Hello Everyone! Now it is time to showcase the entire list in case you don’t want to go through 10 different pages to find the one album you were looking for but couldn’t remember what number or day it was on. So Simply put, I’ll put the rules of list, then go from 150 to 1 in complete countdown order. It’s a long one. Enjoy!
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.
Now...enjoy the full fruits of my labor
150.) Battle Beast- Circus of Doom
FFO- Power Metal, Pop Metal, Heavy Metal ABBA
Battle Beast's brand new album is their best work to date and it came from one main distinction, they decided to get heavier and catchier. Adding the right amount of flair to their already bombastic sound to create a sense of wonder that is like a heavier take on ABBA, the band has found their niche and it truly makes the album and the band stand out. Every song is filled with hooks and choruses you'll remember for days after you hear them. If you want just a fun album of thrills, chills, and at least from what I can tell, no spills; this is the album for you.
149.) Famyne- II: The Ground Below
FFO- Doom Metal, Classic Doom Metal
The sophomore outing from this UK outfit shows the band progressing further into their sound with production that's even punchier, songwriting that hits even harder, and fantastic musicianship filled to the brim of the barrel. While very much a clean vocal doom metal album, you can hear tinges of other bands and genres throughout that help the songs stand out even more. For example, the trace amount of Opeth vibes over top of some Candlemass riffs just makes this album such a great listen. Those that want some epic doom metal without venturing into the death doom or funeral doom territories should look no further than this outstanding album.
148.) Belphegor- The Devils
FFO- Blackened Death Metal
Belphegor has returned after 5 years with some of their strongest material in years. This is definitely the kind of album where you realize that it's not about reinventing the wheel, but refining it so it's the smoothest and most functional wheel you can make. Everything you've loved about the band in the past is on showcase here but just updated enough with what may be the band's best production ever. Every song has a great range of dynamics, whether it goes full speed ahead or gets close to entering the death-doom territory. Simply put, this is one of the finest examples of classic blackened death metal you will find this year, if you missed out on it, go back and check this out.
147.) Stratovarius- Survive
FFO- Power Metal, Melodic Metal
Stratovarius, after 7 years and now 16 albums proves that they are more than worthy of all the praise, love, and artists they have inspired over the years. The album shows a bit of a return to form for the modern era of the band. The songs are catchy and heavy with the right amount of double kicks, over-the-top vocals, and jaw-dropping keys when needed. If you love your power metal straight ahead into a world beyond, Stratovarius is one of the best examples of a band that can maintain their core sound over decades together and never loses steam. A great choice for a power metal album this year.
146.) Venom Prison- Erebos
FFO- Death metal, Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
The 4th album from this insanely aggressive and brutal band shows the band at what may be their most angry and yet its most cohesive. The band has spread its wings from album to album and this album explores the most with genre-bending into more melodic and core elements and even more clean vocals, but when you listen to the lyrics, their intensity and hatred have not let up whatsoever. It's an extreme take on musicianship and a perfect landscape that we are a part of in 2022. This is the album for you if you need to release all of your aggression in one of the most cathartic of ways.
145.) Dragonland- The Power of the Nightstar
FFO- Melodic Power Metal
If I had more time with this album, it would have been much higher up on this list, but I'm so glad it still ended up here. After 11 years of waiting and somehow being able to see them twice at ProgPower USA 2016 after thinking I would never see them live; Dragonland arises from the ashes and put out an outstanding display of melodic power metal that is equal parts fun and cheesy and done with profound efficiency and prowess. Dragonland is the kind of band that just puts a smile on your face as you listen to them. If you can't have fun with this, I don't think you and I would like the same kind of party. It is so great to see the band back after so long picking up right where they left off and it is truly for the best.
