New metal albums 2022: The 50 most anticipated releases this year

41. Ghost - Impera (Loma Vista)

With Cardinal Copia now officially ordained as Papa Emeritus IV we expect there will be plenty of opportunities for Ghost to develop their lore in the run-up to the release of their fifth album. But more than that, we're also expecting a spectacle unlike anything we've seen so far. Prequelle saw the band incorporate massive classic rock flourishes that were perfect for the massive crowds Ghost draw these days, but band mastermind Tobias Forge has also alluded to the new album being more riff-oriented, in-keeping with the sound of their first three records. 

Last year's Hunters Moon gave us our first taste of the new Ghost album, a slick and anthemic tune with a creepy enough vibe that it was featured over the end credits of last year's horror sequel Halloween Kills. Follow-up Call Me Little Sunshine is decidedly darker and more riff-driven, but still has those seductive hooks that will go over perfect on the band's upcoming arena dates. The band also unveiled another new song on their first US show of the year in the form of set opener Kaisarion, an explosion of triumphant anthemia that seems to take its cues from the likes of  BostonJourney and Bon Jovi. Colour us very intrigued.

Release Date: March 11

42. Ibaraki - Rashomon (Nuclear Blast)

Matt Heafy really can't stand rest and relaxation. Or at least, that's how it seems seeing as he's released two (excellent) Trivium albums during the pandemic in What The Dead Men Say and In The Court Of The Dragon, as well as effectively curating a Twitch empire, recording a seemingly endless procession of covers (mostly via said Twitch channel) and even getting back out on the road to play shows with Trivium. 

Amidst all that, he's also found the time to finish his long-awaited black metal project Ibaraki, a record 11 years in the making that has been produced by Emperor frontman Ihsahn. On Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta's podcast The Jasta Show he explained that the album would be sung entirely in Japanese and explores Japanese folklore, drawing on his own heritage. Debut single Tamashii No Houkai gave us a first glimpse at what this project will sound like - epic and more than a little eccentric (the Mario coin sounds caught off-guard, we'll admit), the song embodies a lot of Heafy's greatest songwriting attributes whilst adding a whole new dimension to the singer's sound. 

Release Date: May 6

43. Onslaught - Album #8

40 years from their inception, Onslaught still prove to be champions of British thrash, rolling the clock back to the genre's heyday with gatling-gun riffs and infectious choruses. 2020's Generation Antichrist provided the studio debut of new vocalist Dave Garnett after the amicable departure of long-term singer Sy Keeler that same year, with 2021 giving the band plenty of chances to road test the material as they played Bloodstock, Damnation and a London headline show that proved to be Garnett's club debut. 

Each was an excellent display of just what Onslaught can do, giving us plenty of hope for the shape of the band's eighth studio album - thrash, thrash and more thrash. 

Release Date: TBA 

44. Cave In - Heavy Pendulum (Relapse)

For a while, it looked like Cave In's ominously titled 2019 record Final Transmission was  to be their swansong. Their last with long-time bassist Caleb Scofield (who passed in a car accident in 2018), the record bore all the hallmarks of brilliance fans had come to expect over the preceding two decades. 

The 2021 announcement that Cave In had subsequently signed to Relapse records came as a delightful surprise, the band setting a 2022 release date for their new album Heavy Pendulum. Produced by Kurt Ballou, guitarist Stephen Brodsky telling Decibel that "In 2017, [Caleb] had ideas for writing another album and recording in a proper studio. Final Transmission [was] Cave In attempting to achieve Caleb's vision before he died, and Heavy Pendulum is the sound of us fulfilling it."

Release Date: May 20

45. Jamie Lenman - Album #3 (Big Scary Monsters)

Ever since striking out solo with 2013's Muscle Memory, Jamie Lenman has been consistently refining his sound. From the hyperactive mathy grindcore of One Of My Eyes Is A Clock to gentle acoustic numbers like It's Hard To Be A Gentleman, all the way out to the thumping metallic hardcore of Long Gone (featuring Employed To Served's Justine Jones), Lenman has proved to be an irrepressible creative energy. 

The 2020 EP King Of Clubs was a punchy taste of Lenman's core sound, but for its full-length follow-up we're ready to get weird. During his December UK tour Lenman announced he would be in the studio in the New Year, so hopefully we'll have plenty of new sing-alongs to belt out come summer 2022. 

Release Date: TBA

46. Body Count - Merciless (Century Media)

In June 2021, Body Count frontman Ice-T announced that the band would be heading into the studio to start work on their eighth studio album, titled Merciless. Considering the form BC have been on with 2017's Bloodlust and 2019's Grammy-winning Carnivore, there's plenty to be excited about at the prospect. 

The combination of Ice-T's no-BS approach to lyrical content and the band's impeccable sense of muscular groove has really hit its stride lately, showing that even 30 years on from their iconic debut the band can still shake things up.

Release Date: TBA

47. Dimmu Borgir - Album #11

Masters of symphonic black metal Dimmu Borgir confirmed via social media that they had begun pre-production for their eleventh studio album. Early reports from Silenoz suggested that the album would be less orchestral than past releases, the vocalist remarking that "we're looking at maybe toning it down a little bit, especially on the orchestral side. So people shouldn't be too surprised if they get a bit more stripped-down version of Dimmu on the next album." 

He also suggested the album wouldn't take as long as Eonian (which came eight years after Abrahadabra), leaving some hope that Dimmu's 11th release may be with us before the year's end. 

Release Date: TBA

48. Bleed From Within - Shrine (Nuclear Blast)

With each new release Bleed From Within have been clawing their way up festivals bills and to bigger and bigger crowds, culminating in appearances at both Download Pilot and Bloodstock in 2021 that saw the band welcomed like conquering champions. An October arena tour with Bullet For My Valentine took them onto bigger stages still as they played arenas, standalone single I Am Damnation feeling all the more anthemic for having tasted those larger rooms. 

"We wanted it to be an anthem," drummer Ali Richardson told Hammer in November. "Coming from an album that won't be out until next year, we knew it had to show our development as a band, so really leaned into that during the writing process."

Release Date: June 3

49. Code Orange - Album #5 (Roadrunner)

With 2017's Forever, Code Orange galvanised the worlds of hardcore and metalcore alike, pushing both genres in a harder, heavier yet somehow more anthemic direction than they had ever been before. A sea of imitators and disciples sprang up i their wake, only to see everything get up-ended again for 2020's Underneath, an album which received a perfect score from reviewer Stephen Hill. 

Quite how they'll manage to top that remains to be seen, but Code Orange have consistently proven themselves as a band who aren't daunted by shaking things up and standalone single Out For Blood seems to signal we won't have to wait too long to get more new material.

Release Date: TBA

50. Kerry King's new project

When Hammer last caught up with Kerry King, the legendary Slayer guitarist was practically bouncing off the walls with restless energy. Admitting that if hadn't been for the pandemic he likely would have been right back in the saddle shortly after Slayer's final show, King suggested that we may be looking at the end of 2022 before we get new material from him. 

Considering how much the world already misses his former band - and that ex-Slayer sticksman Paul Bostaph has confirmed his involvement in the project - its not too much of a stretch to say the metal world will lost its shit should King come out thrashing like a maniac. 

Release Date: TBA

Rich Hobson

Staff writer for Metal Hammer, Rich has never met a feature he didn't fancy, which is just as well when it comes to covering everything rock, punk and metal for both print and online, be it legendary events like Rock In Rio or Clash Of The Titans or seeking out exciting new bands like Nine Treasures, Jinjer and Sleep Token.