15 Death Metal Albums You Missed… | 2022

ALBUMS YOU MISSED… Is a yearly tradition of rallying behind overlooked and under-served releases that I’d either missed or that’d deserved more hype as the endless mill of new releases blazed throughout the year. This is decidedly -not- a “best of” list but rather a grip of underrated stuff that the general public should consume. The curation on this list aims for lasting quality, substance and variety. In the case of Death Metal, a completely soaked sub-genre, I’ve selected nothing but great shit to pick from day over day. — If you find something you dig go tell the band on social media and support them with a purchase! If you’d like your music reviewed, read the FAQ and send promos to: grizzlybutts@hotmail.com


ARTIST:IMPUGNER
TITLE:Advent of the Wretched
LABEL(S):Caligari Records,
Sentient Ruin
RELEASE DATE:November 4th, 2022

Oslo, Norway based death metal band Impugner released this demo tape to the tune of thirty copies back in late 2021 and now give wider release here in late 2022. There shouldn’t be all that much to say about this release beyond the fact that they stick an ‘Acts of the Unspeakable‘-era Autopsy cover in the middle of it and it fits in with the rest of the album without missing a beat. Traditional, ugly, buzzing and weirding death metal in the late 80’s style is all that you should expect going in. “Cerebral Avarice” feels like the most original thought here, not only for the guitar technique and atmosphere that open the song but the unusual rhythmic tics which they shred through. Consider it a call back to the early 2000’s new ‘old school’ wave out of Norway if you will, all of these folks had been participating back then in various bands. Great demo/mLP either way.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:DEVIANTS
TITLE:Legion [mLP]
LABEL(S):Burning Coffin Records
RELEASE DATE:January 1st, 2022

Deviants hail from Chile and play a late 80’s/early 90’s influenced form of classic death/thrash metal. Their sound is brutal and a bit chaotic a la the second Merciless album but generally rooted in ‘Scream Bloody Gore‘-era death metal worship where morbid, ripping guitar riffs and cacophonic bursts of speed are the main ammunition. Extreme thrash metal is where I nerd out most in terms of heavy metal so, of course I love this mLP as an introduction to the possibilities of this duo which features members of insane thrash metal bands Hellish, Mayhemic, and Critical Defiance. Since it was released on cassette on the first day of the year, most folks who normally wouldn’t seem to have missed it.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:HEARSE
TITLE:Traipse Across the Empty Graves
LABEL(S):Sinistrari Records
RELEASE DATE:January 25th, 2022

From the first swing into the first two notes of “A Pinebox Penance” you’ll probably have Hearse pegged as a classic death/doom metal group much in the style of ‘Forest of Equilibrium‘ or ‘Lost Paradise‘. Great job junior detective. ‘Traipse Across the Empty Graves‘ is yet an exceptional specimen and likely for the sake of these folks having had this record in their guts since the late 90’s, specifically Vince Papi (ex-Bludgeon), Cazz Grant (Crucifier, et al.) who appear to have revived the band with Gelal Necrosodomy on guitars more recently. Though we find a lot of class death/doom metal from more popular bands in 2022 these folks aren’t imitating the real thing for style points and they’ve loaded every song here with some of the best doom metal riffs you’ll hear in retrospect. Easily the most underrated death/doom record of the year.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

https://music.youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_mHU2KJQALfCr4xbEploGOIUweW-LpIBcU


ARTIST:EKSTASIS
TITLE:Paralyzing Impermanence [mLP]
LABEL(S):Unspeakable Axe Records
RELEASE DATE:October 28th, 2022

Ekstasis is an interesting enough proposition up front but moreso in terms of what will come next rather than what we find on this tentative, fairly short debut mLP. Combining mid-90’s Swedish death metal jogs with fairly readable hardcore (not in the modern sense) influenced forms doesn’t immediately stand out as a point of purpose, though there is a sort of dramatic melodic death metal bent to these compositions. The programmed drums are very well done though I don’t know why anyone would use them unless demoing ideas for their first band these days, a session drummer would’ve made a far superior first impression and given these songs some much needed presence. That said ‘Paralyzing Impermanence‘ is entirely promising if they can keep that HM-2 emulated buzz pushed back and aim for their strength, which I’d suggest is in the greater melodic swaying available to these songs.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:CASKET GRINDER
TITLE:Sepulchral Trip
LABEL(S):Awakening Records
RELEASE DATE:October 31st, 2022

