Hello everyone, and welcome, once again, to my monthly retrospective of new music that I’m calling for this month; The Top 10 Albums of September 2022. This month, as implied, I’ll be looking back at 10 of my favorite albums of this past month and showing them off to you in the short-hand form to see if you will find anything that is up your alley. This month has been crammed full of spectacular releases, including albums I haven’t even had the chance to hear yet. So this month wasn’t the easiest month to put together, but I can’t deny any of these 10 albums from being shown off in all the glory they deserve. And you just may agree! So let’s get onto the rules of this list and get crackin’!
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.
Blind Guardian- The God Machine
FFO- Speed Metal, Power Metal, Heavy Metal
How are you able to go back to your roots while maintaining everything you’ve learned over the years to make what could be the best album of your career? Well, ask Blind Guardian! Maybe it’s too early to say it’s their best, but I have a hard time denying that it’s a possibility. It has everything I love about the band. Speed, melodic riffs, catchy choruses, thought-provoking tales sang tremendously by Hansi Kursch, and a production that lets everyone shine and just the right amount of orchestrated undertones. It’s Blind Guardian doing what they do best and the fact they can pull this off without retreading water over and over again in 2022 is awe-inspiring. You’re not getting reinvented power metal here, you’re getting A+ quality power metal from the German master crafters. Absolutely magnificent.
Bloodbath- Survival of the Sickest
FFO- Death Metal
Much of what I just said about Blind Guardian above can be applied here to Bloodbath, just replace the speed, heavy, and power metal attributes with old-school death metal. Old Nick is at his most comfortable in his tenure with Bloodbath on this album, while the music hits everything from the 90s Swedish death metal that we all love, to just the right amount of newer spices to make this undead masterpiece a sheer delight. I also gotta say it as I’ve yet to see any other reviewer point this out. This is the most fun Bloodbath album to date. Every song is just fun to listen to and has that instant replay value that is so important in creating a great album. You’ll be hard-pressed to find any band that puts out osdm of this quality in 2022 better than what’s on display with Survival of the sickest. This is heavy done right!
Clutch- Sunrise on Slaughter Beach
FFO- Blues Rock, Hard Rock, Stoner Rock
Clutch has come back after a few years and put out their...shortest album to date. They come, they conquer, they leave. At 9 songs and 33 minutes, they give you the best of Clutch at a frantic pace, even when the tempo and songs get mellow. It’s refreshing to hear an album of this caliber not overstay its welcome. No unneeded solos, no interludes or intros, and outros that feel out of place. Just classic pure rock fury! I can’t sell it much better than that. It’s Clutch being Clutch in 2022, what else could you possibly need?
Destrage- SO MUCH. too much.
FFO- Progressive Metalcore
It’s not too often a band can continuously keep getting poppier and catchier, while expanding their sound and becoming more diverse and so avant-garde friendly. No one else sounds like Destrage and I don’t think any other band is capable of the task. This album is filled to the brim with brutal riffs and catchy choruses over a landscape of genre-bending at the turn of a dime and production that sounds pristine. You’re not going to find any other albums that can pull off what Destrage does here, with the added benefit of having Devin Townsend add some vocals and doing the most insane cover of Stone Temple Pilot's Vasaline you’ll ever hear. SO MUCH. too much. proves that modern music is ever-expanding and there is no limit to where things can go, all while being so enjoyable to listen to over and over again. Don’t miss out on this one if you want something as wacky as it is genuine.
FFO- Black Metal
As this band continues to grow in popularity in the underground black metal world, the more diverse, cognitive, and heartbreaking the music becomes. This is easily the most heart-shattering album of the band’s career so far. The more you listen to the lyrics, the more they will hit you like a ton of bricks and take your soul away and replace it with an empty black void. The production of this album is beyond stellar (which should be more appreciated and accepted in the black metal community), and with every listen you can appreciate something else about it from the lyrics, instrumentation, or arrangements. The band has layers, many sad…sad layers, but they are there to be discovered. This is how I like my black metal and anyone who misses out on this album that’s into black metal will be filled with regret. Seriously, one of the best black metal albums of the year; it just takes one listen to understand why.
