Hello everyone and welcome to Week 2 of Heavy Debriefings’ Top 150 Albums of 2022. Today we enter part 6 50-41. You read that right, 10 albums a day from now till Friday. You’ll be done in half the time and I’ll probably be spending double the time getting the order that I feel most comfortable with for, let’s face it, the week most people will start paying attention.Of course I write this list for the 5-10% who truly get that I’m not just listing everything I heard this year or ranking from worst to best, but showing off what I feel are the 150 best albums of 2022 in heavy music. All that said, let’s get into the rules before we get into this segment of the list proper.
1.) This is a 10-part List running from November 28th to December 9th. The first week is Albums 150-51. 20 Albums a day in countdown order. The 2nd week is the Top 50 with 10 albums a day counting down all the way to number 1.
2.) There are no EPs, Live Albums, Remake Albums, Cover Albums, or Rarity Albums. It is a list of all brand-new studio albums released in 2022.
3.) The order of each entry is as follows: Band Name, Album Title, FFO (For Fans Of) Section, Paragraph or less description of said album.
4.) The list takes into account albums that are released between January 1st, 2022, and December 9th, 2022. Yes, the last few weeks of the year are not included and there is no reason you should be releasing music in that time frame if you want people to check out your album in a calendar year. That's on you.
5.) This list is mine and mine alone. I was not paid or asked to put any album on this list.
6.) As it is impossible to add every single heavy album in a single year, I can only add what I've heard and enjoyed. If an album is not on here that you feel should have been it is because either A.) I didn't hear it, B.) I didn't hear it enough, or C.) It wasn't my bag...baby.
7.) This is a list of my TOP 150 albums of 2022. Not just 150 albums I heard this year. I heard much more than that and narrowed things down to the ones that I want to showcase. Your favorite album or discovery from this list could be at 1, 23, 78, 104, or 150. You don't know unless you check the whole list and check out anything that may appeal to you. I'm just the messenger giving you good music and my own thoughts, but I really do enjoy every single album listed and recommend you check these out at your own discretion.
8.) Enjoy the ride, make some new discoveries, and check out some new music. If between all 150 albums listed you can't find one that you enjoy, you're reading the wrong list.
And now let's get into the Top 50
50.) Celeste- Assassine(s)
FFO- Black Metal, Blackgaze
One of the first albums I heard in 2022 and it’s still in my top 50. That’s true staying power. The 6th album from this Frace based black metal band continues being able to show their diversity of the genre by still having the core black metal sound, but expanding on its range of heavy post metal, sludge, hardcore and above all, blackgaze moments thrown in at all the right times. The production is some of the slickest you’ll find in the genre which makes the music truly stand out. It’s a very dark album, but of course, that comes with the territory. I’ve seen a lot of people praise this album, and for good reason, it truly is a standout album in the black metal genre and I’m glad to see, especially with the backing of Nuclear Blast, they are finally getting the audience they deserve.
49.) An Abstract Illusion- Woe
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Atmospheric Death Metal
If Opeth started in 2016, this is how I imagine they would sound. Outside of the Opeth nods that help make the music feel nice and diverse, the sophomore album from this band is a true turning point for the band where they are not only letting their influences wave freely, but they are also finding out who they are and creating their own sound along with it. The vocals are simply brutal, the production has that nice clean but raw feeling and the songwriting, while out of the ordinary for some, makes more sense the more you listen to the album. This is a true innovation for the sound of progressive death metal and I love to see it. I can feel it in my bones that their next album will be a sheer masterpiece of epic proportions, but until then; this is a jaw dropping album that will make you smile as much as it will tear your soul apart. And aren’t those the best kinds of albums?
48.) Wilderun- Epigone
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Symphonic Metal, Folk Metal
Another band that has an affinity for Opeth. BUT! This American band truly does something different. Combining symphonic elements Americana and folk guitars that would not be out of place on an indie rock album, and some of the most brutal by proxy moments you’ll hear on a progressive death metal album this year. The band has taken everything they have learned over the years and upped the ante to it’s polar extremes. The folky moments sound so happy and delightful and the opposite end obliterates your senses, especially on that first listen when you don’t expect it. Wilderun has only gotten better with time and this is a sheer masterwork. I simply can’t wait to see what’s next for what I would easily call this North American Progressive Folk Metal band.
47.) Queensryche- Digital Noise Alliance
FFO- Progressive Metal
Raise your hand if you thought that Queensryche would be releasing their best album since Empire in 2022. No one? Really? Well, you are not wrong for feeling that way. While I love the Todd La Torre era of Queensryche and the albums so far have been fantastic to listen to, it took Digital Noise Alliance to realize that the band is capable of some of their best work ever in 2022. I was looking forward to this album, but it wasn’t a high priority, after one full listen; I realize what a fool I was. This is the best Queensryche in over 30 years and is easily in the top 3 albums of their career. Every song feels like a modernized version of their classic sound, but done with so much originality that this feels like it recons everything from Promised Land onward. Yeah I said it! Seriously, if they only did this new album live for this cycle, I wouldn’t be disappointed in the slightest. This is a new high water mark for the band and I can only hope they maintain this level till the end.
