The Kerrang! staff’s top albums of 2022

The K! staff present the albums that shaped their individual 2022s!

The Kerrang! staff’s top albums of 2022
Kerrang! Staff

By now, you'll have seen Kerrang!’s top 50 albums of 2022 list. That itself is a digest, a picture of the year in rock that reflects many things: creative derring-do, game-changing impact, success, and (most importantly) how much a record's brilliance made it stick out among the rest of the year's noises.

Now we come to something different. Kerrang! is built by the people who work here. A group of people more passionate about and obsessed with music you'll struggle to find. When you see a new artist on the cover, or a piece insisting you need to hear someone immediately, it's because of that enthusiasm, that excitement of hearing something for the first time and being blown away.

Here, then, is what made our individual years rock…

Luke Morton, Editor

10. Brutus – Unison Life
9. Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
8. Stray From The Path – Euthanasia
7. Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
6. Malevolence – Malicious Intent
4. Ghost – Impera
3. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
2. Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future
1. Ithaca – They Fear Us

In a year that saw some of the biggest names in heavy music drop records, the British metal underground more than held its own in 2022. Amongst albums by Venom Prison, Malevolence and Conjurer, Ithaca’s incendiary They Fear Us stood stronger and shined brighter than all. An album of contradictions that’s both vicious and vulnerable, blending elements of hardcore, mathcore, screamo and even nu-metal into one writhing, scathing mass, the London-via-Berlin mob blew their previous debut LP completely out of the water. With the formidable Djamila Boden Azzouz at the helm, it’s a blistering listen, with the raging Camera Eats First and impeccable title-track pushing adrenaline-levels into the red, but within the cacophony Ithaca play with expansive, cleaner, more majestic passages, piling even more ambition and catharsis into a record practically brimming with the stuff. In short: it’s an absolute knockout from one of the most underrated metal bands in the world right now. Get on board.

Emily Carter, Deputy Editor

10. Slipknot – The End, So Far
9. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
8. Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror
6. Parkway Drive – Darker Still
5. Ghost – Impera
3. Alter Bridge – Pawns & Kings
2. Boston Manor – Datura
1. The Wonder Years – The Hum Goes On Forever

It’s the same predictable story every time: The Wonder Years release a new album and it goes straight in as my favourite of the year. Soz for being boring! But The Hum Goes On Forever is another consistently brilliant record from the Philly pop-punks – from opener Doors I Painted Shut’s goosebump-inducing first lines, ‘I don’t wanna die / At least not without you…’ through to unbelievable closer You’re The Reason I Don’t Want The World To End. As long as The Wonder Years continue being The Wonder Years, they’ll always be better than everyone else.

Nick Ruskell, Senior Commissioning Editor

10. LostAlone – The Warring Twenties
9. Negative Plane – The Pact
8. Immolation – Acts Of God
7. Darkthrone – Astral Fortress
6. The Hellacopters – Eyes Of Oblivion
5. Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram
4. Rammstein – Zeit
3. Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror
2. Ithaca – They Fear Us
1. A.A. Williams – As The Moon Rests

Steve Beebee, Writer

10. No Devotion – No Oblivion
9. Kira Mac – Chaos Is Calling
8. Massive Wagons – Triggered!
7. Arch Enemy – Deceivers
6. Shinedown – Planet Zero
5. Stabbing Westward – Chasing Ghosts
4. Halestorm – Back From The Dead
3. Heilung – Drif
2. Ghost – Impera
1. The Interrupters – In The Wild

There was a generous supply of brilliant post-lockdown albums this year – from Halestorm’s expression of defiant, triumphant release to Heilung’s spirit-invoking, reflective salute to nature. But it was perhaps ska-punk heroes The Interrupters that were most affecting, the band’s unshakeable positivity now lit up with new experiences, both bad and good. Ultimately, In The Wild was singer Aimee Interrupter’s salvation, after she used lockdown to finally confront demons that had plagued her since childhood. The results, predictably, were pure gold.

Aliya Chaudhry, Writer

10. Kid Kapichi – Here’s What You Could Have Won
9. The Wonder Years – The Hum Goes On Forever
8. Petrol Girls – Baby
7. Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems
6. Pinkshift – Love Me Forever
5. The Linda Lindas – Growing Up
4. Bartees Strange – Farm To Table
3. Bad Omens – The Death Of Peace Of Mind
2. Stand Atlantic - f.e.a.r.
1. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life

Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life tackles capitalism and racism from various angles – everything from food to colonialism. There’s a lot to learn from this record, but it’s an album that’s more rewarding the more you know. And it does it all through a rousing blend of grime and punk, embodying the same confident rage and fiery urgency as the lyrics do. It’s captivating and fearless, and exactly the kind of album we need.

