The 50 best albums of 2022

The Kerrang! verdict on the 50 albums that shaped 2022.

The 50 best albums of 2022
Steve Beebee, Emily Carter, James Hickie, Sam Law, Luke Morton, Jake Richardson, Nick Ruskell,
Mark Sutherland, Olly Thomas, Emma Wilkes, Ian Winwood
Federica Burelli, Michael Tyrone Delaney, Bob Foster, Alexis Gross, Nick Karp, Esmé Surfleet, Nat Wood

Christ, that went quick, didn’t it? Another year has flown past, and with it, the coalface of music has been changed once again. Across the past 12 months, there have been hundreds of killer albums released. Some by returning, reliable heroes, others swinging comebacks, others – and most excitingly – new pups challenging the very balance of things.

In the wake of COVID, it has been a true joy not just to have so much new music, but to know it’s being released into a world where it can breathe at gigs, with other people. Some of the finest moments of 2022 have been experiencing bands sending their new creations out into the wild from the stage: Machine Head’s secret set at Bloodstock, Nova Twins’ joyous show at London’s Heaven, Architects stepping onto some of the biggest stages of their lives on tour with Biffy Clyro. For the bands, after two years wondering what the point of continuing was, it’s brought with it renewed purpose.

On top of albums, there’s also been a flood of amazing EPs and mixtapes: Mimi Barks’ gritty doom-trap on DEADGIRL, Heriot’s Profound Morality announcing them as one of the most promising new metal bands in Britain, mysterious synth duo Zetra casting a spell that’s sure to grow into something magnificent with their From Without EP, WARGASM continuing to aim high on EXPLICIT. And that’s to name only four.

And for albums, there’s been an awful lot this year. So much so, it’s been trickier than ever to put together the 50 that have been the sound of the annum. As ever, the church is a broad one, and greatness cannot only be measured in sales and streams, but in excitement, creativity, impact, and how hard it hits when you press play.

Here, then, are the top 50 albums of the year…

50Pale Waves – Unwanted (Dirty Hit)

Pop-punk may have been belatedly embraced by the mainstream, but none of those celebrity wannabes have nailed the genre’s deceptively simple formula as successfully as Pale Waves’ third record. Instant riffs are laced with Heather Baron-Gracie’s none-more-emo lyrics and topped with the sort of irresistible p-p tunes you’d normally only find on a ’90s/’00s playlist. Unwanted? Give over… (MS)

49The Wonder Years – The Hum Goes On Forever (Hopeless)

Put simply, The Hum Goes On Forever is The Wonder Years at their earnest and triumphant best – albeit with a new perspective, as frontman Dan Campbell tackled parenthood in his lyrics for the first time. As a result, the likes of Wyatt’s Song (Your Name) and You’re The Reason I Don’t Want The World To End have had even more impact in these endlessly bleak times. (EC)

48The Linda Lindas – Growing Up (Epitaph)

The rock’n’roll scrapheap is full of bands who had a viral moment and couldn’t follow it up. But Growing Up seethes with multiple anthems every bit as angrily effervescent as Racist, Sexist Boy, the song that got this band of teenage-or-even-younger punks all that initial attention. Proof that The Linda Lindas aren’t just viral, they’re a full-on contagion. (MS)

47Drug Church – Hygiene (Pure Noise)

All killer no filler: Hygiene could be the shortest album on our list at just 26 minutes, but Drug Church’s anxiety-ridden brand of post-hardcore hits as hard as ever. Veering from hazy grunge to gritty alt.rock to big riff anthems, all with a knowing grin and layers of trademark cynicism, Albany’s favourite nihilists pick apart their relationship with art, politics and socioeconomics. Often dejected and down, embers of defiance burn inside, fuelling the monstrous hooks that deserve to be cranked loud. (LM)

46Brutus – Unison Life (Hassle)

Brutus are a band you really need to sit and have a properly good wallow in. So it is that Unison Life, though an immediately dazzling record, is one that insists upon repeated spins to truly get the most from its magic. At times, one can snuggle the Belgians’ second album down in between the lush likes of Deftones, Alcest and Rolo Tomassi’s quieter moments, but the effect is one all of their own. (NR)