Medellin, Colombia based death metal quartet Casket Grinder had been at it for a decade before they revealed their first full-length back in 2020 and now they’re back with a second, bigger and better record a couple years later. Their sound generally aims for the circa ’93-’95 era of Florida death metal while keeping things interesting with some earlier deathgrind and blackened death metal influences. The face value appeal of their sound should gel with folks who are big on late 90’s Deicide, more recent Sinister but at a mid-pace and their sound is sort of middling in general, doesn’t stand out from the crowd but also doesn’t sound trendy or like obvious worship. Don’t expect a big dual-guitar feature in terms of riffs as their style remains somewhat primitive and brutal in its grooves though most songs here are at least somewhat tuneful even if the riffcraft only manages a basic standard. These guys have hit a strong professional standard here and can write a decent death metal song but it’d really set these pieces off with some attention paid to pacing, injecting more energy and speed here and there to keep the road-tested ear engaged.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:MORBID STENCH
TITLE:The Rotting Ways of Doom
LABEL(S):Morbid Skull,
Putrid Cult
RELEASE DATE:August 24th, 2022

Morbid Stench is a collaboration between a former Insepulto vocalist and members of death/thrash metal band Conceived by Hate which focuses on modern ‘old school’ death/doom metal sounds a la earlier Hooded Menace and Solothus. Despite sounding a bit too familiar within a few of these songs’ lead melodies these folks have managed a set of straightforward and readable songs which hit their mark and stick in mind while injecting the formula with some real death metal, too. “Ekleipsis” is especially effective in this sense and probably the song to cut into first though they’re all 6-7 minute juggernauts. An easy record to just pick up and sink into.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:SCEPTIC
TITLE:Nailed to Ignorance
LABEL(S):Szataniec
RELEASE DATE:September 30th, 2022

Technical death metal band Sceptic formed in Kraków in the mid-90’s following the original pathway of thinking man’s death metal into the new millennium, naturally fitting in quite well with bands who saw endless possibilities beyond records like ‘Symbolic‘. Their major history took place during that early 2000’s period the Polish second-gen and beyond death metal spheres fully shattered its isolation and became part of the global reality, eventually signing to Candlelight for the well-remembered ‘Unbeliever’s Script‘ (2003). Of course I think the first two records were more representative and set them next to bands like Martyr and Anata in conversations at the time. It is an awesome band to see return and with an album that is fantastic, in keeping with that elevated late 90’s technical death metal style but with some progressive/melodic additives in their now less brutal touch. Might seem like a big ask at ~53 minutes but I found I could sit with this record for hours, appreciating the depth with which they’d developed these 5-6 minute songs into moderate differentiation.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

ARTIST:FALL OF SERAPHS
TITLE:From Dust to Creation
LABEL(S):Memento Mori
RELEASE DATE:October 24th, 2022

Taking cues from ‘Covenant‘-era Morbid Angel and early Immolation to start this debut full-length from French death metal quintet Fall of Seraphs manages to impress with their somewhat cluttered-yet-cleanly presented bulldoze through a cavalcade of riff ideas. Think of the first Anata full-length, still traditional and intelligent in design but not quite technical as they would be and you’re in the right headspace for this record. The introductory moments of this fairly short and compacted record come at such a pace that the band’s own touches (such as the final set of riffs on standout “Mirror of Transcendence”) become a bit lost in the machine-gunned salvo presented. Though the first impression might be middling and somewhat typical up front rest assured this is an inspired and finely composed set of pure death metal pieces which straddle the line between late 90’s finesse and early 2000’s brutal excess. The running order could’ve used some tweaking, the whole thing could use a bit more breathing room but the quality here speaks for itself after a bit of an induction. Wholly underrated.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:MÆNTRA
TITLE:Kundalini Rising
LABEL(S):Self-Released
RELEASE DATE:February 18th, 2022

I wasn’t feeling the heat off San Francisco, California based technical death metal trio Mæntra back in late February, passing it by in preview after I caught ear of some excess chug on rhythm. Still sitting there within the infinite void of my “to do” library the album art kept catching my eye about six months later and, while I still hear way too much late 90’s groove in this thing, I’ve really enjoyed sitting with it in semi-regular sessions in the second half of the year. ‘Kundalini Rising’ is really just the first step, and an inarguably impressive on, from Cartilage drummer Adam Houman and Cyanic guitarist Rudy Pina who’ve roped Origin maestro Paul Ryan into the co-vocal/bassist chair for a well-rounded and one of a kind trio. These guys all play like goddamned machines no doubt but this record is all about blending surrealistic elements with confrontational brutality hence the Tantric chakra theme to the song titles, each an invocation. I’m not sure if this is serious spiritual intensity or just a cool theme for lyrics and imagery but it helps to build unique enough character around this inherently technical and sometimes avant-garde record. The independent sonic excess of early Mithras is here in some sense, though certainly in a different mode, as atmospheric electronics are used with an admirably heavy hand (see: “Ajna”) helping to keep the whole thing eerie while still walking a brutal path.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:VOIDTHRONE
TITLE:Metaphysical Degradation
LABEL(S):Self-Released,
Total Dissonance Worship
RELEASE DATE:October 27th, 2022

Seattle, Washington-based dissonant black/death metal quartet Voidthrone return with their third album reiterating their malaise stricken conveyance of vexing, shearing conflicts which threaten to fully spear-loose the minds of modern mankind. Theirs is a world of naked rawness, stripped of mind palace and in a mode of pure disruption and in this sense fans of chaotic but sludgy mid-90’s metallic hardcore should be just as at home in these pieces as the average dissonant death metal fandom. This time around we’ve got 5-6 minute chunks of wrath to digest and contemplate and I think this works much better per a listening experience guaranteed to be taxing and painful by design. “Converging Personality Simulation” is the main mind-bender, peak efficacy hits somewhere nearby “Choked with Vomit”, and ends on an almost tragedian note which I’d enjoyed.

