The great wheel in the sky has turned itself all the way around once again and another year is in the books. This time, it's 2022, a year that saw the Covid plague ease but a new war start in Europe.  It's also a year that saw a ton of intriguing musical releases and as always, your fiends...er, friends at Wormwood Laboratories have their favorites. Herewith follows our annual Top Ten Lists highlighting the diverse picks of each of our writers. Let's get right to it...




Amazing CARCASS worship that surpasses their inspiration...a crushing labyrinth of excellent riffs and solos!

Best SAXON record in 30 years! High energy British metal delivered by masters of the art getting their second wind!

Epic thrash at an extremely high level, combined with a massive fantasy concept!

This Indian band out-rock 95% of similar bands from America! Passionate melodic metal and hard rock  done with a sincerity that’s almost vanished from music.

A welcome return from this eccentric Califorrnia band, who come back with a fantastic blast of progressive and unique thrash metal.

Finnish death metal with doomy touches...sick and putrid, yet sophisticated as well. Great band!

The maniacal Swedes return and pick up where they left off 20 years ago...with a relentless assault of bloodthirsty grinding thrash!

Your brain will explode trying to comprehend the twisted Lovecraftian metal of this avant-garde icon. One of their most accomplished albums and that’s saying something.

Doom metal record of the year...a haunting exploration of NWOBHM style doom in the fashion of ANGELWITCH, WITCHFINDER GENERAL and early CANDLEMASS

The year’s biggest surprise, from members of ALEXISONFIRE...aggressive and noisy punk metal with a lot of unpredictability and solid hooks.




And 5 extra for good measure as there were a lot of excellent releases in 2022:


SLIPKNOT     "The End, So Far"

SKID ROW     "The Gang's All Here"

KMFDM     "Hyena"

PISTOLS AT DAWN     "Ascension"



I have to confess that the last record just didn't quite grab me like "Engineering the Void" did. Ask me to put my finger on why and I can't tell you, but it was just missing something. The band has definitely found that something on this year's AOTY, "Jord." An incredible, inspired riff-fest of an album with all the stop-start, breakneck headbang-inducing brutality that you hope for from this unit. There really is only one band on the planet that sounds like this, and when they are at their best it is insanely difficult to top, hence why it is number one!

Amidst the death, destruction, and darkness that typically permeates my everyday listening, I just kept coming back to this record. It's just damn fun and doesn't really need any further justification to listen to. The band is incredibly self-aware and don't take themselves too seriously at all, and damn if that doesn't make this record even more infectious! Metalcore, Pop-Punk, Top 40-boy band Pop, and even a smattering of brutality come together so well.

You want to talk about a band at the top of their game who isn't slowing down for anything, and we have to give praise to Amorphis. Every song on this record could be considered as a staple for future live sets, as evidenced further by seeing them perform live this year a few times and these new bangers just hit all the right places alongside previous works. One of those bands that has carved out a nice, consistent niche for themselves and their brand of folky, somber-yet-hopeful melodeath.

In a year where there were honestly many many great thrash metal records, this one was just head-and-shoulders above all else. How fitting that there's a song called '1992' on here because that's immediately what came to my mind...a band doing a modern take on min-90s thrash not far removed from recent material from bands like Onslaught, Overkill, and the like. It just hits so perfectly like you don't see too often on thrash records these days.

There wasn't a record I was anxiously awaiting more than this one, and it delivered for sure! Previous LP "Limbo" was a brilliant record that teatered that line separating the most defiantly angry of black metal and the most anguished of anything with a "Post-" in front of it. It was a little bit of a slow-burn for me as upon initial listens I didn't feel it quite lived up to that standard, but on repeated experience I've come to appreciate how extreme and emotional this record really is. It stands on it's own now and must be included on this list.

One of those moments of 'where the hell did this come from?' A one-man, atmospheric black metal band embracing Native American heritage with a truly inspired approach. The riff-writing is fantastic, the melodies range from catchy to downright haunting, and the performances - especially in the realm of vocals - are absolutely enthralling. I only hope this isn't a one-and-done performance.

