Half of 2022 is behind us, and so we've gathered our staff to share their favorite records so far -- don't expect ordered lists, detailed blurbs, or academic rigor here, but the following lists reflect what we've all liked the most this year thus far.

...

Jon Rosenthal

As far as six months go, this year's first two quarters were pretty solid music-wise. I actually had a little trouble whittling my list down to the arbitrary ten slots. Cue the many who like to parrot "This year is just mediocre." News flash: being discerning doesn't mean you have to be a dick. Also, take more time to look for stuff. Music is generally pretty good, or at least there's enough music out there that the CREAM RISES TO THE TOP. Here are a few of my favorites from the year so far.

Doldrum – The Knocking, Or The Story of the Sound that Preceded Their Disappearance (Katafalque, USA)
Negative Plane – The Pact… (The Ajna Offensive/Invictus Productions, USA)
40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light (Svart Records/Independent, UK)
Blut aus Nord – Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses (Debemur Morti Productions, France)
Porcupine Tree – Closure//Continuation (Music for Nations, UK)
The Reds, Pinks & Purples – Summer at Land's End (Slumberland Records, USA)
Weathered Crest – Dust Vessel (Fallow Field/Födweg, Austria)
Pestilent Hex – The Ashen Abhorrence (Debemur Morti Productions, Finland)
Brånd – Wo draht da weg? (Fallow Field/Födweg, Austria)
Final Eclipse – Interminable Darkness (Independent, USA)

Bands to watch out for in Q3/4 2022: Locrian, Sigh, Penance Stare, Erzfeynd, The Mountain Goats, and more.

...

Ted Nubel

When I started thinking about my mid-year list a few weeks ago, I'll admit my mind was blank–I couldn't think of much that stood out. But then, when I started going through past releases, notes, et cetera, I found the exact opposite was true: there's a ton of great stuff out already this year. It all just got buried under the rest of the non-musical bullshit this year, I guess. From splits and EPs to full-lengths, from long-running bands to brand new acts–there were excellent surprises from all corners. If your memory has also been scrambled from a year full of one clusterfuck after another, I hope our lists can help get you back in a metal mood.

Cultic - Of Fire and Sorcery (Eleventh Key, USA)
Cardinals Folly + Purification - Possessed In The Ritual Grove (Rafchild Records, USA)
Eric Wagner - In the Lonely Light of Mourning (Cruz del Sur Music, USA)
Mamorlis - Sturdy as an Oak (Independent, USA)
Midas - Midas (No Remorse Records, USA)
Negative Plane – The Pact… (The Ajna Offensive/Invictus Productions, USA)
Nite - Voices of the Kronian Moon (Season of Mist, USA)
Sunrise Patriot Motion - Black Fellflower Stream (Independent, USA)
The Spirit – Of Clarity and Galactic Structures (AOP Records, Germany)
The Mountain King - WolloW (Cursed Monk Records, Germany)

...

Andrew Sacher

We're halfway through 2022, and there's already too much good music this year to keep track of. On the heavy side of things, there's been a slew of heavy hitters, and I've picked my ten favorites, which range from death metal to hardcore to sludge and beyond. Three of these are technically EPs, but all of them feel just as massive as the full-lengths (and in the streaming era, the lines between EPs/albums/mixtapes/etc are blurrier than ever anyway). My favorite part of these mid-year lists is they're a great way to catch up on stuff you might've missed or not spent enough time with, so if you're reading this, I hope you find something you like. Here's my list, in alphabetical order:

APES – Lullabies For Eternal Sleep (Translation Loss Records, Canada)
Candy – Heaven Is Here (Relapse Records, USA)
Cult of Luna – The Long Road North (Metal Blade Records/Red Creek Records, Sweden)
Heriot – Profound Morality (Church Road Records, UK)
Primitive Man – Insurmountable (Closed Casket Activities, USA)
p.s.you'redead – Sugar Rot (Paper Wings/Chillwavve/Salsa Verde Fanzine, USA)
Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory (MNRK Heavy, UK)
Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems (Epitaph, USA)
Undeath – It's Time... To Rise from the Grave (Prosthetic Records,USA)
Vein.fm – This World Is Going To Ruin You (Closed Casket Activities, USA)

...

Brandon Corsair

2022 has in a lot of ways been a release of the floodgates. Bands that spent months or years waiting for the pandemic to end to release something to be able to tour on it, bands that spent that time frantically songwriting, and the normal album release cycle have resulted in some of the heaviest release months that I can remember. Not all of it is great but goddamn if a lot of it isn't. I still need time to process some of these but I feel confident that all of these are worth anyone's time, and I'm ecstatic especially that some of these longer-delayed ones (LOOKING AT YOU, NEGATIVE PLANE) are here. My normal end of year list excludes short-lengths like EPs, demos, and splits, but for this special half-year article I'm not going to leave anything out.