Rating: 6.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:GRAND HARVEST
TITLE:Consummatum Est
LABEL(S):Self-Released
RELEASE DATE:March 25th, 2022

Swedish blackened death/doom metal quintet Grand Harvest have approached their debut full-length like pros and presented it with quite a lot to say, communicating a deeply nihilistic philosophy with absolute elegance on record an in promotion of it. Yet the item itself doesn’t lend itself well to plainly spoken brevity, and should be given some extra room to stretch beneath the weight of this somewhat involved, dramatic ~50 minute record. The dreadful grooves of mid-90’s Bolt Thrower at large, some of the romanticist disillusion of early Katatonia (alternately, Tiamat), and the blackening of death/doom which many now associate with lesser bands such as 1914 or the more viable Nekrovault all apply here to some degree. The full listen is somewhat overlong for an introduction and some of the death metal leaning piece lack substantive riffcraft but when the band lean into dramatic gesture and doomed turns their core idea often comes into shining resonance.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.

ARTIST:UNYIELDING LOVE
TITLE:Flesh of the Furnace
LABEL(S):Self-Released
RELEASE DATE:October 28th, 2022

Frantically dissonant death metal aesthetics, avant-grindcore arrangements and thick buffers of (non-specified forms of) noise all collide on this promising Irish quartet’s debut full-length. ‘Flesh of the Furnace‘ should be a somewhat surprising shift for the band after quite a long wait between releases in terms of the amount of finesse guiding their previously dark noise-grinder sound. Anyhow, probably the least proper death metal related item on the list this year but one which should have broad appeal for all that it does with its crackling, noisome dystopian sound.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

ARTIST:TERATOMA
TITLE:Chaosmakers
LABEL(S):Base Record Production
RELEASE DATE:October 17th, 2022

Barcelona, Spain-based death metal band Teratoma are somewhat remembered for their original run in the 90’s until their debut full-length (‘The Terato-Genus Reborn‘, 1999) as the band split soon after, only to reprise the project with most of the same folks in 2015. This was the sort of band you’d recommend to someone who wanting something from the gory era of Spanish/Portuguese brutal death nearby the first two Avulsed albums, most of which was still in tune with most classic brutal death. ‘Chaosmakers‘ is the second of their comeback records since reforming and it runs the gamut between mid-tempo, thrashing kicks, brutally grinding stuff, and just steady crush paced death metal. This reads to me as just a pure underground death metal record, a band seeing how much punishment and severity they can bring to a classic sound that has never changed drastically in their hands.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:REBEL SOULS
TITLE:Dawn of Depravity
LABEL(S):Blood Fire Death
RELEASE DATE:November 18th, 2022

Formed in Germany in the early 2000’s and split after a few years worth of demos, the now Spain-based death metal trio Rebel Souls would resuscitate in ~2013 and now returns with their second “comeback” record beyond 2017’s ‘The Forces of Darkness‘. Call their sound “blackened” if you will, I hear late 90’s death metal from the generation seeking to out-extreme the original greats that’d outlasted the early 90’s (see: Krisiun, Azarath, Hate) or at least some influenced from a more straight forward and extreme era of death metal. A lot of the guitar work here is somewhat centered around rhythm guitar grooves which should of course recall the progression Polish death metal beyond the technical/brutal side of things post-millennium. This record is steady, unerring, streamlined and sublimely focused on the variations at hand — all of which should appeal to folks who appreciate the original thread of death metal as it expanded into worldwide infamy beyond the 90’s. My thoughts on this sort of release is that it is for listening, not so much for analysis.

Rating: 7 out of 10.

ARTIST:HERUVIM
TITLE:Shadowheart [mLP]
LABEL(S):Redefining Darkness Records
RELEASE DATE:August 4th, 2022

This groovy, thrashing and kinda rocking death metal record from Conan themed Ukrainian death metal quartet Heruvim feels a bit more like an ambling death/thrash record at a reasonable mid-paced roll than anything else, landing somewhere between classicist flair and indecision on their first official release. While entertaining in motion and clearly by the hand of practiced and thoughtful musicians the songs themselves don’t quite stick beyond their half-thrashing riffs.

Rating: 6 out of 10.

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