Hello everyone and welcome to the July Edition of the best albums of 2022. This month has been a fantastic month for heavy music and a very heavy month for my personal life. While I was not able to scour the whole globe for music this month the way I wish I could have; I have found some fantastic albums that are more than worthy of your time. I finalized about 15 albums this month and it was very hard to try to narrow things down to 10, but I did and nothing is saying those 5 that didn’t make it won’t show up in my end-of-the-year list. As always, let's get the rules out of the way and get on with my top 10 albums of July 2022!
1.) These will be Original Studio ALBUMS. Not EPs, live albums, cover albums, rarities albums, lost albums, splits, collaboration efforts, etc. Simply Original Studio Albums from bands. Simply enough, right?
2.) These will be ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Not ranked. I don’t give away my secrets about what will be in the top 100 that easily. At least buy me a drink first!
3.) These reviews will be like my top 100 list where I give the band name, the album, and the FFO section; followed by a paragraph review. I could easily go track by track on every album, but then I will have given everything away. I want YOU to check any of these albums out and make up your own thoughts if you dig them or not. I’m just here to let you be aware these albums are out and for your listening pleasure.
4.) There is nothing sponsored here nor stolen content. Just my own thoughts. I have been given almost every album I review as a stream or promo and anything I missed I checked out on Spotify or Bandcamp after release.
5.) I will be covering more albums in audio form on my podcast every week there is a new show. There may be some crossover, other ones may just be in audio form. So check out both for the optimum experience.
6.) None of these albums are set in stone for the best of 2022. I may be high on them now, but that could change for a multitude of reasons (mainly if the band does something asinine).
7.) Any album not featured here or in the podcast can EASILY still be featured in my top 100. I can’t hear every album and some will slip through the cracks now or even then. So I just need to hear an album and make assertions from there.
8.) These are done for YOU. So I hope you can discover some new music on my behalf and be shown that new music has never stopped being great. Just go discover it.
Belphegor- The Devils
FFO- Blackened Death Metal
Belphegor may have put out their most varied album to date with The Devils. While you will still get all of the blackened death metal that you crave from the band, the band variate with song structure, tempo changes (have Belphegor ever hit these lows and highs of tempos on the same album before?), and such an array of melodic and harmonic moments that truly makes the music stand out from the past. While there have been some hardships with this album on its release side (it’s finally out TODAY), it’s more than worth the wait for a fantastic look at how this genre should be done in 2022.
Blackwater Drowning- Sonder//Satori
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
For some odd reason, America does not have a full array of melodeath bands. Sure there are standouts and even some are the biggest of the genre, but as a whole, the genre is much more aligned with Scandinavia. Blackwater Drowning unleashes their style of American melodeath tied in with just enough stylistic changes to make this album stand out and give you something different than what you would expect. If this is what the band is doing with just their debut release, the band will only grow tighter and their wings will soar ever stronger. This is an album you do not want to miss out on.
FFO- Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Experimental
Conjurer has put out one of the saddest albums this side of death doom and funeral doom in 2022. While the music is a jaw-dropping display of songwriting with the band not afraid to hit any heavy music genre they see hit; the lyrics hit you with a sense of weight that if you ever fear what’s being talked about or experienced it yourself; it will make you tear up/ As someone of the latter, who has seen many people leave my life or lose their minds before they passed, it was so hard not to tear up the more I dissected everything going on and truly appreciated the hardship and integrity of pain shown. If you want an album that will hit you emotionally and make your ears perk up with every change on a dime, Conjurer delivers the goods.
Greg Puciato- Mirrorcell
FFO- Alternative Metal, Experimental Rock
The former frontman of Dillinger Escape Plan, and current member of the backing band for Jerry Cantrell; from those two things alone, even if you’ve never heard of him, you can tell this man has range. Mirrorcell not only shows off the vocal range of Puciato but the musical range. As this album features everything from Alice in Chains worship to experimental rock and metal tinges that you simply don’t expect, to what may be his most soul-crushing song with Lowered, showing both sides of a relationship going down in flames. It’s easily the lightest album Puciato has ever been a creative aspect of, and that is absolutely in it’s favor. It never it’s the progressive mathcore of his past and every song could easily fit into a more experimental mainstream audience. Every song is solid and leaves you wanting more. It’s not an easy listen, lyrically, but it’s worth the mental head trip.