Special shoutouts as well to Predatory Light, Mirror, and Cryptworm, who all blew me away but just haven't had enough listening time yet to justify a vote.

In no particular order-

Negative Plane – The Pact… (Ajna Offensive / Invictus Productions, USA)
Immolation – Acts of God (Nuclear Blast, USA)
Voivod – Synchro Anarchy (Century Media Records, Canada)
Cauchemar – Rosa Mystica (Temple of Mystery, Canada)
Luzifer – Iron Shackles (High Roller Records, Germany)
Iron Griffin – Storm of Magic (Independent, Finland)
Bergfried – Romantik (Malferna Productions, Austria)
Sölicitör – All Debts on Death (Gates of Hell, USA)
Anatomia / Undergang – Anatomia / Undergang (Me Saco Un Ojo Records, Japan / Denmark)
The Chasm – The Scars of a Lost Reflective Shadow (Lux Inframundis Productions, USA)

...

Cheryl Carter

Music is, for me, an escape. An escape from a hard day, an escape from my brain, and an escape from the reality of how monumentally fucked our planet is on a daily basis. Sometimes, the music that is listened to the most isn’t even new… it's old favorites that are comforting in the way that you know exactly how it’s going to turn out. New music often takes time to truly sink in and become one of those classic "go-to" records and the ten that appear on the list below are the ones that grabbed me immediately. They felt exciting straightaway, or tapped into emotions that had long been pushed to the deepest depths and the music allowed them release.

Music is a personal matter for the most part, in that everyone will have their own singular experience of an album, whether the band captured a moment of nostalgia or heartache or catharsis. The records on this list did all of that and more and so fast became 2022's most-listened to. Some were able to be experienced live as the world began to open up once again and some will never be performed on stage in even our wildest dreams, but the music will live on forever in physical form and in our hearts.

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses (Debemur Morti Productions, France)
Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror (No Quarter Prod, France)
Final Light – Final Light (Red Creek Recordings, Sweden/UK)
40 Watt Sun – Perfect Light (Svart Records/Independent, UK)
Hangman’s Chair – A Loner (Nuclear Blast, France)
Nechochwen – Kanawha Black (Bindrune Recordings, USA)
Negative Plane – The Pact… (The Ajna Offensive/Invictus Productions, USA)
Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void (Season of Mist, Finland)
Thou and Mizmor – Myopia (Gilead Media, USA)
trhӓ – tálcunnana dëhajma tun dejl bënatsë abcul’han dlhenisë ëlh inagat, jahadlhë adrhasha dauzglën nu dlhevusao ibajngra nava líeshtamhan ëf novejhan conetsë danëctsë kin, ëf tu dlhicadëtrhënna bë ablhundrhaba judjenan alhëtangrasë shidandlhamësë inkom (Independent, USA)

...

Neill Jameson

This year feels like it’s flowing by at the speed of a piss after four or five beers and it seems to be heading in the same direction (that’s right into the shitter for those of you playing at home). For a year that’s been marked by sadness (the passing of Trevor Strnad, the suicide at MDF, I’m sure I’m missing many more) and filth (that girl pissing into dude’s mouth during Autopsy at MDF, I’m gladly missing more) I’ve really tried to pay as little attention to the cultural goings-on as possible, to save whatever sliver of sanity I have left. There have been some fucking bangers released this year, though. Here’s ten of them:

Rigorous Institution – Cainsmarsh (Blackwater Records, USA)
Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses (Debemur Morti Productions, France)
Revenant Marquis – Milk Teeth (Deathprayer Records, UK)
Killing Joke – Lord of Chaos (Spinefarm Records, UK)
Hersker – Befængt (Caligari Records, Denmark)
Primitive Force – Beholding the Wrath (Damien Records, USA)
Gates of Dawn – Gates of Dawn (Death Hymns, USA)
Hive – Spiritual Poverty (Translation Loss Records, USA)
Gam – Hvisken fra Skyggernes Vr (Den Ottende Kunst, Denmark)
Brånd – Wo Draht Da Weg? (Fallow Field/Födweg, Austria)

...

