Rock and Metal Music Charts – 2022

heavy metal music charts

Fans known as metalheads or headbangers still fill arenas worldwide to see legendary rock acts such as Black Sabbath and Def Leppard, while regional hubs with bustling underground scenes offer new, exciting Metal acts to explore.

Sandy Pearlman of Blue Oyster Cult coined the term heavy metal in 1970. Early practitioners created music with fantasy lyrics for an immersive listening experience.

Billboard Top 200

Black Sabbath’s 1970 self-titled debut – which became the first front-to-back heavy metal album ever – laid down a foundation that still stands nearly 50 years later.

Music of this style often conjured dark images, often with an edge of drama or horror, while its songs often included dramatic or emotive lyrics that added drama or horror. Metalheads embraced its loud decibels as intense declarations of independence, often sporting tattooed faces or leather clothing as part of their personal brand for this musical genre. Metal quickly became more than just music: it became part of their lifestyles.

Metal has long since spread its power and influence across pop charts, movies and even TV shows – such as Slayer’s precise and caustic black metal to Morbid Angel’s dramatic operatic death metal style; each album exemplifying metal’s legacy. However, certain albums remain iconic to its legacy; whether that is Slayer with their precision black metal sound or Morbid Angel with their dramatic operatic death metal sound these albums stand as testaments of metal’s longevity and continued relevance in our contemporary society.

72 Seasons is Metallica’s first album in 35 years not to make the Top 200 Chart, yet that didn’t stop it from raking up massive sales on its first week – 176,000 units to be exact, which made for one of the highest single-week totals seen among rock and hard-rock albums since a long while, making this debut especially successful compared to past efforts, notes Billboard.

The album also debuted at number one on both Billboard Rock and Top Hard Music Album charts, as well as consistently being in the top ten on iTunes Metal, Amazon Metal, iTunes Rock and Rock charts as well as Apple iTunes Top 200 Albums chart. Furthermore, a full-length live recording at Observatory North Park in San Diego captured all 68 minutes of this massive opus, from beginning to end.

Billboard Top Rock Albums

Heavy metal has long inspired an intense culture of fans known as “metalheads” or “headbangers.” Over five-plus decades, bands like Black Sabbath, Metallica, Megadeth and Anthrax have inspired an avid following known as metalheads or headbangers who passionately embrace its sound with aggressive lyrics that shake eardrums at top decibel levels and serve as powerful statements of individualism through music that has served as an outlet. While dark imagery dates back as far as classical composers and blues artists have added their unique brand of pomp that codifies an entirely separate musical language for fans to love.

As MTV began airing glam metal videos during the Eighties, more extreme forms emerged underground. Thrash metal bands like Metallica and Slayer brought clubhouse-level ferocity into mainstream audiences; death metal and black metal became subcultural phenomena. From these diverse influences has come an array of riff-heavy, beat-driven melodic styles which have evolved their own musical languages.

Appetite for Destruction Guns N’ Roses made their bold and boisterous debut with Appetite for Destruction in 1987. It featured searing vocals, shimmering guitar solos, and Slash’s trademark Les Paul roar that quickly made it an international smash hit. Subsequent releases, Use Your Weapons and Highway to Hell cemented their hard rock sound and hit number one on charts nationwide.

Billboard Top Alternative Albums

Heavy metal is an expansive genre with infinite interpretations. Judas Priest donned denim and leather; Metallica unleashed breakneck speed; Avenged Sevenfold added catchy melodies, while Pantera used their music as an antidote against oppressive systems; while gothic, emo, metalcore and grunge groups have used heavy metal as an outlet of expression and self-expression for themselves and other groups alike.

The Billboard Top Alternative Albums chart was the first centralized list to track alternative music’s impact on mainstream sales, launched on September 10, 1988 to counteract individual radio station charts and trade magazine lists that might favor certain titles over others. Since its conception on that date, its inclusion has expanded to encompass any title considered rock, alternative (core-pop included) or hard music as long as its music generated strong fan interest.

Initialy, this chart served as an additional listing to Hot Rock & Alternative Songs; starting with June 2020 issue however, it’s been integrated into main rankings using a similar formula as Hot Rock & Alternative Albums chart; any title which earns enough equivalent album units (“tracks”) will also place high in Hot Rock Albums ranking.

Alternative metal, an eclectic genre that blends heavy metal with other genres like funk and soul music, was pioneered in the 1980s by bands like Faith No More, Living Colour, Jane’s Addiction and Soundgarden. After 2003 nu metal saw its popularity decline; many bands moved onto other subgenres or genres.

Voivod were one of the most singular metal acts to emerge during the 1990s, hailing from Quebecois with influences spanning hardcore punk (Discharge), post-punk (Killing Joke), classic prog (King Crimson, Van der Graaf Generator), abrasive blastbeats, sci-fi themes, and warped guitar riffs, making their fourth album Dimension Hatross an album filled with creative, innovative sound that established Voivod as one of metal’s premier creative bands.

Billboard Top Hard Music Albums

Rock and metal music enjoyed an exceptional year, dominating 2022 charts with multiple acts releasing albums inside Billboard’s Top 10 (for more on that topic click here).

Black Sabbath initially took offense at being labeled metal when they released this album in 1978, yet they set the standard. Their signature heavy sound of overdriven guitar, acrobatic drumming, and powerful vocals would soon be emulated by numerous bands in denim and leather like Judas Priest (who included catchy melodies to their sound). Metallica took this genre further with their fast tempo; Korn added new rhythmic elements while Nirvana and Soundgarden established grunge as its own distinct genre in early 1990.

Deafheaven from Modesto, California revolutionized heavy metal with their experimental approach. Led by guitarist Kerry McCoy and singer George Clarke, Deafheaven utilized an unconventional sound that blends elements from Slayer, Death Kennedys and their own signature sound into one cohesive experience – their 2013 breakthrough Sunbather being their most expansive work that combined musical interest with dark imagery for an unforgettable listen.

Slayer and Isis were pioneers in extreme metal, laying down the foundation for modern grindcore and black metal music. But on their 2002 album Oceanic, Isis expanded further by mixing punishing heaviness and delicate melodies; guitarist-bandleader Page Hamilton earned his master’s degree in jazz studies while working alongside avant-garde composer Glenn Branca to lend it an otherworldly aura that could be heard behind Turner’s haunted howl on “Lights Out.”

Helloween, Savatage and Blind Guardian helped pioneer symphonic metal during this era of extreme metal music in the 80s. Finnish band Nightwish took it one step further by pairing powerful sing-along hooks with lush orchestration that included synthesizers or, on Once’s record-breaking orchestration track, full orchestras. This juxtaposition of power chords with operatic vocals became standard fare in this genre, leading to bands such as DragonForce becoming famed for their masterfully balanced blend.