15 Metal Bands To Watch in 2022
Heavy metal is more than a genre of music. It's a vast, vast world full of its own countless subgenres, thriving regions all around the world, and more bands than any individual person can keep track of, from still-active veterans to rising new bands with buzzed-about demos. We're always looking for more new bands to listen to, so we reached out to an array of metal lovers -- including metal writers, show promoters, and members of bands like Converge, Tomb Mold, Undeath, and Infant Island -- to ask them what metal bands they think people should be keeping an eye on. Each person picked one band and wrote a bit about each one, and the list ranges from death metal to black metal to sludge to prog to metalcore and beyond, and the picks range from bands who are just starting out to some who have been around and are poised to have a big year in 2022. We hope you have as much fun going through this list as we did putting the whole thing together.
Read on for the list in alphabetical order by band. What metal bands do you think people should keep an eye on this year?
Aeviterne (chosen by graphic artist, photographer & Saint Vitus Bar employee Caroline Harrison)
The folks in Aeviterne have a scary-impressive list of current and former musical affiliations: the project started as a way for guitarist / vocalist Garret Bussanick and bassist Eric Rizk to continue developing themes & ideas they'd touched on with previous band, Flourishing, with the addition of drummer Ian Jacyszyn (Miasmatic Necrosis, ex-Castevet). Following their 2018 2 song EP, they also added guitarist Samuel Smith (bass in Artificial Brain, Fawn Limbs, Luminous Vault). So, when I say that the first single from their forthcoming record The Ailing Facade has already obliterated any expectations I had for the album (in a good way), trust that I didn't exactly have low expectations. The lead single "Denature" opens the record—it is harsh, beautiful, tense, and haunted. And it is MEAN—but not mean in that kind of push-you-over-steal-your-lunch-money sort of way. This is having-faced-down-the-abyss-and-won-but-at-what-cost mean. This is heavy, heavy stuff that doesn't quite sound like anything else. The Ailing Facade promises to be the type of release that changes the shape of extreme metal in the years to come.
see also: Aeviterne on BV's 25 Metal Albums We're Anticipating in 2022
Doldrum (chosen by musician, Invisible Oranges editor & Decibel writer Jon Rosenthal)
Following the release of a now-sold-out demo in late 2020, Colorado/Massachusetts avant-black metal trio Doldrum return with a debut LP of bizarre and mystifying music for the folklorically inclined. To be released on vinyl by the mysterious Katafalque label, which also plays home to drummer The Terrific Don McKinnon and vocalist Rat Deveaux's more traditional black metal outings as Gallows, Doldrum's TBA album takes black metal and sends it deep into the mines whose lore fuels the album. Guitarist and bassist Jimmy Oh-My-Back's chordal intrigue and rhythmic style, when paired with McKinnon's heavy-handed drumming and Deveaux's dramatic rasp, lends itself to one of 2022's most intriguing underground releases.
see also: where Doldrum landed on Jon's Favorite Albums of 2021
Exaugurate (chosen by Hasan A. of Ripping Headaches Promotions)
With a slew of Death Metal bands forming over the years it can be difficult to keep track of acts that are truly of quality. Exaugurate released an amazing slab of Death Metal in 2020 with their Chasm of Rapturous Delirium EP and a split in 2021 with the equally amazing death dealers Father Befouled. While gaining some attention from the underground, I feel that Exaugurate have gotten lost in the shuffle of trendhoppers and bands with more merch & social media presence than tracks. Exaugurate are currently writing and recording a full-length album slated for release in 2022. They are definitely a band to pay attention to as their sound and dedication to the art is unmistakable to any "OSDM" enthusiast.
Exsanguinated (chosen by Dave Castillo of Saint Vitus Bar & Confines)
This Long Island based crew of death metal mercenaries quietly released a two song EP last year that caught my ear right away. Haunting melodies, gigantic crawling riffs, uptempo blasting stomps and soulful but guttural vocals make this stand out. I soon came to find that the familiar howl I heard was none other than Will Smith, frontman for Afterbirth, Buckshot Facelift and host of the Heavy Hole podcast. Accompanying Smith are members of other kick ass up and comers Stabbed and Blame God. I am told an LP is in the works and I'll be waiting. Until then, indulge yourself with nine minutes of well crafted death metal.