King’s X- Three Sides of One
FFO- Alternative Metal, Hard Rock, Classic Rock
King’s X has not released a new album since 2008. For 14 years, I’ve been chomping at the bit for a new KX album and it finally happened. I will admit that this album is a grower because there are a lot of diverse moments on this album, you’ll hear some classic KX sounds followed by a Beatles-esque ballad or a ripper of a track tackling what I can only take as shots at Fyre Fest and Astroworld. You can really say this is an album for every kind of rock and metal fan. No matter how much you like your music heavy or poppy, it’s here in all its shades and upon listen after listen, it all fits together like a puzzle that took album 15 years to complete. We live in a better world with this album released and I don’t want to imagine a world without it.
FFO- Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Progressive Metal
In my humblest of opinions, Revocation is at its best when they write thematic albums. Not necessarily concept albums, but albums that are tied together by a central theme, and wouldn’t you know it, they wrote what could be their best album with this in mind with Netherheaven. 9 songs covering the 9 circles of Hell. Every song feels like a different circle of Hell in its pain, torture, and absolutely spellbinding musicianship. The album ends with what may be the last appearance of sadly departed Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder (R.I.P.) and the ever-crushing Corpsegrinder of Cannibal Corpse, really giving the album that feeling that you have gone through Hell and back. The music is so on point whether it gets brutal, proggy, thrashy, or just straight-up metal. It’s an evergreen album for any extreme metal fan and its Revocation at its finest so far. Don’t miss out!
Sinister Downfall- The Last Witness
FFO- Funeral Doom Metal
Funeral doom metal has become one of my favorite genres over the years with how devastatingly sad the music is that truly matches what’s going on in my head suffering from suicidal depression. Sinister Downfall’s 3rd album is nothing short of a masterpiece to the grave. It’s slow, it’s heavy, it feels like the vocals are really a stone slab being slid off in the most evil of growls and demonic territory, and whatever is inside is about to devour you. The songs are very sad and depressing and I would expect nothing else. It’s hard to not want to shed a tear or two listening to this album becomes the emotions will hit you hard, so be prepared. That said, this is one of the most cathartic albums I’ve heard in a bit and I’m so happy it came across my radar. If funeral doom is in your wheelhouse, I implore you to give this a proper listen and get lost as you get pulled down to your doom.
FFO- Revival Metal, AOR
Anyone who says Metal died in 1989 and never got better has clearly stopped checking out new music for decades. Sumerlands with their newest album, Dreamkiller may have just become the best revival metal band in the genre pack. Everything you love about the classic sounds of metal is here, but none of it sounds derivative, it just feels like 2022 transformed into 1986 for 35 minutes and gave you a sampling of the best music to never come out of that decade. This is an album I keep going back to for those feel-good moments and it truly works. You just may feel better as well if you give it a spin. Just more proof that good metal will never die no matter how heavy, catchy, poppy, or brutal it gets.
Wolfheart- King of the North
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
Melodeath album of the year contender right here. Every month there is a new melodeath album that comes out and blows me away and Wolfheart more than nailed that here in September. No one has a track record like Wolfheart as of late, everything they release has been solid gold, but somehow, with King of the North, the gold became diamonds. By changing their sound ever so slightly to incorporate more clean vocals without losing any of the intensity or dramatic impact, Wolfheart has broken through a new level and has made an impact with King of the North that can only be topped by Wolfheart themselves. It’s as gorgeous as it is heavy and it only takes one listen of one song to understand why. This is how you make melodic death metal!
And there you have it, folks, 10 albums in September 2022 that YOU need to check out if anything tickles that fancy of yours. Everything from classic metal to funeral doom and everything in between is here so I really hope that if you do enjoy heavy music, there will be an album for you here to enjoy. Next time, we’ll be entering the scariest month of the year with The Top 10 Albums of October 2022. Will the music be as scary as it suggests? Will it have music that tops this month? We’ll find out in around 30 days' time. But until then, this is Josh Rundquist for Heavy Debriefings saying see ya!
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)