The pop culture forecast for 2022 is looking mighty fine, and we’re previewing everything we’re excited about this year with a series of lists. Just so you have it all in one place, we’ve also published our Most Anticipated (Non-Heavy) Albums, Most Anticipated Films, Most Anticipated TV Shows and Rising Artists to Watch roundups.
Every corner of the music industry has been affected by the pandemic, and the realms of heavy metal and hard rock were put in a precarious limbo following the lockdowns of 2020. For visceral genres so reliant on the energy of live performance, the lack of shows cast a malaise over the scene, resulting in an album drought.
For many acts, it simply didn’t make sense to release an album they couldn’t support with a tour. Many, like Avenged Sevenfold, decided to wait out the uncertainty and delay their LPs until this year. As the band’s singer M. Shadows boldly put it: “We’re not going to put [a new album] out if we can’t go play it live.”
The paradox is that heavy metal and hard rock is a 24-7 way of life for those who live and breathe it. Even during a pandemic — despite the pandemic, for that matter — headbangers have an unquenchable thirst for creating and listening to new music. Without live shows, this became an even more dire need. In other words, heavy music was still being made, only the release dates were artificially staggered — many to 2022.
When compiling our list of the most anticipated heavy albums of the year, we realized just how many great bands were prepping new material for release. What started as a “Top 25” grew to this list of 35 — there were just too many notable drops to mention. From the LPs that already have release dates like Ghost, Korn, and Meshuggah to our “fingers-crossed” hopefuls like Metallica, Rammstein, and Guns N’ Roses, here are the heavy albums we want to hear the most in 2022.
— Jon Hadusek,
Senior Staff Writer