The top 10 melodeath albums of 2022

Melodeath albums

10. Defacing God – The Resurrection Of Lilith

Led by formidable force of nature Sandie ‘The Lilith’ Gjørtz, Defacing God’s rage-fuelled dark sermons drew inspiration from occultism, ancient myths and a modern world where people remain oppressed due to their gender, ethnicity or personal convictions. Boasting a clutch of festival-favourites-in-waiting and loaded with corrosive screams and cathartic lyrics, this is a diabolically good debut.

9. Once Human   Scar Weaver

The third album from former Machine Head/Soulfly guitarist Logan Mader and vocalist Lauren Hart is a smorgasbord of melodic death metal thrills. Once Human’s strongest work to date and, if the chunky riffs and bounce in Deadlock don’t stir something within you, then the groove-laden double salvo of Erasure and Deserted certainly will. Not groundbreaking, but a whole load of fun from beginning to end all the same.

8. Carrion Vael – Abhorrent Obsessions

On their third album, Carrion Vael serve up grisly stories of serial killers with a plethora of blastbeats, breakdowns and bludgeoning guitar lines. Vocalist Travis Lawson Purcell is exceptional; his gutturals and shrieks are perfect for the gruesome subject matters at hand. If you’re a fan of riffs, this is a damn fine listen.

7. Eucharist – I Am The Void

Eucharist helped to pioneer the early 90s ‘Gothenburg style, only to kneecap their prospects by not releasing an album for 25 years. But if you’d expect this long-awaited third album to be a flop, I Am The Void is quite the opposite. Essentially the sole work of guitarist/vocalist Markus Johnsson, assisted by Marduk drummer Simon Schilling, this 77-minute-long, dark yet epically ambitious masterpiece of black arts is worth the wait.

6. Cobra The Impaler – Colossal Gods

Cobra The Impaler are to metal what hammers are to anvils – just bloody smashing. The Belgian five-piece’s prog-infused debut offers not just a non-stop pounding of blistering riffs, but is a jaw-dropping rollercoaster that keeps on surprising. Taking Mastodon’s early raw heaviness and lacing it with 00s melodeath, Colossal Gods doesn’t outstay its welcome, but those hooks will stay with you for a good while.

5. Amorphis – Halo

Amorphis have found a unique niche with their fusion of styles. The intriguing amalgamation of sweeping melodeath, traditional Scandinavian instruments and prog rock tropes has rarely sounded as assured as on the do on their 14th album. Many argue that veteran bands continuing often tarnishes their impeccable legacy, but Halo refutes that idea completely.

4.  Soilwork – Overgivenheten

Soilwork’s 12th album sees the Swedes brimming with confidence, simultaneously pushing themselves forwards and producing instantaneous songs in the process. The epic cheese rock of frontman Bjorn ‘Speed’ Strid’s other band The Night Flight Orchestra occasionally creeps in via synths, strings and soaring vocals, but Overgivenheten reiterates why Soilwork deserve their place at modern melodeath’s top table.

3. Arch Enemy – Deceivers

Such was the quality of Arch Enemy’s 00s heyday that all subsequent releases have been met with an unfair weight of expectation. But Deceivers earn its place in one of the most reliable discographies in modern metal by mixing things up via folk-tinged opulence, power metal/melodeath fusions and unashamed elegance. Long may they reign.

2. Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army

Few better embody the sheer theatrical lunacy of metal than Johan Hegg’s Viking horde. Their 12th album is simultaneously everything that helped Amon Amarth climb to the top in the first place and a return to the darker, less showy sound of their early days. This all-conquering force of blood and terror shows no sign of abating.

1. The Halo Effect – Days Of The Lost

If anyone has a right to bring back the sound of the early 90s Gothenburg Scene, it’s The Halo Effect – a band made up of five former members of In Flames. Yet their debut album is anything but dated - this is a colossal display of power and melody that proves, even 30 years after its inception, melodeath remains as impactful as ever. 

After showing off just how powerful their songs were in arena-sized venues when they supported Machine Head and Amon Amarth earlier this year, it feels like The Halo Effect truly captured the magic of melodeath in 2022 by taking the genre back to its roots and crafting some of the biggest anthems since the golden age of Gothenburg. 

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