In a world where the "M" in MTV doesn’t mean shit anymore, the heavy metal music video doesn't necessarily hold the weight it once did. Yet, even as bands find their budgets growing tighter, platforms like YouTube mean it's easier than ever for a band to go supernova over a viral video.
From big-budget epics that could rival a Hollywood movie (we're looking at you Rammstein - pretty much everything in the Zeit era has been superb) to canny cost-effective videos that use choreography or shoestring budgets to great effect, the music video is a perfect platform for a band to show off their artistry and draw new fans in while they're at it.
That in mind, we dug up ten of the best music videos of 2022, from hilarious horror shorts to examples of stunningly sweeping cinematography for your viewing pleasure.
Rammstein - Adieu
Of course Rammstein are here. Germany’s ubermensch industrial heroes have been making outlandish videos since the 1990s, and Adieu continued that tradition with its sci-fi blockbuster production values, a standard amongst the Zeit-era videos where visuals have been characteristically stunning and loaded with imagery.
With that chorus (“Adieu! Goodbye! Auf wiedersehn!”) and a depiction of every band member dying, the clip also sparked rumours that Rammstein are done. Pray it isn’t so, since metal will surely suffer without these mad bastards and their overblown ways.
Sabaton - Race To The Sea
In October 1914, to halt the German war machine that had already devoured 95 percent of his country, Belgian king Albert I flooded the River Yser and fought side by side with his troops in a pivotal defensive victory.
This year, Sabaton paid tribute in expectedly flamboyant fashion. The power metal battalion waded in waist-deep water while blasting out their bombast in Race To The Sea’s video.
The Hu - This Is Mongol
If you’ve watched every video that Mongolian metal’s hit-dispensers The Hu have released, you could probably chart your way through their country by now. The four-piece seem to always retreat into their homeland’s wilderness for their clips – but, on This Is Mongol the band instead shifted scenery to the Mojave Desert in Nevada. It still looked damn gorgeous though, so no complaints here.
Electric Callboy - Spaceman
Masters of unchaining synth-metalcore silliness on a regular basis, Electric Callboy have always had a sense for eye-grabbing, memorable music videos, the likes of Hypa Hypa and Pump It earning them millions of views on YouTube.
Spaceman found the perfect visuals for their pop choruses, Eurotrash beats and bombarding riffs, the band donning their best spacesuits to rocket to the stars, with guest vocalist Finch staying in ground control to rap at them through their helmets, all while aliens less convincing than those found in ’60s Star Trek breakdance. It’s so dumb, but so, so good.
Kreator - Midnight Sun
So, Mille Petrozza finally saw Midsommar, huh? The frontman’s Teutonic thrash metal institution, Kreator, embraced folk horror in cinematic fashion for this clip accompanying Hate Über Alles’ third single.
When you cast all of the gorgeous colour and unsurprising bloodshed against the dirt bike racing of Strongest Of The Strong and the title track’s manically shot video, Kreator have to have been thrash’s best movie-makers of 2022.
Lorna Shore - Pain Remains III: In A Sea Of Fire
Nine minutes of deathcore is probably hell to most heavy metal gatekeepers. However, even if you’re not taken in by Lorna Shore’s genre-splicing take, In A Sea Of Fire’s visuals will get you through nicely.
The symphonic behemoth capped off the Americans’ trio of Pain Remains videos in aptly pyromaniacal splendour, intersplicing imagery of funerals, death and arson with the band playing while surrounded by fireballs.
Avatar - The Dirt I'm Buried In
Never ones to eschew a bit of pomp, extreme metal jesters Avatar amassed the entire Universal Monsters roster for The Dirt I’m Buried In. Vampires, mummies, werewolves and the Invisible Man all attend the Swedish quintet’s otherwise lacklustre gig, to the soundtrack of the third single from next year’s Dance Devil Dance. Directed by longtime collaborator Johan Carlén, it was both freaky and funny enough to nail the Avatar vibe.
Insomnium - Lilian
Insomnium hail from the unendingly gorgeous locale of Karelia, and Lilian was the band rubbing that fact in everyone’s faces. Its video is four and a half minutes of sweeping, slow-motion camera shots, yet when the landscapes are that vast and splattered with yellows, greens and blues, it’s impossible to not fall in love. Finland’s tourist board should give these lads a job.
Trollfest - Dance Like A Pink Flamingo
Countless metal bands have eyed Eurovision fame post-Lordi, but none were more deserving than Trollfest. The folk metal lunatics made it to Norway’s pre-selection tournament with Dance Like A Pink Flamingo: a party anthem complemented by the members playing dress-up between jets of fire. How they didn’t reach the competition proper is baffling, considering this video flaunted everything you’d ever need to have the most nonsensical laff.
Ithaca - They Fear Us
An overarching theme of Ithaca’s second album, They Fear Us, is divine feminine power. The front cover flaunted this by placing singer Djamila Boden-Azzouz on a throne, and the title track’s video expanded on that imagery. In it, she wore multiple regal costumes, was fed grapes by topless, faceless men and even got a halo as she commanded you to “Bow before your blood.” Badass behaviour.