45Korn – Requiem (Loma Vista)

On album 14, Bakersfield’s finest deliver their best collection in more than a decade. Mean and lean at just nine tracks, Requiem finds frontman Jonathan Davis beginning to embrace contentment. This being a Korn record, however, he can’t help pondering when the darkness will return, atop some excellent, urgent tunes. (JH)

44Palaye Royale – Fever Dream (Sumerian)

From the My Chemical Romance-esque title-track (yes, it’s that good) to the poppy attitude of No Love In LA, Fever Dream is the album that Palaye Royale have always threatened to make. Now, having perfected both the formula and the accompanying world-building surrounding their music, the trio are surely on the path to true world domination… (EC)

43Stand Atlantic – F.E.A.R. (Hopeless)

That’s ‘Fuck Everything And Run’, a tidy summary of the anxiety, doubt and fear that went into making Stand Atlantic’s third album. Throwing any sort of genre line out the window, it sees Bonnie Fraser digging herself out of the darkness into which she disappeared over lockdown, and going creatively untethered. The best Stand Atlantic work to date, and proof that however dark the night, it always comes to an end. (NR)

42Ho99o9 – SKIN (DTA)

Ho99o9 don’t exactly court the ear. On second album SKIN, the duo of theOGM and Yeti Bones remain something of an acquired taste in one sense, but the sheer thrill of their electronic-industrial-hip-hop-metal attack is as immediate and unambiguous as a punch in the gut. Moreover, it’s a slap not quite like anything else you’ll have heard before. Corey Taylor seems to agree, popping up on the savage BITE MY FACE in a manner that would have had even his younger self wondering if he sounded unhinged. Once again, manic magic. (NR)

41Greg Puciato – Mirrorcell (Federal Prisoner)

In The Dillinger Escape Plan, Greg Puciato was both a shrieking, unleashed force of nature and a blessed-voiced modern Mike Patton. In The Black Queen, a man in love with the gentle sound of the night. As mouthpiece for Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, simply the man for the job. On Mirrorcell, under his own name, he continues to fascinate and show new sides to himself, taking in more expected heavy stuff, alongside alt.rock moments, further journeys into electro, and a blinding collab with Code Orange’s Reba Myers. The work of a genuinely uninhibited creative talent. (NR)

40Lamb Of God – Omens (Nuclear Blast)

Of Lamb Of God’s 11th album, Randy Blythe described, “A very pissed-off record, an extremely pissed-off record.” Because the Virginia metal kings have never made one of those, you see. But (and we’ll stop being facetious now) it highlights just what a reliable, unstoppable, armour-plated wrecking ball LoG are. Omens is an album of furious anger, but also of something approaching joy in its delivery. After all these years, it makes Lamb Of God’s kick up the arse still feel exciting. So, yeah, never chill out, lads. (NR)

39The Regrettes – Further Joy (Warner)

If you can listen to La Di Da and not end up humming the chorus hook for the rest of time, you’re made of stronger stuff than us. The Regrettes’ third LP is perhaps the most realised vision of Lydia Night and co.’s power pop, bursting with infectious melodies that should be available on prescription for those with low serotonin. The K! Award-nominated Monday is a highlight, but from front to back it’s a wide-eyed and bigger-grinned journey through the trials and tribulations of 21st century life, and giving the Vs to all of it. (LM)

38HEALTH – DISCO4 :: PART II (Loma Vista)

HEALTH’s phonebook must be one of the most sought-after in all of heavy music. Bringing together everyone from Nine Inch Nails and Backxwash to Perturbator and Ada Rook for their latest collaborative offering, it’s a showcase of everything the LA genre-benders are capable of. The brooding yet delicate DEAD FLOWERS with Poppy might be the greatest song the alt.popstar has ever put her name to, which comes in stark contrast to AD 1000 with experimental ear-murderers The Body as it crawls from the darkest recesses of a twisted psyche. Never ones to follow convention, this is HEALTH at their most exhilarating. (LM)