Brandon Nurick

As someone whose profession (er, profession-ish) revolves around consuming music, it’s often been very easy for me to become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new tunes I need to listen to in order to “keep up” with what’s current. Even then, no amount of listening is ever enough and it makes the act feel cold and transactional; the only “good” it does is allow me to say I didn’t miss out on hearing whatever the flavor of the week was. That’s not why I got into music writing and that’s certainly not why I love music. So, earlier this year, I decided to make the concerted effort to listen to what I like more. Normally I wouldn’t bother to bring this up, but I feel like that’s important to say so you know that the following list of my favorites so far this year, are truly my favorites. From prog-infused post-hardcore of Gospel to Pharmacist’s entrail-covered goregrind, I genuinely love every record on this list and though there are only ten of them, these albums are enough to convince that 2022 has already been a fantastic year in music.

Gospel – The Loser (Dog Knights Productions, Canada)
Falls of Rauros – Key to A Vanishing Future (Gilead Media, USA)
Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses (Debemur Morti Productions, France)
Pharmacist – Flourishing Extremities On Unspoiled Mental Ground (
Bizarre Leprous Production, Japan)
Crooked Life – 22 (Independent, USA)
Venom Prison – Erebos (Century Media Records, UK)
trhä – tálcunnana dëhajma tun dejl bënatsë abcul’han dlhenisë ëlh inagat, jahadlhë adrhasha dauzglën nu dlhevusao ibajngra nava líeshtamhan ëf novejhan conetsë danëctsë kin, ëf tu dlhicadëtrhënna bë ablhundrhaba judjenan alhëtangrasë shidandlhamësë inkom
Mycorrhizae – Mycorrhizae (Big Bovine, USA)
Homeskin – Cries Methodically (Independent, USA)
Immolation – Acts of God (Nuclear Blast, USA)

...

Colin Dempsey

After Cloud9's Joseph "Mang0" Marquez won the Big House 9 in 2019, the last in-person Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament before the pandemic, he said, of a game that was nearly (and now, over) 20 years old, "There is so much more Melee to be played." Replace the word "melee" with 'metal" and his statement rings even more true. Musicians are still finding ways to delve deeper and pull more out of themselves through metal. They mine the seeds planted by those before them and push music forward while keeping the integral components intact. Or, they're throwing everything out of the window, pushing their recordings to the outer limits of good taste.

If 2022 has proven anything, it’s that there will always be a new release to satisfy even the most depraved desires. Metal is a never ending well with rewards aplenty. This year alone has brought albums that defy conventional designations; some have been slutty while others have been fatty. All are welcome. The more metal there is to challenge us, the better.

Blut Aus Nord – Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses (Debemur Morti Productions, France)
CLEAVER – No More Must Crawl (Klonosphere Records, France)
Falls of Rauros – Keys to a Vanishing Future (Gilead Media/Eisenwald, USA)
Gonemage - Master of Disgust… (Independent, USA)
Immolation - Acts of God (Nuclear Blast, USA)
Horns & Hooves – I Am the Skel Messiah (Invictus Productions/Stygian Black Hand, USA)
Oblivion Castle – Sorcière (V.C.H. Music, Mexico)
The Spirit – Of Clarity and Galactic Structures (AOP Records, Germany)
Ultha – All that has Never been True (Vendetta Records, Germany)
Wiegedood – There’s Always Blood at the End of the Road (Century Media Records, Belgium)

...

Tom Campagna

2022, from a live music perspective, has been a return to form -- from attending MDF to Decibel Metal and Beer Fest to being able to be with my wonderful community of ragtag metal heads, which has become more of a family since COVID hit, I love you all. 2022, from a new release standpoint, has been a steady stream of good to great albums; however, this mixed bag of heavy, eclectic and rocking albums are what have gotten me going throughout the first 6 months of the ear, with some of the most anticipated albums coming in July (Wormrot, Municipal Waste and more) for me. A good mix of things as per my usual taste, there is power in riffs and these records are a prime example of exactly that.
Artificial Brain – Artificial Brain (Profound Lore, USA)
Cosmic Putrefaction - Crepuscular Dirge For The Blessed Ones (Profound Lore, Italy)
Ghost - Impera (Loma Vista, Sweden)
Holocausto Canibal - Crueza Ferina (Selfmadegod Records, Portugal)
Meshuggah – Immutable (Atomic Fire Records, Sweden)
Midnight – Let There Be Witchery (Metal Blade, USA)
Temple of Void - Summoning the Slayer (Relapse, USA)
Undeath – It's Time... To Rise from the Grave (Prosthetic Records,USA)
Venator – Echoes From The Gutter (Dying Victims, Austria)
Voivod – Synchro Anarchy (Century Media Records, Canada)

More From Invisible Oranges