SBR Top 7 Debut Albums of 2022

“We are the new breed,” scream Fear Factory on their legendary 1995 Demanufacture album. But who are the new breed of 2022?

Last year felt like a long wait to see if Spiritbox could match the expectations of their debut release after a slew of EPs and singles, and they did it in style. This year saw no big debut releases with the same level of commercial and cultural pressures attached to them, but it produced some bountiful records for the music connoisseur. Perhaps the biggest surprise was the low-key album from grunge supergroup, 3rd Secret, featuring members of Soundgarden and Nirvana. Another supergroup that came from nowhere in 2022 were Absent in Body, featuring current and former members of Neurosis, Amenra and Sepultura. Those that would rather ignore it because of the disgraceful conduct of Scott Kelly – who has retired as a musician with permanent effect following revelations about domestic abuse – would be doing the other band members a disservice if they excommunicated the band for the transgressions of one man.

These are the SBR Top 7 debut albums of 2022…

7. Cleaver – No More Must Crawl

What we said at the time: “It’s interesting how far modern hardcore crosses over into extreme metal these days. Those of us that like our music to bludgeon the senses and challenge our expectations will often find more of this in metallic hardcore than, say, black metal. Cleaver are a good example why. Listen to the alt-rock beginning of ‘Inner Voice’ go from Sonic Youth to The Refused and Poison the Well in less than three minutes. The double mathcore header of ‘Thudding Stares’ and ‘K.Y.G. (Kill Your Guru)’ mix sustained blast beats with staccato posturing and body-slamming breakdown riffs in less time that it takes to boil an egg on full heat. Both are overzealous in their violent attack and delightful in their hyper-aggressive transcendence.”

Country: France

Style: Metallic Hardcore

Released: 06/05/2022

Label: Klonosphere Records

Read the original SBR review here.

6. Tyrannus – Unslayable

What we said at the time: “It’s clear Tyrannus had one eye on the live stage during the recording process for this record. The guitars crunch and hiss like hostile gadgets ready to electrocute you if you get too close, while Callum John Cant relies on animated single-tracked vocals to guide the rhythms… This is aggressive music, but it cracks the age-old riddle of its genre – how do you purvey an abstract darkness among such a cacophony of heavy dynamics?”

Country: Scotland

Style: Blackened death metal

Released: 22/04/2022

Label: Self-released

Read the original SBR review here.

5. Gozer – An Endless Static

What we said at the time: “The first thing Gozer do is disabuse you of the notion that good things come to those who wait. A more accurate aphorism would be unexpected things come to those who ruminate. Yes, this is a bleak affair and the anguish burrows into your chest like a virus, yet Gozer understand the need for respite and solitude for those that want to live but feel condemned by life’s vagaries… This music is like an unwanted breeze. It demands a scarf. Maybe also a more serious contemplation of what it means to survive and subsist.”

Country: England

Style: Post-metal

Released: 17/06/2022

Label: Trepanation Recordings

Read the original SBR review here.

4. Tuskar – Matriarch

What we said at the time: “As a progressive band, Tuskar value that one thing other artists could learn from – variation. Seven songs of gut-wrenching post-metal would be tolerable but exhausting, yet the Buckinghamshire duo make it their mission to ensure no two tracks sound the same…. These boys know how to lay on the head-banging thrash and the hip-swaying groove riffs as if the two are interchangeable. Of course, every single moment is ugly and delicious in its severity.”

Country: England

Style: Progressive sludge metal

Released: 25/02/2022

Label: Church Road Records

Read the original SBR review here.

3. Knekelput – Teloorgang

What we said at the time: “What’s the definition of a cult album? Surely, one recorded fifteen years ago and left to gather dust under a cloud of self-doubt and mental struggles? We have no idea why the Dutch experimental duo of Knekelput decided to put their art in the public domain this year, but we’re all the richer for it. Whether released in 2007 or 2022, Teloorgang sounds like nothing on this planet.”

Country: Netherlands

Style: Avant-garde metal

Released: 25/10/2022

Label: Self-released

Read the original SBR review here.

2. Terror Cell – Caustic Light

What we said at the time: “This is the music in your head when you lose confidence in the political system on polling day and sneer at the voting slip in disgust. On a musical level, you can hear Will Haven as much as Converge, but the outcome is the same – collapse of one’s ego… We’d be worried about the state of mind of the author if these lyrics were public posts on Facebook. This is art that captures the emptiness and despair of the unsettled mind. It’s also a magnificent piece of unhinged metallic hardcore.”

Country: USA

Style: Metallic Hardcore/Mathcore

Released: 07/10/2022

Label: Fisher King Records

Read the original SBR review here.

1. Cage Fight – Cage Fight

What we said at the time: “Cage Fight identify as a hardcore band, but this music incorporates a wide range of extreme metal influences and blasts through the crunchy metal riffs with the same alacrity as Pig Destroyer… The band have support slots with Cro-Mags and Sepultura lined up and an appearance at Bloodstock in August. Cage Fight are on the way up, but nothing can bring you down from the cathartic rage of their music. This is a sensational debut effort that will resonate for years to come.”

Country: England/France

Style: Metallic hardcore

Released: 13/05/2022

Label: Candlelight Records

Read the original SBR review here.

Honourable mentions

Absent in Body – Plague God (Label: Relapse Records)

Box – Cherry Blossoms at Night (Label: Miserable Pyre of Secrets)

Casket Feeder – Servants of Violence (Label: Self-released)

Static Abyss – Labyrinth of Veins (Label: Peaceville Records)

Visceral – The Tree of Venomous Fruit (Label: Raging Planet Records)