37Ozzy Osbourne – Patient Number 9 (Epic)

I’ll never die, because I’m immortal,’ suggests The Prince Of Darkness on this 13th album. It’s an unlucky number, but not for Ozzy, whose status as a survivor has been tested by ill health. Here he noisily celebrates the healing power of music, alongside members of Black Sabbath, Metallica and Pearl Jam – plus the late, great Taylor Hawkins. (JH)

36Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory (MNRK)

For their sixth studio album, Sheffield shape-shifters Rolo Tomassi expanded their sound to become one of the most supple and surprising groups in the British canon. Counterbalancing their fearsome sonic fury with moments of ethereal calm, Where Myth Becomes Memory points a way forward for the group for the coming decade. (IW)

35Machine Head – ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN (Nuclear Blast)

Robb Flynn having to fight back is an impressive thing, indeed. Following criticism of Machine Head’s last album, and the departure of half of the band shortly after, plus the frustrating inertia of COVID, it was almost a perfect storm of circumstances to get the man raging back into the game with everything he’s got. With its dystopian sci-fi concept, inspired by watching Attack On Titan with his kids and listening to My Chem’s The Black Parade with his wife, ØF KINGDØM AND CRØWN is an admirably ambitious work. But it’s in the way it sees the frontman throwing down and refusing to be done yet that it gets its scalding heat. A very welcome return from one of metal’s most enduring, tenacious figures. (NR)

34Venom Prison – Erebos (Century Media)

Venom Prison’s most ambitious album to date finds them pushing hard at their own parameters. That’s not to say that Erebos isn’t rammed with monstrous death metal malevolence and aggro hardcore vibes – it absolutely is – but proggy twists, shimmering guitars and exquisite melodic vocals also figure. This adventurous streak undeniably suits Cymru’s heaviest. (OT)

33Soul Glo – Diaspora Problems (Epitaph)

Unhinged, unruly and unstoppable. For those in the know, Soul Glo are one of the breakout bands in hardcore this year, with their chaotic collision of metal and old-school punk connecting on a primal level. A fiery frenzy that pulls on everything from U.S. torchbearers Black Flag and Bad Brains through to the more tumultuous turns of letlive. and Dillinger, tracks like Gold Chain Punk (whogonbeatmyass?) and Jump!! (Or Get Jumped!!!)((by the future)) are breathtaking displays of pure energy, charged by bravado and bombast. As fun as it gets. (LM)

32Candy – Heaven Is Here (Relapse)

Nowhere near as sweet as their name, Candy are the sort of band who make music that’s actively threatening. Already with a good name in the underground, Heaven Is Here’s violent mash of powerviolence (Mutilation), hardcore (Price Of Utopia), unsettling, scraping electronics (Transcend To Wet) and simply noises (all across it) is a wonderful, thrilling migraine of a record. Unpleasant, but undeniably exciting, Heaven Is Here is the sound of Hell on Earth. It ain’t a bad place to be. (NR)


The third and final instalment in the eye-opening autobiographical trilogy that started in 2020, Backxwash explores her formative years and painful relationship with religion across 10 piercing and deeply personal diatribes. From her experiences as a trans person in Montreal to years of drug abuse to suicide attempts to a childhood spent in a conservative, God-fearing environment, it’s not for the faint of heart. Enlisting help from the likes of Brit grinders Pupil Slicer and rapper Censored Dialogue, it’s not the most accessible listen, but it’s a vital insight into one of alternative music’s most unique artists. (LM)

30Conjurer – Páthos (Nuclear Blast)

Conjurer changed the landscape of British metal with 2018’s triumphant Mire debut, adding an even more abyssal overtone to the likes of Gojira and Armed For Apocalypse, and on the long-awaited Páthos the Midland four-piece head deeper into the darkness with more post-metal and hardcore nuances for extra weight. Reckoning with personal experiences of relatives with dementia, isolation, mental illness, and the finality of death, it’s a heavy record in every aspect, demanding repeat listens no matter how bereft and beaten it leaves you. (LM)

