With the start of the new year, it’s impossible to not look forward to see what is in the forecast for the year ahead. With 2021 being such an outstanding year for heavy music, there is a sense that there that momentum is only swelling and even more quality releases are likely on deck.
To better bring into focus the broad spectrum of heavy music, each quarter KNOTFEST will compile a quick reference list of albums forecasted in the coming months that are worth taking a closer look at. These are the albums that not only have plenty of hype leading into their drop, but albums that are likely to deliver on that hype and then some.
Here is what the first quarter of 2022 looks like.
Enterprise Earth - The Chosen (1/14 | eONE Music)
The Pacific Northwest is an interesting stronghold for extreme art and Enterprise Earth proves as such. Since their 2014 arrival, the band has released a steady succession of brutality, a catalog of four full length albums and two EPs that all assert a skilled meld of technicality and relentlessness. Fueled by the vision of the band’s founding Dan Watson, Enterprise Earth colors outside the lines of deathcore with a sound that combines the durability of death, with the flair and modernity of core. The collection of songs in The Chosen also asserts the band’s maturity as songwriters, in tempering the assault with the occasional atmospheric accent to break up the pummel.
Fit For An Autopsy - Oh What the Future Holds (1/14 | Nuclear Blast)
The creative outlet for renowned producer Will Putney, Fit For An Autopsy are the kind of band that thrive in various subgenres with a unique ease. Combining the prowess of tech metal, the hellacious heft of death metal, and the swagger and sensibility of hardcore, the Jersey natives go for the throat on album six. The album’s string of singles in “Far From Heaven,” the pummeling “Pandora” and the latest, “In Shadows” showcase diversity and dominance in a way indicates that the band’s current version is decidedly their best yet.
Underoath - Voyuerist (1/14 | Fearless Records)
As one of the genre’s most enduring units, it’s incredible to think that after two decades Underoath are unearthing new creative terrain and yet Voyeurist is just that. The self-produced effort positions guitarist Tim McTague at the helm, handling the heavy lifting of recording the landmark album. Defining the band’s most current era of ‘Hi-Def violence’ the album manages to tap into the band’s early intensity, while highlighting their continued evolution as incendiary craftsman. Doubling down on the artistry associated with the album, the band’s streaming showcase in Digital Ghost only underscored the efficiency of a unit that is undoubtedly firing on all cylinders.
The Last Ten Seconds of Life (1/28 | Unique Leader Records)
As subgenre dividing lines continue to blur, the amount of artists that can ride that meld competently is tough to narrow down. A healthy product of that creative stylistic collision are the PA punishers in The Last Ten Seconds of Life. In the class of the next generation of death core’s emerging class, the band’s ability to infuse groove and even the faint hint of nu-metal bounce ensures some dynamics in their onslaught. Having cultivated a passionate underground following for the last decade, their self-titled release has the potential to catapult the band to deathcore’s next on-deck.
Korn - Requiem (2/4 | Loma Vista Recordings)
Imaging assembling a list of anticipated albums and skipping over new KORN - it’s impossible. Transcending superlative, the band’s fourteenth full-length studio effort sees the innovators still exploring new boundaries and evading the dangers of rehashing their past - no easy feat considering how vast the band’s catalog is. Far from content to rely on their legacy, Korn continues to perform like a outfit hungry to prove themselves despite having changed the game many times over throughout their career. Korn have been undefeated for decades and with their latest, they are showing no signs of slowing.
Venom Prison - Erebos (2/4 Century Media)
While the band’s 2019 sophomore album Samsara really captured the attention of the heavy music community, Venom Prison turned a corner in 2020 with their Primeval release. The revisiting of their earliest EPs along with a hint of new material presented a outfit that was hellbent on securing their position among death metal’s emerging elite. A fluid weave of insightful, articulate lyrics from vocalist Larissa Stupar, combined with the bombastic guitar-driven attack of tandem Ash Gray and Ben Thomas make for an album that dares to be beautiful in it’s brutal delivery.
Rolo Tomassi - Where Myth Becomes Memory (2/4 | MNRK)
Among the bands that are almost certain to have a breakout year, the Sheffield post-hardcore powerhouse in Rolo Tomassi are all but a lock. The band released their fifth LP in 2018 with Time Will Die and Love With Fury It to truly universal acclaim. Expanding the confines of the genre such that the band earned a bit of an experimental tag, the band’s ability to craft vibrant, albeit volatile tracks was undeniable.
Harnessing that same proclivity to push the envelope, the first glimpses of album six in “Cloaked” and “Drip” transform singles into an immersive experience that doesn’t just resonate with the listener - it consumes them, Crafting artistry that embraces elements of the ambient and the articulately aggressive, Rolo Tomassi are destined to be one of the year’s highlights.
Author & Punisher - Krüller (2/11 | Relapse Records)
Equal parts musician/composer and innovator/engineer, Tristan Stone doesn’t make songs, he scores the apocalypse as Author & Punisher. As extreme music’s revered industrialist, Stone has turned a creative corner on his ninth full length studio effort - embracing a nuanced, albeit notable accent of melody in what still translates as exceptionally ominous soundscapes.
