Given the sheer number of big new metal releases over the past two years, you'd be forgiven for thinking we're due a fallow year at some point. That may be so, but it certainly isn't going to be 2022 - the list of albums with confirmed release dates already reads like a primer for the AOTY, with the likes of Venom Prison, Zeal & Ardor, Sabaton, Rolo Tomassi, Devin Townsend and Crowbar all just in the next few weeks.
That's before we even start talking about the massive bands who've hinted at new albums (Slipknot, Rammstein, Avenged Sevenfold, Ghost - we see you) and bands that have conveniently dropped stand-alone singles but are yet to confirm an album release (Arch Enemy, Bleed From Within, Code Orange, Loathe - we're on to you, too). Combined, everything is pointing to 2022 being another year crammed with utter brilliance from all corners of the metal world, and we couldn't be happier about it.
To celebrate, we've pulled together 50 of the biggest, most exciting and most anticipated new releases that show just how brilliantly stacked 2022 will be.
1. Fit For An Autopsy - Oh What The Future Holds (Nuclear Blast)
Six albums in, New Jersey deathcore heroes Fit For An Autopsy look to be pushing past the confines of the scene to explore the wider realms of extreme metal on Oh What The Future Holds. Singles Pandora, In Shadows and Far From Heaven hint at just how far FFAA are pushing the boat this time out, the latter incorporating elements of prog metal that wouldn't be out of place in a Mastodon record, albeit with some colossal and crushing death metal thrown into the mix to balance it all out. Dannii Leivers awarded it the very first 9/10 of 2022 in January's issue of Metal Hammer, testament to the album's ambitious sonic scope.
Release Date: January 14
2. Comeback Kid - Heavy Steps (Nuclear Blast)
Now in their 20th year, it's about high time Comeback Kid settle down and start writing easy listening ditties more befitting their... nah, we're kidding: it's pure hardcore aggro, all the way for the Winnipeg's hardcore heroes 7th outing and we wouldn't have it any other way. Dropping January 21st, this album promises to be an aural workout perfect for those fitness-related New Years resolutions, while a promised collaboration with Gojira's Joe Duplantier has us extremely tantalised.
Release Date: January 21
3. Confess - Revenge At All Costs (Rexius)
Iranian metal band Confess went through hell following the release of their second album, and Revenge At All Costs reflects that. Rather than be het up at being imprisoned and ultimately forced to flee their home country to Norway, the band instead used their frustrations to fuel a stunning third record which touches in on groove giants Sepultura and Machine Head whilst bringing their own fire and personality to the fore.
Release Date: January 21
4. Machine Head - Album #10
Speaking of Machine Head, word on the playground is that work is well underway with their tenth album, tentatively expected before the band come over for a massive arena tour in September with viking metal masters Amon Amarth. Catharsis was an enormously divisive album and also the last with the band's long-term players Dave McCain and Phil Demmel.
The three-track single Arrows In Words From The Sky gave some indication of what direction the new line-up of Machine Head were taking, with massive melodies that feel perfect for an arena run. Memories of the band's incredible form when playing similar-sized venues on The Blackening have us positively frothing at the mouth to hear new MH material.
Release Date: TBA [Expected late summer/early Autumn 2022]
5. Korn - Requiem (Loma Vista)
Korn have never been strangers to touching on trauma and darkness, but 2019's The Nothing was a particularly bleak time for the band and frontman Jonathan Davis in particular after losing both his mother and estranged wife. While there's been no shortage of difficulty in the run-up to Requiem - particularly with bassist Fieldy publicly taking time out of the band (though his playing will still feature on the record) - Korn also seem to be striving for more stability and positivity on album #14.
The appropriately titled lead single Start The Healing hints towards the new album's relative lack of grime, whilst still keeping those deliciously thick rhythm sections we've come to love.
Release Date: February 4
6. Venom Prison - Erebos (Century Media)
February 4 looks set to be the first major release day of 2022, with Korn, Venom Prison and Rolo Tomassi all dropping new releases. Venom Prison's third full-length (not counting 2020's Primeval, which was a re-recording of the band's first demo and EP), Erebos looks set to push the group away from their status as underground darlings to being a straight-up metal sensation.
Single Pain Of Oizys already hinted towards the massive stylistic leaps VP are taking with this new album, but on February 4 the world could very well be looking at the apotheosis of one of Britain's hottest extreme metal bands.
Release date: February 4
7. Rolo Tomassi - Where Myth Becomes Memory (MNRK)
With 2018's Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It Rolo Tomassi set a high watermark of quality that all up-and-coming British acts would need to at least strive for if they hoped to hold court amongst the newest wave of talent. In the four years since the band have toured extensively (not least including shows with Gojira), building towards yet another seismic outing on album #6.
With Where Myth Becomes Memory now on the horizon and stunning singles Drip, Cloaked and A Flood Of Light whetting our appetite, we honestly can't wait to be levelled all over again in February.
Release Date: February 4
8. Once Human - Scar Weaver (earMUSIC)
Coming five years after their last album Evolution, Once Human are gearing up to take things to a whole new level on Scar Weaver. Between Machine Head's Robb Flynn appearance on Deadlock and the thundering emotional resonance of Cold Arrival, the band have held nothing back with their new singles thus far, promising that their third album will surpass all expectations. We're fully behind it, and expect great things come February 11.
Release Date: February 11
9. Cult Of Luna - The Long Road North (Metal Blade)
The Raging River easily earned its place as one of the best EPs of 2021, so to have a new Cult Of Luna album so soon afterwards is nothing short of a delight. Post-metal masters through and through, lead single Cold Burn already has us shivering with anticipation, knowing full well that Cult Of Luna aren't in the business of disappointing and always deliver the goods when it comes to monolithic riffs.
With the band teaming up with The Haxan Cloak for The Long Road North, we feel there is a strong possibility we'll all be bowing at the altar of the riff after February 11.
Release date: February 11
10. Zeal & Ardor - Zeal & Ardor (MVKA)
Ever since the world first cottoned on to the brilliance of Zeal & Ardor's debut album Devil Is Fine, eager eyes have been trained on Manuel Gagneux's every move. 2018's Stranger Fruit was a confident statement that the project's fusion of black metal and traditional delta blues was more than a one-and-done gimmick, but the 2020 EP Wake Of A Nation (released at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement) irrefutably proved just how potent a creative force Z&A are.
A steady feed of singles over the past twelve months has reiterated this brilliance through and through, the band's upcoming self-titled third album showing exactly why they are deserving of making the jump to cover stars in the latest issue of Metal Hammer.
Release Date: February 11