29The Chats – GET FUCKED (Bargain Bin)

If ever an album can be surmised by its title, this is it. GET FUCKED, say The Chats, and pick the bones out of that. Feral and fearsome, on this, their second LP, the Brisbane quartet chronicle life as members of the Australian working class with an often overlooked poetic eye. And for anyone who doesn’t care for what they have to say? Well, you know what you can do. (IW)


Somehow, at 22 years of age, WILLOW has already released five albums, and <COPINGMECHANISM> is undoubtedly her best yet. “I just embraced the fact I’ve listened to so many different kinds of rock in my life, and I want to explore those sounds,” the young star modestly revealed in her Kerrang! Cover Story about how it all came together. She’s pretty damn fantastic at all of it, huh?! (EC)

27L.S. Dunes – Past Lives (Fantasy)

Sometimes, being a ‘supergroup’ doesn’t quite live up to its title. For L.S. Dunes, though, that’s simply not the case. While these five emo and post-hardcore heroes (members of My Chemical Romance, Circa Survive, Thursday and Coheed & Cambria) joined forces this year purely for the love of music, the quality of Past Lives has seen them become so much more than just another side-project. Can’t wait to scream along to Permanent Rebellion and 2022 on their upcoming UK tour… (EC)

26Magnolia Park – Baku’s Revenge (Epitaph)

Baku’s Revenge proves the hype around Floridian pop-punks Magnolia Park is well deserved. The six-piece’s debut full-length is stacked with hits, most notably emo anthem Feel Something – which features Mayday Parade’s Derek Sanders – as well as super-catchy single Radio Reject and euphoric album closer I should’ve listened to my friends. These boys are onto a winner. (JR)

25Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror (No Quarter)

The second part of a trilogy is always darker, slightly nastier, and usually better. Such is the case for the middle third of French synth-metal wizard Carpenter Brut’s current three-parter which began in 2018 with the colossal ’80s-tastic all-action Leather Teeth. Now the main character Bret Halford is out for bloody revenge. With a supporting cast including Greg Puciato, Gunship and Norwegian-black-metal-turned-synth-hero Kris Rygg of Ulver, Leather Terror is basically the nightclub scene from Terminator done by a bloke who loves W.A.S.P., a thrilling set-up for what’s sure to be a bloody showdown in the finale. Unlike most concluding chapters, there’s no way it’ll suck. (NR)

24Stray From The Path – Euthanasia (UNFD)

Ahead of making Euthanasia, during lockdown, the members of Stray From The Path had started to wonder what the point was anymore. Disconnected from their audience and one another, they would frequently find that they hadn’t touched their instruments for ages. But something as incendiary and vital as the Long Island hardcore squadron can’t be turned off quite that easily. And once they figured out how to boot up again, they made something that takes a flamethrower not only to the world’s bullshit (as is their wont), but to any lingering sense of doubt. An already energised band recalibrating their power, it’s a record that repeatedly smacks hard and with renewed purpose. (NR)

23Petrol Girls – Baby (Hassle)

If this sick, sad world feels like too much, Petrol Girls’ third album is more than enough to get you out of bed and running to the streets. It fizzes with both fury and fun, while also delivering some of the year’s most powerful lump-in-throat moments. In the year when Roe vs. Wade was tragically overturned, songs like the unambiguous Baby, I Had An Abortion feel even more vital. (EW)

22Denzel Curry – Melt My Eyez See Your Future (Loma Vista)

The cultures of hip-hop and heavy music have been edging further toward each other for quite some time, but no artist crossed over in 2022 quite like Denzel Curry (so it’s no surprise he’s headlining the hardcore Mecca of Outbreak next year). One of the greatest rappers of his generation, Zel’s fifth album is his crowning achievement, packing party bangers and introspective examinations, elevated by luscious production and flawless delivery. An evolution and maturation of the music that made his name, we’ve seen his future and it’s very bright indeed. (LM)

