There is so much heavy, extreme, and beautiful metal music being conjured all around the world that it can be overwhelming. Fortunately, Metal Has No Borders head honcho Riley has curated his personal favorite metal albums released this year.
Check out his hand-picked choices below including Czech Folk-Black-Doom, Indian Progressive, and Singaporean Grind.
Also, be sure to see who won the Readers’ Vote, Extreme Metal, Metalcore, Progressive Metal, Folk Metal, and Experimental Metal Awards.
Riley’s Metal Album of the Year (Gold Tier)
Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama
Released via Transcending Obscurity Records
Piano melodies stir the imagination, teasing a duality of suspense and tranquility. There’s a minimalist quality to post-rock, yet Et Moriemur expand such parameters to heightened, grandiose extremes with the fusion of black, folk, and progressive metal in the alluring doom-y atmosphere. Certain moments are as provocative as European medieval warfare while other musical passages allude to the weight of a Japanese seastorm. Although a few tracks significantly rock the boat harder than others, this record is best consumed in full. The dynamic journey within Tamashii No Yama has worked its way under my skin the past month and I’ve enjoyed every second of the process.
Tamashii No Yama by Et Moriemur is awarded Riley’s Metal Album of the Year (Gold Tier) for 2022
Favorite Songs: “Oshima,” “Sagami,” “Takamagahara“
For Fans Of: Earth, Møl, Isis…
Riley’s Metal Album of the Year (Silver Tier)
Aarlon – Dafan
As English is broadly considered the universal language, I find it extremely commendable when an artist commits to their native dialect rather than appeasing the masses. Rammstein’s brash German lyrics or the calming flow of Sigur Ros’ Icelandic vocals both provide a unique layer. Similarly, the Hindi language expressed by Aarlon is distinctly smooth as vocalist Pritam showcases a magnificent range. Are the vocals the only stand-out element on their new record, Dafan? Certainly not, as proven by the emotional range expressed in the instrumentals. Altogether, this project exudes the power of a full-fledged band basking in the diversity of modern rock / metal.
Dafan by Aarlon is awarded Riley’s Metal Album of the Year (Silver Tier) for 2022
Favorite Songs: “Vidroh,” “Rok Lo (ft. Gavvy),” “Inquilaab“
For Fans Of: VOLA, Devin Townsend, Karnivool…
Riley’s Metal Album of the Year (Bronze Tier)
Wormrot – Hiss
Released via Earache Records
A bonafide strategy in creating compelling music is utilizing tension to lead to a satisfying aural release. Wormrot doubles down on this technique, thoroughly exploring the art of tense noise, where the eventual arrival at a release is as crucially impactful as the first gasp after near-drowning. Within Hiss, the Singaporean extreme chameleons boast a trio of layers: grind, thrash, and hardcore. Raw moments resemble a sweaty underground dive bar experience, yet smoothly transition into a mean 80’s thrash rager. With a majority of the songs falling on the short side of one to two minutes each, the band somehow manages to arrange vast emotional arcs between desperate rage and futile melancholy. Metal that leans this far on the extreme spectrum normally isn’t my cup of tea, but Wormrot‘s fourth full-length drew me back multiple times to further explore the beauty in the brash.
Hiss by Wormrot is awarded Riley’s Metal Album of the Year (Bronze Tier) for 2022
Favorite Songs: “When Talking Fails, It’s Time for Violence,” “Seizures,” “Your Dystopian Hell”
For Fans Of: Full of Hell, Swans, Napalm Death…