Horizon Ignited- Towards The Dying Lands
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
A sheer masterpiece of a melodeath album. From start to finish, you do not get the standard melodeath affair that comes with the territory, it hits different levels of emotions, heart-gripping clean vocals when applied and if mainstream radio was willing to take a chance, this is something you could easily hear on top 40 rock radio. A perfect blend of heavy and commercial that reminds you of what the genre of melodic death metal is all about. In pure honesty, there’s only one other album I see topping this as melodeath album of the year. It's coming out next month and I guarantee it will be on my list for August. But who will come out on top? Hmm…
Imperial Triumphant- Spirits of Ecstasy
While not sounding entirely like the Norwegian band that coined the aforementioned genre; they more than fit the description. It’s blackened jazz. The pure intensity of black metal, with the experimentation and genre defiance of jazz all, rolled into one. This album is not for the faint of heart as it is a rip-roaring display of madness. You may instantly hate it, you may instantly fall in love; regardless, you will have a very strong opinion of this album and this band. I of course all in the latter and only love this album the more I hear it. Look, you’re not going to find any other band of anywhere near this style where KENNY G (yes, THAT Kenny G) shows up to do a dueling guitar/soprano sax solo with his son, Max Gorelick. The album is utterly insane. Are you willing to take the plunge or are you instantly turned off? Give it a spin, if you dare.
Municipal Waste- Electrified Brain
FFO- Crossover Thrash
In something that is the polar opposite of what I just talked about; Municipal Waste is back and has written another fantastic album to add to their catalog. You will not find anything reinventing the wheel, the songs would easily fit on any other album, and if you are already familiar with the band, you know what you are getting here; but that’s the charm. It’s fun, straight ahead, crossover thrash that any one of the punk, thrash, and metal variety will gravity toward and love from start to finish. It’s all the band ever needs to be, and It’s why I come back release after release.
Oceans of Slumber- Starlight and Ash
FFO- Progressive Doom, Blues Rock, Mainstream Rock
Oceans of Slumber is a band that is not afraid to play what they want to play. They started off with being super heavy progressive doom, and there are still elements of this style raging through, at least in spirit; the band has toned down the blast beats to 0, the screams and growls are gone, and the music somehow has become even more somber than ever before. The lyrics on every album are soul-crushing, but on Starlight and Ash, they just hit you in a way you just don’t see coming. There’s only one song here that displays double bass of any kind and the overall atmosphere has been taken a much more laid-back approach with tempo and more focused on the overall songwriting orchestration. The album is quite the divisive release as some get it and some hate it and think it’s just become the Cammie and Dobber show. I am of the mindset that this is where the band felt like it needed to go to keep up their innovation and creativity and what’s shown off is some of the best songs you’ll hear this year. And just like I told Dobber, this album, to me, is FLAWLESS. Give it a shot and see what you think for yourself.
Scaphis- Dissected & Fermented
FFO- Death Metal
This band’s sophomore album is somehow more punishing and more diverse at the same time. It comes with the idea that if you are not just pure brutal 100% of the time when you do unleash the brutality, it hits you even harder. The album is filled to the brim with the classic, modern-day, and genre-defying death metal that gives everyone something to enjoy, all while maintaining a core sound that is undeniably theirs. This band is just starting to pop up on some radars and I gotta do my effort to show them off myself. The bigger this band will get, the stronger it will become. Just check out what they are doing now 5 years since their debut, a new lineup, and the age of quarantine can do to a band that wants to destroy everything in its path.
Wake- Thought Form Descent
FFO- Progressive Blackened Death Metal
This band has changed considerably from when I first discovered them as That Drummer Guy back with their debut album in 2011. From a band that was pure unadulterated grindcore to its fullest, to a band that has crossed the musical seas of brutality to tackle blackened death metal with just enough progressive and atmospheric elements that will make the band be remembered for time to come. Wake does not lose their extreme tendencies here, but they are shown off in a way that lets the darkness, melodic overtones, and heart-wrenching lyrics destroy all of your senses. You’re not going to hear another album like this till the next Wake album, this is physical and emotional punishment personified. An album that needs to be shined off more for its sheer brilliance. An absolute game changer.
And there you have it folks, my top 10 albums of July 2022, while you don’t see a lot of prog or power or doom or straight ahead metal this time around. It’s a fantastic month to explore the boundaries of what you truly like. If you like and genre of heavy music, are you willing to see how it blends with other genres? Have you tried it? Give any of these a proper shot if you want some more color on your musical pallet and of course check out the Spotify playlist that I will have down below.
I also wanna say that August 2nd is my 11th anniversary of when I started this musical endeavor of showing off great music made by great people. If this is the first thing you’ve checked out from me, been looking forward to this every month, or if you check out some of everything else I do with Heavy Debriefings, I truly appreciate you, love you, and thank you for giving this guy all the more reason to keep going. I am also turning 34 on August 19th so this is the last write-up before then, I never thought I’d last this long, but I’m so grateful that I have. Once again, thank you. I will return next month for the Top 10 Albums of August 2022.
Same Heavy Time, Same Debriefings Website!
- Josh Rundquist