21Halestorm – Back From The Dead (Atlantic)

This could be an awakening for Halestorm. The ballsy production and Lzzy’s roar of resurrection pack the aural punch we always knew they had. That purging title-track is totally of its time, while even the more reflective The Steeple feels like being discharged from hospital, given a second chance. A winning return from one of hard rock’s finest. (SB)

20Behemoth - Opvs Contra Natvram (Nuclear Blast)

Talking to Nergal during lockdown, you could feel his frustration at not being able to do things, to achieve, to live. Not a man given to sitting around waiting for things to happen to him, one imagines such restrictions weren’t so much boring as headache-inducing for the Behemoth mainman. The way all this erupts on Opvs Contra Natvram speaks to the catharsis within it. Already a band with an imperious confidence, here the power of their steamrolling assault comes with, squint hard, a vital sense of what might be called joy. The strength in Off To War!, Ov My Herculean Exile and the explosive Versus Christus is a mighty flex, and the album proves there’s nothing that fires Nergal up like a challenge. (NR)

19Pinkshift – Love Me Forever (Hopeless)

Eighteen months ago, we ran a feature with Pinkshift with the headline quote: “No-one wants to listen to a bunch of white dudes complaining about the same shit.” This year the band emphatically proved that they’re the future of the scene, with massive songs like nothing (in my head) showing they’ve got what it takes to fully take over. A change is happening – and Pinkshift are leading the way. (EC)

18Parkway Drive – Darker Still (Epitaph)

Parkway Drive very nearly broke up when they were making Darker Still. It’s a damn good job they didn’t, though, with album number seven finding the Byron Bay titans on the form of their lives, penning everything from epic power ballads (the title-track) to experimental nu-metal (Glitch). Plz stick around forever, lads. (EC)

17Alexisonfire – Otherness (Dine Alone)

When it comes to recent emo reunions, the major noise has been around big hitters My Chemical Romance and Paramore, but ’00s faves Alexisonfire have also made a mighty fine return to the fold. Otherness is a gritty yet expansive record that dabbles in everything from punk to psychedelia, and it’s brimming with songs that are going to sound massive at Download 2023. (JR)

16Static Dress – Rouge Carpet Disaster (Static Dress)

When Kerrang! put Static Dress on the cover at the end of 2021, it was to pinpoint the them as one of the hottest prospects in the UK, and they truly delivered on this spectacular debut LP. Harnessing the power of Underøath and Glassjaw, it’s an emotive throwback to screamo and ’90s post-hardcore, oozing angst and heartache from every pore. Visionary Olli Appleyard has always been one for world-building and here his band have crafted a new spiritual home for fans of everyone from MCR to Rival Schools to Alexisonfire. (LM)

15Boston Manor – Datura (SHARPTONE)

“I hope people find some solace in the message,” considered Boston Manor frontman Henry Cox in an interview with Kerrang! discussing all things Datura. Not only did the band do just that and hit fans straight in the heart on this excellent, conceptual fourth record, but they also expanded even further – adding some glorious dramatics to their music. Boston Manor movie when? (EC)

14Witch Fever – Congregation (Music For Nations)

Hellfire rains down upon organised religion and patriarchal systems on Witch Fever’s righteous debut. Taking earlier work to a whole new level, Congregation expresses their confrontational stance through scything riffs, foreboding atmospherics and fearsome vocals. Its urgent music and powerful lyrics make this a truly important release, for 2022 and beyond. (OT)

13Lorna Shore – Pain Remains (Century Media)

Lorna Shore arrived at this year’s Bloodstock with about half an hour to spare, and played to one of the most impenetrably large crowds of the weekend. Such is the New Jersey deathcore quintet’s knack for scoring victories from a back-footed start. Similarly, bringing in new singer Will Ramos during COVID, and worrying people might have forgotten about them, this latest phase has become their most successful, as well as best. Pain Remains is a brutal exercise in heaviness, mixing machine-gun attrition with Dimmu Borgir-ish choral stabs, and Will’s inhuman vocals that disguise the “sad emo-boy” lyrics underneath. Whatever, few bands tore a hole in 2022 like they. (NR)