While Stone’s continued innovation in the way of his own designed instrumentation and “drone” machines command real respect for his level of craftsmanship, the resulting compositions no less genius in their execution. Stone’s ability to induce chills is on full display with Kruller - as evidenced with the introductory single, “Drone Carrying Dead”.
Immolation - Acts of God (2/18 | Nuclear Blast)
Among death metal’s OGs, New York’s Immolation remain among the elite of the genre in their traditional approach and technical prowess. Resurfacing with 15 new tracks of uncompromising heft, there is a sense of both the classic and the contemporary packaged into the band’s first release in five years with Acts of God. Unabashed in it’s brazen blasphemy, Immolation goes well beyond the requisite brutality of the category to execute stanzas that are almost poignant in their antagonism. Immolation inject an element of authenticity in extreme music that many aspire and few ever achieve - simply put, Acts of God is heavy AF without indulging the kitsch.
Matt Pike - Pike Vs. The Automaton (2/18 | MNRK Heavy)
It took a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic for High On Fire and Sleep mastermind Matt Pike to set out to make his solo debut. Battling the isolation and stagnant pace of the last two years of lockdown, the PNW guitarist/songwriter/shred specialist linked with former Lord Dying drummer Jon Reid and began to jam.
The project continued to evolve into something substantial and eventually, Pike’s past time roped in contributions from Brent Hinds of Mastodon, Todd Burdette of Tragedy, Steve McPeeks of West End Motel, Josh Greene of El Cerdo, and Pike's wife, Alyssa Maucere-Pike of Lord Dying in what is now Pike’s eagerly-awaited solo debut. Brimming with Pike’s stylistic signature sludge, Pike Vs. The Automation is Pacific Northwest pummel at it’s finest.
George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher - Corpsegrinder (2/25 | Perseverance Music Group)
The legendary rasp of one of death metal’s most enduring figures in Cannibal Corpse vocalist George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher has the world of heavy music on pins and needles - eagerly awaiting the arrival of his unexpected solo debut. Connecting with Hatebreed frontman and metal revivalist Jamey Jasta to helm the production of the album, the self-described mesh of “Death Metal, Thrash and Hardcore,” come together in an explosive concoction that constitutes violence on record.
Enlisting lauded extreme metal guitarist Erik Rutan for the introductory single in “Acid Vat,” the tone of the release was set in what will no doubt be complete obliteration over the course of 10 pummeling tracks.
Blood Incantation - Timewave Zero (2/25 | Century Media)
Among extreme music's most cerebral, cosmically-keen craftsmen, Blood Incantation's latest effort is a full embrace of the experimental in a three song composition. You read that correctly, the standard edition of the album features just two tracks with "Io" clocking in at 21-minutes and "Ea" nearing 20 minutes in length. The limited edition of the album boasts the third track in, “Chronophagia,” a 27 minutes and 37 seconds headtrip that challenges the conventional constructs of extreme music.
Less a stylistic about face than an a creative evolution, the deep dive into more ambient, even dark psychedelia is aspect of Blood Incantation that has always existed as facet of the band but has now become a focus in their pursuit of crafting, articulate, inventive heavy music. Blood Incantation are to heavy music what Aliens was to the horror genre - alternative in their approach and yet no less authentic.
Drug Church - Hygiene (3/11 | Pure Noise Records)
Albany's hardcore purveyors indulge a bit of 90's era alt on the follow up to their well-received 2018 LP, Cheer. On Hygiene, vocalist Patrick Kindlon delivers an especially dynamic performance - showing range that veers from singing to the occasional scream - all of which is nothing short of commanding. The album's previews in singles “Million Miles of Fun” and “Detective Lieutenant” display a deft sense of songwriting that all but ensure this will be a no-skipping kind of listen. The meld of punchy song dynamics, warm distortion, and Kindlon's vocal soar make for an album that is fluid in it's delivery and heavy when it needs to be.
Dark Funeral - We Are The Apocalypse (3/18 | Century Media)
The current iteration of Sweden's black metal institution in Dark Funeral are set to unleash their seventh full length assault on the world and the expectation is pure evil on record. The line up of Lord Ahriman (guitars), Heljarmadr (vocals), Chaq Mol (guitars), Jalomaah (drums), and Adra Melek (bass) have kept the details of the new effort particularly veiled, but given the album is the first since 2018's Where Shadows Forever Reign, it's hard to not be hopeful that the black metal stalwarts have something devastatingly diabolical in store.
Animals As Leaders - Parrhesia (3/25 | Sumerian Records)
Among the champions of instrumental heft, Animals As Leaders deservedly made headlines when the news broke that the band has confirmed the arrival date of their fifth studio album, Parrhesia. The band's first studio album in six years was first revealed with the drop of the single, Monomyth, a powerful show of precision and dexterity that could only come from AAL. The album's second offering in "The Problem of Other Minds" doubles down on the band's unparalleled prowess as masters of their craft and true surgeons with their instruments. Complete with compelling visuals that create a complete sensory experience, it's a given that Parrhesia would be a great album - but as it stands now, it may be Animals As Leaders' best yet.