Over the years, we’ve learnt one thing. People don’t read the titles of these features and they don’t read this introductory blurb either!
So, we’re gonna try and say this clearly and concisely before we get a million comments saying we forgot ‘this’ album, and we forgot ‘that’ album, and ‘those’ forgotten albums will, inevitably, not even be British. THIS IS A BEST OF BRITISH METAL ALBUMS feature for 2022. Glad we cleared that up.
Presented in alphabetical order as opposed to any kind of ranking…..
As The World Dies – Agonist
Genre: Death Metal
Released: March 25th, 2022 via Transcending Obscurity Records
You can often hear a UK death metal band coming from a mile away. Why? Because the Napalm Death, Benediction, Bolt Thrower and, subsequently, Memoriam influence always looms large….and As The World Dies were no different.
However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as Memoriam’s Scott Fairfax is the beating heart of As The World Dies and he’d roped in some old mates to lend a hand – namely Karl Willetts (Memoriam, ex-Bolt Thrower), Dave Ingram (Benediction, ex-Bolt Thrower + many, many other bands!) and Kam Lee (Massacre).
With such legends providing ample growlage, the old-school flame was burning bright in this ‘un and Agonist was full of head-stomping brutal grooves and a sledgehammer Bolt Thrower-esque delivery.
Ashenspire – Hostile Architecture
Genre: Post-Metal / Black Metal
Released: July 18th, 2022 via Code 666 Records
As a scathing indictment of man’s cruelty to man, they don’t come much more prescient, nor savage, than Ashenspire‘s Hostile Architecture. Taking aim at the UK’s uncanny knack for making life difficult for those less fortunate than ourselves (e.g. purposefully restricting the use of urban environments for shelter via hostile design), Ashenspire‘s anger knows no bounds. But it’s how they convey that anger that not only provides maximum impact but also gives a voice to the voiceless and reflects the real world, and often silent, plight of people who may only be ten feet from us.
Ashenspire may use avant-garde metal as their foundation but the blast-beats, dissonance, Sprechgesang vocal delivery and screaming saxophones and violins are as uncomfortable as the hostile design Ashenspire rage against; ultimately making Hostile Architecture genre-less.
Carefully constructed, evocative, provocative and intelligent, this is music made to challenge the very foundations of our supposedly civilised culture. In truth, we’d need to compose a lengthy dissertation to fully reflect the work undertaken by this most unique band. Instead, we’ll say this – open your eyes (and ears).
Battalions – King Of A Dead World
Genre: Sludge Metal
Released: October 21st, 2022 via APF Records
These heavy-hitters from Hull know their way around a mammoth riff or two and their 4th album, King Of A Dead World, arguably harnessed their hardcore meets sludge metal racket better than ever before.
Heavier than Clutch, angrier than Sabbath and punkier than High On Fire, these nihilistic reprobates steamrolled the sludgey wastelands with a selection of tracks that grooved (“Diagonosis Fucked”), stomped (“Parasite”) and raged (“Coughing Nails”) impressively and excessively.
It was all so damn filthy and perfectly summarised Battalions‘ concept of a world ruined by greed, corruption and the overall decline of humanity.
Dirty DIY sludge; we loved it!
Conan – Evidence Of Immortality
Genre: Doom Metal
Released: August 19th, 2022 via Napalm Records
Evidence Of Immortality was album number 5 from these cavemen of doom and Conan were as adept at rumbling your guts and shaking the plaster from your ceilings as ever.
This shit ain’t pretty. In fact, it’s as ugly as a bus full of Ronaldinho lookalikes and that, dear reader, is exactly what we have come to expect from the UK’s finest proponents of stone-age DooM!
The odd increase in pace elevated (ha!) “Levitation Hoax” above the usual stomp and crawl of Conan‘s usual output but it was very much business as usual when “A Cleaved Head No Longer Plots” and “Equilibrium of Mankind” crawled from the cave, armed and ready to club you to death with the heftiest riffs imaginable.
Engage your lizard brain and bow down to Conan‘s neanderthal riffs!
Conjurer – Páthos
Genre: Sludge / Doom / Post Metal
Released: July 1st, 2022 via Nuclear Blast
Fuckin’ hell Conjurer. This was HEAVY. Did we mention it was heavy? H.E.A.V.Y. This shit was painful to listen to and merely being in Páthos‘ vicinity caused both physical and mental pain to an extent we’re not entirely comfortable with.
And yet, by immersing themselves in a melting pot of distinctly diverse genres, Conjurer‘s ability to balance mind-blowing heaviness with impressive progressive / technical chops while incorporating a sense of serenity via ambience and, dare we say it, melody(!) made Páthos such a challenging yet rewarding listen.
Doom, sludge, post-metal, death metal, black metal…. no metal stone was left unturned but it was all for the benefit of the song. These UK metal heavyweights may be able to go pound to pound with the most punishing metal acts in the world but they’re so much more than mere brutalists.