46.) Threads of Fate- The Cold Embrace of the Light
FFO- Symphonic Metal, Gothic Metal
The debut album from this all star lineup is simply fantastic. I have been looking forward to this release for years and I am so happy that its out there for the world to hear. No matter your style of dark music from Evergrey to Serenity to Cradle of Filth; there is a song on here for you. Of course it doesn’t hurt having Vikram Shankar’s extraordinary orchestration layered all over this album to give already fantastic songs to their greatest levels. Along with that vocalist Jon Pyres can hit any register needed for the music clean or screamed and it just helps make the music even more memorable. I can tell this band is like fine wine and will only get better with age. Put this one if you are feeling especially vampiric and it will heighten all your senses.
45.) Michael Romeo- War of the Worlds Pt. 2
FFO- Progressive Metal
I say this with absolutely no shade being thrown. This is the best album Romeo has played on since Symphony X’s Paradise Lost. It has some of the hookiest riffs and choruses you will hear all year in heavy music. Dino Jelusick’s vocals make this album unskippable. It’s some of the best rock/metal vocals you’ll hear this year, without question. And the album just simply sounds inspired. This is making me hope that the new SX album will be their best yet, because that fire is not dead yet and listening to this album, I feel like it’s only been rejuvenated. Seriously, if you are a fan of hard rock, shred guitar, progressive metal, anything heavy; give this album a shot, it will have something for you.
44.) Imperial Triumphant- Spirit of Ecstasy
FFO- Blackened Death Jazz Metal, Avant Garde
This is probably the most experimental album that makes my top 50, but it is easily because it is one of the best albums of the year. It’s not an easy listen, it’s honestly rough and even irritating and agitating if you don’t like extreme blackened death jazz music or avant garde or experimental music; but if you really are the kind of person who says “I listen to everything”, well, let’s see how true that statement is by giving this one a shot, shall we? And seriously, after the barrier is broken and you can appreciate everything that is going on here, you will see the diversity, the layers, the songwriting achievements going on here and really understand that they are not just making random noise, they really are pushing the boundaries of what extreme music can be. Plus, where else are you going to hear Kenny G and his son Max Gorelick trading solos together in extreme music? You’re not going to. This is not for the faint of heart, but it’s worth every second once you let it do it’s magic.
43.) The Offering- Seeing The Elephant
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
While not nearly as extreme as their debut album, it does not let up on the vocal and musical punishment when it gets heavy and the diversity of the debut is still in tact. The band explores more somber and mellow moments that makes the music feel so much more bombastic and gives an even deeper and richer listening experience. The vocals on this album are insane in it’s range, the songwriting is top notch and really hits home, and the production has that great balanced feel, so when it goes from one extreme to another, everything feels like it’s meant to be sonically. The Offering is another band that is not afraid to push the boundaries of what metal can be and for that, they are high up on my list and I can’t wait to see that The Offering’s next….umm...offering will bring us all.
42.) Einvigi- Yö Kulje Kanssani
FFO- Blackgaze, Folk Metal
This band was sold to me as if black metal had The Cranberries 90s production and yeah; that hits the nail on the head. It has that 90s alternative rock production in a black metal aesthetic and mixed in folk and blackgaze to make things extra flavorful. The music is as soothing and beautiful as it is filled with black metal. Those that love bands like Alcest, Sylvaine, and any of the great blackgaze bands out there should check this one out immediately. Even if you don’t speak Finnish, the vocals are so beautiful, you’ll hear them as another instrument instead of needing to know what the words mean. And sometimes, that can be even better. A sheer highlight of an album you need to experience.
41.) Moon Tooth- Phototroph
FFO- Progressive Metal, Hard Rock
Moon Tooth is either one of the proggiest hard rock bands going today or they are the most hard rockin’ prog band out there; either way, it’s a recipe that is utter perfection. The band’s 3rd album is easily their best work. The songs are so catchy and memorable you’ll be humming the vocal melodies for days. The songwriting can turn on a dime yet feel like in a better timeline, this would be on top 40 rock radio every day. Ive heard some say the vocals are not for them, but for me, they fit perfectly in the mix of this beautiful catchy chaos. So proceed with caution if that’s your sticking point. All I will say is Moon Tooth needs to be shot to the…..moon…. With their popularity and should be one of the biggest rock bands going today. I hope that will happen in time.
And there you go folks, I feel like I just got started with this segment and it’s already over. But hey, that doesn’t mean there’s not more to come. Come back tomorrow for Heavy Debriefings’ Top 150 Albums of 2022 Part VII 40-31. Till Then, this is Josh Rundquist saying See Ya!
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)