George Garner, Writer

10. Alter Bridge – Pawns & Kings
9. Nova Twins – Supernova
8. Cypress Hill – Back In Black
7. And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead… – XI: Bleed Here Now
6. Billy Howerdel – What Normal Was
5. beabadoobee – Beatopia
4. Cave In – Heavy Pendulum
3. Billy Talent – Crisis Of Faith
2. Jamie Lenman – The Atheist
1. Eddie Vedder – Earthling

In which the Pearl Jam legend takes an ecstatic joyride not only through rock’n’roll history in its many incarnations but pretty much every human emotion you can experience in a lifetime, let alone 47-minutes, 47-seconds flat. Earthling will make you laugh as much as it will leave you numb. And not enough records do that.

James Hingle, Writer

10. Underoath – Voyeurist
9. Static Dress – Rouge Carpet Disaster
8. L.S. Dunes – Past Lives
7. Nova Twins – Supernova
6. Bloodywood – Rakshak
5. Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
4. Ithaca – They Fear Us
3. Rammstein – Zeit
2. Ghost – Impera
1. Alexisonfire – Otherness

When bands leave it over a decade inbetween albums after a hiatus and a handful of reunion and festival shows, it's always intriguing to see if those creative juices are still producing a positive outcome. On Otherness, Alexisonfire break off the shackles from the past whilst maintaining their blueprint, but by becoming more experimental in their songwriting and dipping into other influences they have created a frighteningly brilliant, yet refreshing record.

Sam Law, Writer

10. SpiritWorld – Deathwestern
9. A.A. Williams – As The Moon Rests
8. Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number Nine
7. Malevolence – Malicious Intent
6. Puppy – Pure Evil
5. Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
4. Alexisonfire – Otherness
3. Undeath – It's Time… To Rise From the Grave
2. Witch Fever – Congregation
1. The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist

Pessimism has been the overriding mood for most of 2022. Whether preoccupied by small worries (switching on the central heating) or much bigger ones (the renewed threat of nuclear Armageddon), many of the year’s finest albums have rightly been a reflection of the ongoing shitshow around us. With absurdly brilliant/brilliantly absurd second album Celebrity Therapist, The Callous Daoboys took a different approach. On one level, the Atlanta collective’s penchant for unleashing explosion after explosion of unhinged colour and chaos offered a sort of mind-mangling escapism. On another, the confidence and uncompromised panache with which they’ve stepped up to fill the void left by burnt-out masters like The Dillinger Escape Plan and letlive., The Chariot and Every Time I Die offered something even more valuable: hope for an even heavier tomorrow.

Alistair Lawrence, Writer

10. Russian Circles – Gnosis
9. Static Dress – Rouge Carpet Disaster
8. The Interrupters – In The Wild
7. Single Mothers – Everything You Need
6. Blood Incantation – Timewave Zero
5. Riverby – Absolution
4. The Wonder Years – The Hum Goes On Forever
3. Wounded Touch – Americanxiety
2. Hot Water Music – Feel The Void
1. The Afghan Whigs – How Do You Burn?

Proof that wellbeing is overrated, How Do You Burn? revels in lust, longing and regret. Soul-grunge veterans The Afghan Whigs established themselves masters of telling these tales with a string of cult-classic records in the ’90s, and this, their third post-reunion album, updates their classic sound with a joyous amount of slickness and swagger.

John Longbottom, Writer

10. Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9
9. NOFX – Single Album
8. Hot Water Music – Feel The Void
7. Show Me The Body – Trouble The Water
6. A.A. Williams – As The Moon Rests
5. Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror
4. Panic! At The Disco – Viva Las Vengeance
3. Tony Molina – Into The Fade
2. OFF! – Free LSD
1. The Wonder Years – The Hum Goes On Forever

In summer 2009 a band called The Wonder Years slept on my sofa. They were roughing it around the UK trying to make a name for themselves, I was in London searching for internships at music magazines. From that first chance encounter, to the release of The Hum Goes On Forever, it’s been nothing short of a privilege watching the band blossom into the realest, the most relatable and – I would argue – the greatest band in their genre.Their latest album is a masterclass in evoking emotion. The likes of Low Tide, Wyatt’s Song and Summer Clothes carefully balance joy with pain, expertly documenting the anxiety of existence. The Hum Goes On Forever is a sad celebration of everything life brings. And proof of a band still at the absolute top of their game.

