Anyone else getting that end of year feeling? Granted, it might be the fact that the penultimate issue of Metal Hammer for 2022 is on-sale now, or that our Albums Of The Year have been tallied (yes, already), or even the fact we're starting to get an increasing number of singles for records that will come out in 2023, but it really does feel like we're about ready to close the book on 2022.
But not just yet. For one, we've still got a few week's worth of singles to dive into before we can head merrily off for a break, last week's vote showing how much enthusiasm there still is for new music this side of Christmas. It was a tight week of voting, newcomers Waterlines taking an early lead on Saturday. But ultimately it was a two-way race for the top spot, ending in a photo finish literally as we were writing this entry. And the winner is... Voice Of Baceprot, the Indonesian group's empowering new single PMS narrowly overtaking Vended by just 8 votes to win the crown.
This week we're back with some hefty names; In Flames continue their stunning run of form, death metal legends Obituary are back with a brand new album and Skindred are teasing the summer party banger to end all summer party bangers. There's also an all-star team-up from Epica, Charlotte Wessels and Myrkur, a hint towards the next stage of life from Creeper and a triumphant comeback from Royal Thunder. As ever, you can vote for your favourite below!
In Flames - Foregone Pt. 2
After howling out the gates with the first part of Foregone last month, In Flames have gone in a decidedly different direction with Foregone Pt. 2. Anders Fridén’s clean vocals feel decidedly closer to modern metalcore than their usual melodeath take, the track seemingly taking Metallica’s Unforgiven blueprint of going for total tonal overhaul between installments. Thankfully, the magic is still clear and present, In Flames sounding absolutely massive as their 14th studio album looms.
Skindred - Gimme That Boom
20 years since Skindred first emerged with the massive ragga-metal grooves of Babylon, they’re still delivering those massive, danceable metal anthems. Gimme That Boom is about as onomatopoeic as it comes, striking right at the heart of what Skindred do so well; a punchy, sing-along primed anthem that’ll have festivals - and venues around the world roaring with delight. Gimme that boom indeed.
Creeper - Ghost Brigade
After ‘beheading’ their frontman on-stage at a recent London gig, Creeper proved they are still Britain’s most theatrical band. Rather than the year’s radio silence that marked the gap between album campaigns for their debut Eternity In Your Arms and 2020’s Sex, Death And The Infinite Void, this time Creeper struck while the iron was hot with brand new single Ghost Brigade and the announcement they had signed to Spinefarm. Gothic pomp meets punk anthemia in the band’s latest single, moving away from the genre-shifting antics of their last record towards the horror-punk aesthetic that made them stars in the first place.
Obituary - The Wrong Time
Death metal overlords for almost 40 years, Obituary have no need to reinvent the wheel where their base formula is so satisfying. The band’s tenth album Dying Of Everything looks to continue in the vein of its snarling, beastly predecessors, meaty riffs and John Tardy’s gnashing vocal vying for domination on The Wrong Time, a delicious slab of classic DM magic. Just what we wanted for the New Year.
Epica - Sirens Of Blood And Water (feat. Charlotte Wessels & Myrkur)
Halloween is passed, so naturally that means Christmas is just around the corner, though it’s come early if you’re a symphonic metal superfan. As part of their upcoming Alchemy Project, Epica have teamed up with fellow symphonic queen Charlotte Wessels and black meta/folk experimentalist hero Myrkur for Sirens Of Blood And Water, a track which plays into the most fantastical and spellbinding elements of Epica’s sound while the three vocalists show off their incredible prowess.
Royal Thunder - The Knife
Five years since the release of their last album, Royal Thunder have returned with a soulful, bluesy epic that taps into the magic that made them so captivating in the first place. After fighting addiction and almost dissolving completely, The Knife is a triumphant return, it’s stirring blues-inclined riffs and Mlny Parsonz’s powerhouse vocal feeling more powerful and vital than ever.
Nailed To Obscurity - Clouded Frame
Expansive prog metal comes as easily to Nailed To Obscurity as breathing, so it’s no surprise that Clouded Frame is a seething epic from the progressive sphere. Like a more blackened Ghost Reveries-era Opeth, the band take a stunning sense of melodic sensibility and send it on a punishing journey through windswept plains, wailing guitars and rasped snarls hounding the listener with dogged persistence. The second single Nailed To Obscurity have released this year, the prospect of a new album is looking increasingly imminent.
The Otolith - Andromeda’s Wing
As the nights get longer and colder, it’s only natural to seek out a fittingly bleak soundtrack to the winter months. The Otolith are primed to offer just that. Colossal post-metal mixed with avant-garde doom from ex-members of SubRosa, Andromeda’s Wing showcases the immense duality of the band’s sound, its crushing heaviness balanced by ethereal strings and vocal melodies that tap into an occult-metal sweetspot and won’t let up, simultaneously hypnotising and devastating.
Cellar Twins - Achlys
With the likes of Stake, Amenra and Brutus, Belgium has really stepped up to the international plate for superb new releases. Cellar Twins have their sights on similar levels of international acclaim, their propulsive Achlys skittering around the edges of post-Sempiternal metalcore without getting bogged down in scene identity, instead offering massive riffs and pop-ready choruses that have a distinct flavour. One’s to watch, for sure.
Turmion Kätilöt - Sormenjälki
Metal comes in many shapes and sounds in 2022, drawing on everything from folk and Celtic influences to trap, grime and just about every other shade of hip-hop. Disco metal is something that's never particularly caught on, but Turmion Kätilöt are still forging ahead, new single Sormenjälki bringing a weird dance sensibility to an extreme metal framework that feels like a more kvlt Electric Callboy. We'll see just how well it adapts to massive stages later this month, when the band support Nightwish on the UK arena run...