12The Interrupters – In The Wild (Hellcat)

This fourth album of ebullient ska punk from LA mob The Interrupters proves that not all artists suffered during lockdown. The downtime allowed singer Aimee Interrupter the space she needed to confront a troubled past – explored and exorcised so beautifully on this eclectic comeback. From Jailbird’s catharsis to As We Live’s chilled grooves, In The Wild is sweet relief in sound. (SB)

11Architects – the classic symptoms of a broken spirit (Epitaph)

Next year, Architects are going to tick off a big bucket-list item by supporting Metallica. And, helpfully, …broken spirit finds them adding even more stadium-worthy bangers to their catalogue to ensure they’ll absolutely nail the task at hand. Oh yeah, and Sam Carter started wearing make-up on this album cycle, which was fucking cool. (EC)

10Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor (MVKA)

Since the world first caught a glimpse of Manuel Gagneux’s Satanic sigil, Zeal & Ardor have been on an upward trajectory. We all know the story of how the project started, but few know where it is going, and this self-titled effort is by far the strongest and most accomplished record the Swiss-American outfit have released. A continuation on the unique sounds of earlier records, Z&A’s third LP embraces more post and industrial elements, often driving headfirst into a roaring cacophony. The pure cathartic joy of barking ‘death to the holy’ cannot be underestimated. (LM)

9Malevolence – Malicious Intent (Nuclear Blast)

Honing their craft in the vicious underbelly of the UK hardcore scene, Steel City bruisers Malevolence made a break for the big leagues this year with this solid slab of chest-beating metallic fury. With mighty groove-laden riffs giving way to br00tal pit fodder and incendiary vocals, tracks like Still Waters Run Deep hit like a lead-lined truck, while lead single On Broken Glass channels their inner Mastodon and Higher Place exposes a more vulnerable beast entirely. A sign of huge things to come for sure. (LM)

8A.A. Williams – As The Moon Rests (Bella Union)

A.A. Williams’ second album (third, if you count last year’s Songs From Isolation covers collection) saw the London-based singer-songwriter painting in even more impressive shades of noir. Though bringing up similar vibes to Deftones or The Cure, the powerful, beautiful melancholy she weaves here is entirely its own, a brilliant musical landscape that’s often cold and isolating, while lush and warm at the same time. An absolutely stunning offering from one of the UK’s finest artists. A 5/5 rating barely seems adequate. (NR)

7Rammstein – Zeit (Spinefarm)

Given the thick wall of secrecy that normally surrounds everything they do until they decide to tell you what they want to about it (and no more than that), Zeit saw Rammstein operating without a grand plan, being rooted in getting together over lockdown to write instead of doing another stadium tour, and actually sharing this fact with fans via Instagram. It sees them in classic Rammstein mode, taking their single entendre humour to ludicrous heights (Dicken Titten literally just means ‘Big Boobs’, OK’s chorus succinctly translates as ‘Without a condom’), while the depth of mysterious emotion elsewhere on Armee der Tristen, Zeit and, particularly, closer Adieu are particularly stirring. Is Rammstein’s Zeit coming to an end? Hopefully not. But they’re going out on a high if it is. (NR)

6Slipknot – The End, So Far (Roadrunner)

Within the first two minutes of spine-tingling opener Adderall, it’s clear that Slipknot have never sounded like this before in their 20 years as a band. Despite the album title’s somewhat ominous feeling, The End, So Far is the thrilling sound of Corey Taylor and co. continuing to push their own boundaries – and an intriguing look at what else they might pull out the bag in the future, too… (EC)

5Ghost – Impera (Loma Vista)

