Metalcore’s enduring popularity shows no signs of slowing in 2022. In recent years, the likes of Architects and Parkway Drive made the leap up to arenas, while Code Orange earned Grammy nominations for both Forever and Undeneath and last year Spiritbox took the metal world by storm with their debut Eternal Blue.
But what of 2022? Well, in a year positively stacked with exceptional new releases – which you can read all about in the brand new Metal Hammer – metalcore still held its own, heavyweights Architects and Parkway Drive leading the charge for mainstream appeal while heroes Bleed From Within and Motionless In White grew ever-more ambitious. And that’s to say nothing of Heriot, this year’s breakout newcomers who’ve already made fans out of stars like Mark Morton and Sam Carter.
But which metalcore records ruled over all? Here are the ten best metalcore albums of 2022.
10. Motionless In White – Scoring The End Of The World
Scoring The End Of The World might just be the key to unlocking the next stage in Motionless In White’s career. From the explosive Meltdown – arguably the best opening track the band have written – to the slinky, synth-laden Werewolf and the nu metal-tinged Red, White & Boom (featuring Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo), Scoring… is a big step up from previous efforts, possibly even the moment that Motionless In White finally realise their potential and rocket up through the metal ranks.
9. Electric Callboy – Tekkno
Electric Callboy might have rebranded under a less problematic name, but their brand of ultra-addictive slightly WTF electro-metalcore remained as brilliantly bonkers as ever on Tekkno.
Tekkno saw them swap offensive topics in favour of cheeky jokes and wickedly catchy choruses. The result is an absolute blast and it’s impossible to deny the dancefloor beats and breakdowns, as the thousands of fans who turned out to see the band live in 2022 attests.
8. Parkway Drive – Darker Still
A continuation of the steady evolution over Parkway Drive‘s past few efforts, Darker Still’s distillation of ideas into a more methodical, deliberate sound is perfectly aimed for the arenas and headline slots the band now comfortably occupy.
The Greatest Fear, Like Napalm, Imperial Heretic and the unmistakable power ballad tropes of the title track are instantaneous anthems that embed themselves into your cranium. That Parkway Drive are back at all is a blessing. That they’ve set their sights on the stratosphere is even more thrilling.
7. Architects – The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit
The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit is not the most unique, original Architects album, and it’s definitely not going to be considered their most ‘worthy’, but for all the credibility that some may feel the band have sacrificed, they’ve done something arguably even harder: they’ve shown they can write some absolutely shit-hot floor-fillers.
The Classic Symptoms Of A Broken Spirit is still full of crunching, stomping guitar riffs; some hugely propulsive, techy grooves; and Sam Carter remains one of the most dexterous and singular voices in metal. But, the evolution and the size of Architects – this coming off the back of 2021’s For Those That Wish To Exist topping the UK album charts – has led the band to a place where they clearly want to capitalise with a big, instant, booming, pop-hook-filled modern metallic rock album.
6. Heriot – Profound Morality
Has anyone in metalcore had quite so much of a meteoric rise in 2022 as Heriot? By all accounts, Profound Morality is technically more of an EP than an album, but in its eight-track assault on the senses the band range from the industrial beats of Abaddon to the all-out metallic hardcore crunch of Coalescence that can suddenly break into airy, ambient shoegaze-style melodies.
Evoking fellow genre-bending luminaries Code Orange and Loathe, Heriot have already earned the support of figures including Architects vocalist Sam Carter and Lamb Of God guitarist Mark Morton, but appearances at Download and Bloodstock helped further cement the sense there is something seriously special building around Heriot.
5. Malevolence – Malicious Intent
As Malevolence have shown time and again, there’s so much more to the band than wanton thuggery. The most risky but exciting moments come with the soaring chorus of Salvation – which includes help from an ubiquitous Matthew K Heafy – and the stadium-sized ballad Higher Place.
Both comfortably as catchy as any radio-bothering anthem from the likes of Five Finger Death Punch, they are vanguards of an album that proudly boasts its intention of planting a banner of victory on hitherto unexplored ground. Backed by a crisp, muscular mix, each track leaves bruises and righteous grins in its wake. Crucially, Malicious Intent’s achievement matches its ambition.
4. The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist
The Callous Daoboys’ third album Celebrity Therapist has tracks called The Elephant Man In The Room and Beautiful Dude Missile, these madcap monikers complimented by some of the most insane yet compelling mathcore to come from the US since The Dillinger Escape Plan broke up.
Every entry is hectic in ways that the album’s hitherto unimagined. As a result, Celebrity Therapist deserves to go down as an idiosyncratic starmaker. And, in an era where the likes of Rolo Tomassi, Seeyouspacecowboy and Pupil Slicer are helping mathcore reach its healthiest state in 20 years, The Callous Daoboys seem perfectly placed for breakout success.
3. Bleed From Within – Shrine
Shrine is the third album from Scottish mob Bleed From Within in a fertile five-year period. While its two predecessors provided well-aimed uppercuts to the mush, this is the closest Bleed From Within have come yet to a knockout blow. Just as Parkway Drive’s Reverence seemed to take the Aussies’ well-honed metalcore to more glorious, ambitious realms.
When they unleash it live, as on their recent Bullet For My Valentine support slot or own headline tours, they solidify bonds with longtime fans and win new admirers. Yet again Shrine is an album boasting muscle, class and the righteous enthusiasm that the quintet exude during all their endeavours, providing plenty of sturdy psalms to help them continue to spread the gospel.
2. Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
Rolo Tomassi’s evolutionary journey has been a pleasure to behold. After 2015’s Grievances and 2018’s Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It, which saw them magnify the dynamic interplay between light and shade, their sixth album feels like another natural progression.
While in the early days, Tomassi’s disorientating racket was powered by chaos, stitching together jazz, prog and classical influences with chunky, jagged threads, the fluidity between the various elements of their sound now feels natural and unforced. Where Myth Becomes Memory feels like Rolo Tomassi have finally perfected the their sound, but for a band dedicated to perpetual motion, it’s unlikely this spells the end of their progression.
1. Ithaca – They Fear Us
When Ithaca released The Language Of Injury in 2019, nobody quite expected the London mob to explode in the way they did. A critically acclaimed album that led to some high-profile festival appearances and shows supporting the likes of Anaal Nathrakh and Bleeding Through, the band’s growing stature means anticipation has been high for a follow-up. Has the pressure of delivering a second album caused Ithaca to crack? Has it bollocks.
‘It’s not a job, it’s a service, and I get paid in satisfaction’ screams vocalist Djamila Azzouz on opening track In The Way, a chugging riff behind her as the song thunders into The Future Says Thank You, where the combination of screamed and clean vocals will rip a hole straight through the senses, but then stitch them up as it goes.
Going from a chaotic barrage of drums, riffs and screams into something with expanse and beauty is difficult enough, but Ithaca have done it with such expertise that the album flows sensationally, and nothing seems out of place. Just listen to You Should Have Gone Back: the first half is prog-metal brilliance, a great change of pace given what’s come before, but halfway in it explodes into post-hardcore nirvana and it all makes sense. Closing track Hold, Be Held is the icing on a particularly delicious cake – an ethereal number that brings you back down gently, but ready to immediately press play again. What a triumph this record is. Absolutely essential listening.