Faceless Entity (chosen by Invisible Oranges writer Cheryl Carter)
Dutch collective Faceless Entity return after five years with The Great Anguish of Rapture, an entrancing journey into the darkest corners of the psyche and the horrors that dwell there. Their black metal embraces the limbo between life and death and in doing so Faceless Entity create sounds that feel pulled from the depths of hell.
see also: a new track & tour dates with Lamp of Murmuur
Hällas (chosen by Isaac Faulk of Blood Incantation, Wayfarer & Stormkeep)
Whether you want to call it Prog, Adventure or Space Rock, at the end of the day this is a band that knows how to write classic and memorable songs. The accuracy with which Hällas portrays their love and appreciation for all things 70s and futuristic is simply astounding, completely transcending any retro gimmicks. Long, dynamic songs packed to the brim with epic synth soundscapes, soaring harmonized guitars and powerful vocal melodies (with just the right amount of grit) compel you to bang your head with your fist in the air harder than most metal releases these days. Watching them play is both spellbinding and thoroughly entertaining; with chops to the moon, a phenomenal live show and a soon-to-be-legendary back catalog already under their belts, the fourth installment of the Hällas saga will surely be one for the books.
Hällas' new album 'Isle of Wisdom' comes out April 8 via Napalm Records. Stream two tracks below.
Heriot (chosen by BrooklynVegan editor Andrew Sacher)
UK experimental metalcore band Heriot spent 2021 releasing a series of killer singles, and now they're gearing up for their debut EP, Profound Morality, due 4/29 via Church Road Records. Three tracks have already been released, and judging by those, this EP promises to be some of the best and most unique metalcore released this year. With a sound that pulls not just from metalcore but also noise, industrial, goth, and more, and the ever-changing dual vocal approach of Jake Packer and Debbie Gough, Heriot cover so much ground and their music already feels on par with the genre's current leaders like Code Orange, Knocked Loose, and Vein.fm.
Horndal (chosen by musician and Invisible Oranges editor Ted Nubel)
Taking their name from the declining Swedish village that the band members grew up in, Horndal's vicious combination of sludge and hardcore is a sharp-tongued critique of the sociopolitical factors that slowly choked the life out of Horndal and so many other towns worldwide. They followed up their 2019 debut this past year with Lake Drinker, a heavy-hitting sophomore album that proved their riff-packed, rage-driven assault still had further to go. The band just dropped a new 7-inch, Be Evil, and are primed to make the most of 2022 with a slew of Sweden shows and hopefully more.
see also: Invisible Oranges' recent interview with Horndal
Inoculation (chosen by Derrick Vella of Tomb Mold, Dream Unending & Outer Heaven)
The metal artist people should be watching in 2022 is Inoculation. While they’ve been active since 2011, their 2021 full length ‘Celestial Putridity’ (out on Maggot Stomp) shows them and their songwriting at a different level. It’s catchy, tight, and technical. They played out a lot in 2021 on some tours and I can see a label trying to snatch them up any minute now. I have to imagine they’ll drop something wicked this year. A trio of terrific musicianship, their songs are infectious and full of spirit. I can’t wait for more.
Innumerable Forms (chosen by writer & promoter Fred Pessaro)
Why are supergroups so rarely equal to the sum of their parts? You could blame it on clashing egos, maybe on a steadfast focus to an original vision or maybe just the opposite– dilution of a singular idea and groupthink towards mediocrity. Whatever the fuck it is, Innumerable Forms don't have that problem. Made up of members of Sumerlands, Iron Lung, Genocide Pact, Power Trip, GIVE, and so many more, brace for impact– the latest putrid death metal opus from mastermind Justin DeTore (Dream Unending, Magic Circle, No Tolerance etc) is expected for release by the end of 2022 via Profound Lore.
Innumerable Forms play Brooklyn's Saint Vitus with Malignant Altar on February 19.