James MacKinnon, Writer

10. Gregor Barnett – Don’t Go Throwing Roses In My Grave
9. Blood Incantation – Timewave Zero
8. High Vis – Blended
7. Shooting Daggers – Athame
6. Witch Fever – Congregation
5. Chat Pile – God’s Country
4. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
3. Eddie Vedder – Earthling
2. GGGOLDDD – This Shame Should Not Be Mine
1. SPICE – Viv

It took nearly four months of listening heavily to the second album by SPICE – a ragtag group of San Francisco hardcore mainstays – before I realised that in elegiac closer Climbing Down The Ladder singer Ross Farrar (of Ceremony) could be singing about overdosing, or at least relapsing hard enough to see into the next life. That might seem like an absurd oversight considering the opening track is blatantly labelled Recovery (‘to perform one’s pain is to evaporate it’), or that Ashes In The Birdbath pays tribute to a departed friend. But it is a testament to the vibrant energy and lust for life that courses through these fleeting tales of stress, drugs and punk rock that you feel lifted after each listen. There are shades of R.E.M. during their college rock dominance within the dynamic tension of Live Scene and Bad Fade, the interplay between Victoria Skudlarek’s violin and Ian Simpson’s roaring guitars sounding like a jumbo jet achieving lift off. Get onboard.

Mischa Pearlman, Writer

10. Pinkshift – Love Me Forever
9. Boston Manor – Datura
8. A.A. Williams – As The Moon Rests
7. Ho99o9 – Skin
6. Pianos Become The Teeth – Drift
5. No Devotion – No Oblivion
4. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
3. The Wonder Years – The Hum Goes On Forever
2. Proper. – The Great American Novel
1. Queen Kwong – Couples Only

In what’s been an absolutely stunning year for music – seriously, most of these are interchangeable and vying for the number one spot, and right behind them are albums by Press Club, Hot Water Music, All Get Out, Dashboard Confessional, Senses Fail, Gatherers, Mercy Union, HEALTH and Cliffdiver – it was Queen Kwong that really set the bar. Channeling the trauma of being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and then the break-up of her marriage to Limp Bizkit guitarist Wes Borland, its songs are pained but defiant, down but not out, bruised but not broken. While she’s said the title is as much a joke about there not being any singles on the record because she’s unable to write a catchy song to save her life, she’s wrong – just listen, for example, to how the darkness of EMDR ATM unfurls like cigarette smoke in a seedy club, or the scathing singalongable vitriol of Biggest Mistake. A sublime example of art as catharsis, of pushing through terrible circumstances and turning survival into strength.

Jake Richardson, Writer

10. Bowling For Soup – Pop Drunk Snot Bread
9. carolesdaughter – please put me in a medically induced coma
8. L.S. Dunes – Past Lives
6. Modern Error – Victim Of A Modern Age
4. Parkway Drive – Darker Still
3. Simple Plan – Harder Than it Looks
2. Magnolia Park – Baku’s Revenge
1. Slowly Slowly – Daisy Chain

They’ve broken the Australian Top 10 with both this and previous LP, Race Car Blues, but despite the high quality of their tunes, Melbourne indie/emo four-piece Slowly Slowly remain a relatively unknown proposition outside of the land down under. The songs on Daisy Chain deserve a far wider audience, particularly rollicking indie-rock number Blueprint, and gorgeous closing ballad Papier-Mâché, where the heart-wrenching delivery of supremely talented frontman Ben Stewart really shines. An emotional, smart and fun record that fans of Paramore, The 1975 and Grayscale should get plenty out of.

Rachel Roberts, Writer

10. Avril Lavigne – Love Sux
8. Sleeping With Sirens – Complete Collapse
7. The Linda Lindas – Growing Up
6. Pale Waves – Unwanted
5. Moodring – Stargazer
4. beabadoobee – Beatopia
3. Nova Twins – Supernova
2. Boston Manor – Datura
1. Holy Fawn – Dimensional Bleed

Listening to this record feels very much akin to stepping into a murky forest and feeling overcome with a sense of solemn peace. There’s lyrics that resemble poetic confessions (‘I am an ugly root, knotting itself out of life’ on Death Is A Relief), which Ryan Osterman vocalises right over colossal instrumentals. It’s for the pluviophiles and those that find comfort in the darkness, it’s visions of ethereal, swampy green landscapes intertwined with extravagant guitar work and vocals that soar between seductive whispers and rib-cracking screams. When you give this one a spin, it will demand all of your focus.