Having seen this band so many times over the years and having enjoyed the music, I've never really felt comfortable calling myself a dedicated fan until now. Something about this record is just ticking all of the boxes with this Celtic Frost-/Aura Noir-esque blackened thrash metal. Maybe it's how consistent the entire record feels when listened to as a whole; it's just more cohesive than anything they've put out before! Riff-heavy, and man does it go for the throat!

 I consider myself a friend of a few members of this band, but that doesn't dampen my appreciation for just how much I could not stop listening to this record! The mixjob is on point, the performances are tight, and the heads do bang fiercely! And if you love blasting '90s-era death metal by the likes of Monstrosity, Malevolent Creation, Vader, and newer bands like Skeletal Remains and Crypta, you NEED to check out Martyred!

A lumbering beast of bleak, atmospheric death metal! It churns like a vortex of Incantation-/Disma-esque death riffage and blasting, only to push-and-pull with slow, reverb-drenched solo sections. I still hold true that there is a glaring weakness in this band's performance and that would be the drummer's inability to hold a tempo, but truthfully that doesn't stop this record from appearing here on this list.

Intense groove metal from a former member of Machine Head and Soulfly is about as unexpected as a redneck winning the Daytona 500, but that doesn't make this record any less of a surprise at just how awesome it is! Catchy-yet-brutal choruses are on full display here, and the riffage is downright PUMMELING! This one had many repeated listens upon first release back in February, and it still compels me to return to it whenever a track comes up on a playlist. It's just so infectious!

BONUS: EP of the Year!!!

EUPHROSYNE      "Keres" 

This came out of nowhere to be my absolutely favorite post-blackened metal release this year! A perfect and crisp mixjob sometimes seems out of place in this genre, but here it only serves the riffs, the rhythmic interplay, and those incredible dichotomic vocals! The only flaw of this record is that the four incredible songs (clocking in at about 23 minutes) are surrounded by another 7 minutes of filler intros and interludes. Give me more of the killer and less of the filler, please!





For me personally the first seven bands and records listed below are my core favorites released in 2022 and a must buy if you haven’t added these albums to your collection yet. The last three are honorable mentions, that is, they’re good but NOT AS GOOD as the first seven are.

In full transparency I’m a Leather / David T. Chastain fan going all the way back to the 80’s but Leather’s new record, We Are The Chosen, is a killer disc worthy of high praise and accolades. Truth be told I wasn’t thrilled with much of the metal that was released in 2022. Leather’s We Are The Chosen is the exception, it’s pure American steel at its finest.

High Command has become the band that embodies / defines the phrase “true thrash” for me. Their musical output is phenomenal, their live show is even better. 

Casket Robbery made the quintessential death metal record this year with The Blood Of Creation. Unique. Heavy. Catchy. Bludgeoning. Four things that 90% of the death metal genre was NOT in 2022. Cheers to Casket Robbery for rocking out death metal that mattered when everyone else in this genre was apparently content with the word, “meh.”

I like this record, it’s a continuation of the sound and style of their previous records with singer Todd La Torre. In other words, it’s classic Queensryche updated minus the bloat and bad vibes Tate ladened the band with prior to getting the boot. 

Another cool death metal record that’s heavy, original, and made with heart and purpose. Anomaly, like the aforementioned Casket Robbery, hail from the great state of Wisconsin. I’ll be surprised if Anomaly doesn’t get signed to a label soon, they are this good.

Good classic Megadeth music. It’s what you’d expect from this band putting a record out: state of the art speed metal, thrash, and good old fashioned heavy metal, everything Metallica aren’t and won’t be. Thank god Captain Dave and his revolving door of salaried employees are still making Megadeth music. 

Early Moods perfectly capture the groove and vibe of 70’s doom infused hard rock better than anyone else working a stage today. They remind me a lot of Chicago’s legendary band Trouble so I hope Early Moods continues to rock down this particular path because they own it and its theirs to lose.







 That wraps up 2022! As you might expect, a wildly diverse collection. But there were some common elements. QUEENSRYCHE and MEGADETH popped up on multiple lists and so must be considered consensus choices for the year. SAXON also appeared on more than one list. Other than those names, it was every man for himself. That is not a bad thing, I reckon.