Kommand (chosen by Jacob Bannon of Converge, Umbra Vitae & Deathwish)
Kommand are a vicious band featuring members of Hoax, Mortal Wound, etc. They play No-frills Death Metal with deep underground punk/metal roots. After some great demo recordings, they released their "Terrorscape" EP on Maggot Stomp in 2021. Recommended.
Loathe (chosen by Revolver editor Brandon Geist)
I love Deftones and I love the way they’ve evolved over the years, but there will always be a part of me that just wants them to be heavier. That part of me was very happy to discover Loathe, a rising U.K. outfit that matches Deftones’ soaring, shoegazing alt-metal with pummeling Meshuggah-esque djent and gnarly industrialized hardcore. Plus, I haven’t seen them live yet (they're supposed to come stateside later this year to tour with Code Orange), but I’ve heard that they slay, in a bathed-in-smoke-and-feedback Joy Division kinda way.
Massa Nera (chosen by Alexander Rudenshiold of Infant Island)
FFO: Portrayal of Guilt, late-era Converge, Ostraca, Majority Rule, Gospel
Will 2022 be the year that we finally receive Massa Nera’s second album? Only time will tell, but the prospects look good (barring record pressing delays). Those who follow this band are in on the secret – that they’re one of the most innovative and forward thinking bands in the increasingly chasmic void between emo, punk, and metal right now. They’ve gained a reputation for being the best band on every split and every compilation to which they contribute – outshining their comrades with an unparalleled atmospheric, emotive flare. They’ve also garnered a dedicated following for their live shows from Canada to the Philippines, which are some of the most chaotic and technical instrumental performances currently on display in punk: four instrumentalists each contributing vocals in similar amounts; technical, jazz-inspired Bossa beats at breakneck speed; grind riffs; etc. Politically the band remains one of the most erudite and poignant, seamlessly weaving complex class, gender, and racial analyses into their already complex compositions. The grapevine says the LP they’ve been brewing for the last year-plus is a concept double record about the American internalization and export of late-capitalist culture and exploitation, drawing heavily from Capitalist Realism and other work by late political-cultural philosopher Mark Fisher. Musically it portends to contain a full orchestral accompaniment too, along with similarly sourced electronic influence from hauntology-tinged 00’s UK dub and 2-step artists like Burial. All of this tracks, given their constituent members’ respective talents and interests in philosophy, music academia, street art, etc. I’ll forever be in awe of Massa Nera’s dedication to furthering the craft of challenging and innovative heavy music, and while 2017’s Los Pensamientos De una Cara Palida continues to be an incredible album in its own right, this coming evolution is shaping up to be a monumental one.
Massa Nera play NYC's Trans-Pecos on 2/26 with Supine, Common Sage, Yume, and Raptureisdead.
Phobophilic (chosen by Alexander Jones of Undeath)
I would definitely keep an eye out for Phobophilic. One of the best new American death metal bands, by far. They signed to Prosthetic last year and just finished up recording a full-length that I’m sure is gonna blow a lot of people away. They’ve got a great ear for catchy, hook-y riffs and I’m dying to hear a whole album’s worth of ‘em.
Skeleton (chosen by Dusty Brooks of Austin's Oblivion Access Festival)
I put their debut album on at work today and after about 30 seconds into the second song, I realized I made a big mistake. It wasn’t loud enough! I immediately rectified the situation by then turning their album up full blast in my earbuds. The repulsive vocals on top of pummeling drums that never cease to beat you unmercifully, matched with the blackest thrash guitar and bass riffs, make for an album that’ll be blasting out of my earbuds and car speakers for the foreseeable future. I can’t wait to see what this band comes out with next! Until then, you can catch me watching Skeleton live and in-person at Oblivion Access this coming May 14 at Hotel Vegas in Austin - see you there!
More related news:
* Undeath new album and tour dates
* Converge tour with Full of Hell, Uniform, and Thou
* Dream Unending new album expected this fall
* Wayfarer play Saint Vitus in March with Artificial Brain & Glorious Depravity
* Infant Island tour with Greet Death