Dan Slessor, Writer

10. Cage Fight – Cage Fight
9. Misery Index – Complete Control
8. Cancer Bats – Psychic Jailbreak
7. Revocation – Netherheaven
6. Goatwhore – Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven
5. Meshuggah – Immutable
4. Wake – Thought Form Descent
3. Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
2. Machine Head – ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN
1. Kardashev – Liminal Rite

No-one came close to matching the emotional and musical power of Kardashev this year. Heavy, textured, epic, achingly beautiful and desperately sad, Liminal Rite truly exists in a category entirely of its own, and it’s rare that such a thing can be said sincerely. Combining death metal, shoegaze, post-metal and ambient in a unique manner, it demands repeated listens, resonating more profoundly with every exposure.

Mark Sutherland, Writer

10. Deaf Havana – The Present Is A Foreign Land
9. Avril Lavigne – Love Sux
8. beabadoobee – Beatopia
7. The Hunna – The Hunna
6. Weezer – SZNZ: Autumn
5. Nova Twins – Supernova
4. Frank Turner – FTHC
3. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love
2. The Regrettes – Further Joy
1. The Interrupters – In The Wild

Aimee Interrupter’s hard-skanking crew have always been the ultimate live good time, but In The Wild is their first album to make the step up to the same level as their barnstorming gigs. Digging deep during lockdown, songs such as Raised By Wolves and Anything Was Better combine Aimee’s soul-searching lyrics with the punchiest, most irresistible ska-punk anthems since Interrupters’ mentor Tim Armstrong’s Rancid were in their prime. End result? A rare album to make you move your feet and engage your brain.

Olly Thomas, Writer

10. Candy – Heaven Is Here
9. Bad Breeding – Human Capital
8. Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North
7. MWWB – The Harvest
6. Cave In – Heavy Pendulum
5. Osees – A Foul Form
4. Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
3. Midnight – Let There Be Witchery
2. Alexisonfire – Otherness
1. Kurokuma -Born Of Obsidian

Whatever you might expect from a Sheffield sludge trio, Kurokuma have often seemed determined to challenge it, up to and including releasing a tape on a rave label called Off Me Nut. This long-awaited debut, appearing a mere nine years after their first release, found them exploring ancient Central American cultures and rituals, their punishing doom riffs augmented by Latin rhythms and percussion. An unlikely move from a band whose merch bears the tagline 'Make Sludge Grim Again', but the near-perfect meshing of theme and sound on Born Of Obsidian made it apparent that this bunch of jokers are capable of creating music quite unlike anything else.

Emma Wilkes, Writer

10. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price of Life
9. A.A. Williams – As The Moon Rests
8. Alexisonfire – Otherness
7. Brutus – Unison Life
5. The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist
4. Ithaca – They Fear Us
3. Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
2. Witch Fever – Congregation
1. Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory

Sometimes, heavy music can be oxymoronic, fusing beautiful sounds with heavier, uglier ones. Few bands have executed this better in 2022 than Rolo Tomassi, who conjured an album that was crushing in the most delicate of ways. Where Myth Becomes Memory deals in quiet extremes, knitting the savage sounds of gnashing guitars and pounding drums with airy piano flourishes and floaty synths. It's all bound together with an achingly emotional touch, exemplified best in the lovestruck Closer and the devastating death blow of closer The End of Eternity. It's the kind of music that feels like magic.

Ian Winwood, Writer

10. King’s X – Three Sides Of One
9. Placebo – Never Let Me Go
8. Megadeth – The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!
7. The Losing Score – Learn To Let This Go
6. Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life
5. NOFX – Double Album
4. Kid Kapichi – Here’s What You Could Have Won
3. Nova Twins – Supernova
2. Pit Pony – World To Me
1. Frank Turner – FTHC

With his ninth album, and his first top the British chart, hardcore troubadour Frank Turner drove the needles into the red. A landmark instalment in what is by now a remarkable career, as well as much else FTHC is noteworthy for containing the fastest punk rock song ever to reach number one. Take a bow, My Bad.

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