “The Watcher” incorporates some dazzling guitarwork before “House of Mirrors” offers up a ton of dynamic syncopation. Then there’s brief instrumental “Mourning Star” and grand closer “Exiled from Earth” to add emotional gravitas to the entire affair. On that note, Deceivers greatest feature is how fluidly it flows from beginning to end, solidifying why Arch Enemy remain masters of their kingdom. — Jordan Blum

    28. Devil Master – Ecstasies of Never Ending Night

    Devil Master - Ecstasies of Never Ending Night - Album Art

    For as commodified as black metal has become, Philadelphia’s Devil Master provided a refreshing blast of old-school raunch when they burst onto the scene with their 2019 debut Satan Spits on Children of Light. It was playful and sinister in the vein of Hellhammer and Japanese underground heroes such as Sabbat and GISM. Most importantly, the music had a sense of humor. Thus, when Devil Master got swooped up by a big label (Relapse Records), there was reason for skepticism — unfounded skepticism, as it turns out. The band’s sophomore album Ecstasies of Never Ending Night is another slab of bullshit-free punkish black metal that wears its old-school influences proudly. — Jon Hadusek

    27. Korn – Requiem


    Korn Requiem

    Lean, mean, and surprisingly approachable, Korn’s 14th album clocks in at just under 33 minutes and continues to refine Korn’s unique brand of nu-metal meets goth rock even after all these years. Korn capture the sentiment of many of us when it tosses a bit of optimism for the future amongst its exploration of darkness (both musically and lyrically). Case in point, the album’s first single reminds us to “break apart the pain and start the healing” — a welcome message after a difficult couple of years. — Colette Claire

    26. Bloodywood – Rakshak

    Bloodywood RakshakWhat started out as a parody act has blossomed into one of the most exciting bands to hit metal in recent years. India’s Bloodywood originally uploaded metal covers of Bollywood songs, then went viral with a nu-metal version of Linkin Park’s pop-leaning song “Heavy.” Now, they’re a full-fledged band with original songs, as captured on their debut album, Rakshak. Influenced by such bands as Rage Against the Machine and System of a Down, Bloodywood punch you in the face with their scorching songs and two-vocal attack, while also standing up for social and charitable causes. — S.K.

    25. Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!

    Megadeth The Sick The Dying and the Dead

    Following up a Grammy-winning album is never easy, but Megadeth aren’t afraid of much, and that confidence is all over the band’s 16th studio album, The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead!. With complex songwriting and Dave Mustaine’s cutting vocals as strong as ever, the album — which follows up 2016’s Grammy-winning Dystopia — marks another triumphant record in the Megadeth discography. From lightning-fast thrash to speed metal, the album features classic Megadeth sounds with a touch of experimentation. — A.E.

    24. Deathspell Omega – The Long Defeat


    deathspell omega the long defeat

    Though “omega” carries finality in one of its definitions, French experimental black metal trio Deathspell Omega have plenty of life left in them. Their eighth release, The Long Defeat, is as foreboding and ominous as anything considered a “death spell” could be. Yet another lyrical narrative masked by avant takes on metal and heavy atmospheres, the album opens with a procession-esque 12-minute credo of sorrow, an intricate cacophony of curdling guitar and bass riffs and pounding drums. The track, and the album itself, don’t leave room for interpretation. It’s haunting, and it wants you to know it. — Cervanté Pope

    23. Slipknot – THE END, SO FAR

    Slipknot The End So Far album cover

    Slipknot are more than a quarter century into their career, and THE END, SO FAR shows they’re continuing to challenge themselves and push the envelope. Long gone are the days when critics thought the masked metallers were just a gimmick band. Now, as one of metal’s most respected veteran acts, Slipknot are still topping the charts and incorporating new sounds into their music, from the goth of “Adderall” to the a capella vocals in “The Dying Song (Time to Sing).” — A.E.

    22. Cave In – Heavy Pendulum

    cave in heavy pendulum

    The return of Massachusetts’ Cave In is one of the most triumphant comeback stories of the year. Following the tragic passing of bassist-singer Caleb Scofield in 2018, the group’s future was uncertain. Yet, Cave In trudged onward with new bassist Nate Newton to record Heavy Pendulum. The title of the album’s lead single, “New Reality,” couldn’t be more fitting. “New lineup, new label, new album… a new reality indeed, and it all adds up to a new lease on life for Cave In,” as lead vocalist Stephen Brodsky aptly put it. Overall, it’s easily Cave In’s heaviest album to date, often veering more toward stoner metal and atmospheric sludge as opposed to the metalcore/post-hardcore of seminal works such as Until Your Heart Stops and Jupiter. A welcome return indeed. — J.H.

    21. Halestorm – Back from the Dead


    Halestorm Back From the Dead

    On Back from the Dead, Halestorm returned with a renewed sense of purpose after facing dark times. The title “to me is survival” proclaimed singer-guitarist Lzzy Hale. The music reflects this phoenix-from-the-ashes vibe on big choruses and even bigger guitar licks coupled with slower introspective interludes. The well known vocal prowess of Hale on songs like “Raise Your Horns” is not to be outdone by her own guitar work and that of Joe Hottinger on songs like “My Redemption,” which signals an epic resurgence of the Grammy-winning band. — C.C.