Having dealt with glittering utopia on Meliora, and a decaying, disease-ridden nightmare society on Prequelle, for Ghost’s fifth album Tobias Forge turned his eye to the rise and fall of the empires of old, and Victorian London, for inspiration. Let loose in ancient Rome and the same streets as Jack The Ripper, Papa Emeritus IV weaves his tales to a positively glittering collection of pop-metal, sometimes cautionary, sometimes sarcastic (as on the rollocking Twenties), and sometimes in full-thrust celebration of sin (Hunter’s Moon, from the Halloween Kills soundtrack), yet always spellbinding. Ghost now stand as one of rock’s biggest bands. Surely, Emperor Emeritus can’t be far off? (NR)

4The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist (MNRK)

Across 36 overloaded minutes, The Callous Daoboys’ scintillating second album Celebrity Therapist is guaranteed to make you feel something. Exhilaration? Annoyance? Intense bamboozlement? Frankly, they don’t give a damn. Pressing even further than on 2019’s Die On Mars, this is the sound of Atlanta’s most unhinged outfit levelling up on their own incendiary terms: an adventure through the mathcore maelstrom with breakneck diversions into rock’n’roll and jazz. It’s like an explosion in a Marmite factory. But if you’ve got a taste for chaos, songs like A Brief Article Regarding Time Loops and Star Baby will have you licking it up. (SL)

3Bob Vylan – Bob Vylan Presents The Price Of Life (Ghost Theatre)

Not only did …The Price Of Life win Bob Vylan the 2022 Kerrang! Award for Best Album, but at this summer’s epic ceremony, the best speech of the night was delivered by vocalist Bobby’s wife Zara, who collected the trophy on the duo’s behalf. Calling out the “sexist, racist, homophobic machine” that is the music industry, this year the pair have proven that authenticity and unflinching honesty still means something. Long may they rage. (EC)

2Ithaca – They Fear Us (Hassle)

Having lurked as a very fine name in the British underground for years – thanks in no small part to 2019’s chaotic The Language Of Injury – 2022 was the year that London’s Ithaca blossomed into one of our finest bands. More focused than the untethered rage of its predecessor, They Fear Us also articulates the emotion at the heart of its furious songs with a clarity that shines through even its heaviest moments, offering a stronger take, barrelling through the worst life has to offer in order to grow from it. On Camera Eats First and the hateful In The Way (‘Wash your blood down the sink cos we don’t keep souvenirs’) it’s almost intimidating, but it also takes in the pain of grief, healing, self-love, and finding an answer, rather than simply razing things to the ground (“Nihilism is such cheap currency,” guitarist Sam Chetan-Welsh told K! in the band’s cover feature). That it’s expressed through music that’s as creatively brilliant as it is powerfully energised turns They Fear Us to something genuinely wonderful and special. “I just think we’re better than everyone else,” half-joked singer Djamila Boden Azzouz to us. You’d be very brave and very stupid to say she’s wrong. (NR)

1Nova Twins – Supernova (Marshall)

A little self-belief can go a long way. At the dawn of 2022, Amy Love and Georgia South weren’t seen as industry-anointed heirs to the Britrock throne. So Supernova has become their way of taking it. Wearing its intentions on its (dust) sleeve, Nova Twins’ second record unfolds as an exercise in manifesting superstardom. The thrilling sounds come thick and fast, from the grimy, rapid-fire rap-rock of Antagonist to the synth-streaked high drama of A Dark Place For Somewhere Beautiful. It’s the outrageous swagger of songs like Fire & Ice, and the queenly confidence flowing through Cleopatra, however, that make the London duo utterly undeniable.

Brilliantly, it’s an ascendancy is fuelled by social consciousness. ‘Blacker than the leather, that’s holding our boots together,’ they wield their identity as young black women at the vanguard of a musical revolution. ‘If you rock a different shade, we come under the same umbrella.’ Diversity and unity, they understand, will be needed to precipitate meaningful change. And that change is coming. Garnering nominations at the MOBOs and for the prestigious Mercury Prize, they’ve put British heavy music in front of new audiences and helped place it on pedestals that were nigh-on unthinkable just a few years back.

Perhaps it’s most exciting to think of that album title as a misnomer, where, in celestial terms, the state of supernova is one of the last in the life-cycle of a star. Because, for Nova Twins, it feels like this is just the beginning. (SL)

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