144.) Nite- Voices from the Kronian Moon
FFO- Hard Rock, Black Metal
A unique blend of black 'n roll where it focuses much more on rock and roll with just a tinge or two of the evil black metal goodness in its aesthetics. It's like mixing up KISS, Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, and Tribulation. It sounds odd on paper but sounds like perfection in execution. The sophomore album shows the band expanding its diversity while maintaining the core sound they began with to create their strongest material so far and with this only being their 2nd album, it's only going to get better from here. If you want a starter black metal album if you are a classic hard rock fan, or if you want an evil album that sounds like it could be on top 40 radio in a different timeline, Nite is a band you need to check out immediately. This hits every checkpoint it was trying to achieve and then some.
143.) Municipal Waste- Electrified Brain
FFO- Crossover Thrash
There's not really much to add about Municipal Waste that isn't already out there. They are crossover thrash done right. Every album is fun and makes you want to chug your drink of choice, eat pizza, and party. Electrified Brain is another chapter of that philosophy with no real left-of-center changes nor does it need to be. As mentioned, it's crossover thrash done right and that's all they ever need to be.
142.) Allegaeon- Damnum
FFO- Progressive Death Metal
The latest album from Allegaeon is a masterpiece of the technical/progressive death metal realms. It's unfortunate that a lineup change also came after the release of this album, and when you listen to it you can almost sense it, but it definitely sounds like a purge album if there ever was one. The anger on this album is fierce, the musical proficiency is in peak form and you can hear the band showing their love of prog just a tad bit more. While it seems like the Allegaeon ship might be righted now, it leads me to think their next album is not only a new chapter of the band but what could lead to their best album to date. This album, I dare say, is the angry calm before the storm of all storms. Buckle in now and enjoy the destructive ride.
141.) Needless- The Cosmic Cauldron
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Technical Death Metal
I simply can't believe this is a sophomore album. This is the kind of album where bands in their similar genres will strive years upon years and album after album to try to make and fail at it. This is a true force to be reckoned with. Whether you are looking for some jaw-dropping musicianship, genre-bending on the turn of a dime, or some of the best-arranged technical and progressive death metal of the 2020s, you need to check this album out and enjoy every second recorded. It's a complete whirlwind, but it's more than worth the trip.
140.) GWAR- The New Dark Ages
FFO- Heavy Metal, Punk Rock
What an aptly named title for the world we currently live in isn't it? GWAR continues its new chapter with Blothar at the helm and creates a fun, chaotic, funny, and horror-filled GWAR classic. This time around it feels more raw and aggressive with more of a punk rock heart than a metal heart and it works in its favor. And any new reason for GWAR to be able to present a new stage show and give us fun blood and other liquid-spewed-filled night is always good in my book. This thing is a raging good time/
139.) No Point in Living- The Road to Death
FFO- Depressive Suicidal Black Metal, Progressive Black Metal
I could have easily gone with any of the 6..that's right SIX albums that No Point in Living has churned out this year, but I went with the one that I heard first. This one-man band is a recording machine with making music not only at laser speed, but all done with improving quality, thought-provoking lyrics, and outstanding songwriting. Whether you want something more ambient, more progressive, or more raw black metal, there's bound to be at least one No Point in Living album for you. The Road To Death feels like a great center-point to the discography so far where it is raw but listenable, proggy, but still straightforward, and overall...very depressing. Give this album a shot, or really give any of the albums a shot. Apparently, there is 68 No Point in Living releases to date on Bandcamp since 2017, so you'll have no shortage of music from this project if you want it.
138.) Autumn's Grief- Dead by the Dawn
FFO- Symphonic Metal, Melodic Metal
As of the writing of this list, the album is still yet to be released and is coming out December 9th (hence, my cutoff point mentioned in the rules earlier). The sophomore album from this Finnish Symphonic powerhouse hits all the sticking points of a great modern symphonic metal band. It's dark, it's epic, it's symphonically driven, and most importantly, it has staying power. The songs are so catchy and memorable. The fact it's their second album and their debut album came out last year really says a lot about the power of this band and how much their cache will skyrocket in years to come. Climb aboard this grief-stricken ride while it's still at the station before they become the top name of the genre they are sure to be.
137.) Misaligned- Colours
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Modern Metal
Finnish melodeath always has a way of ending up on my lists and for good reason. Per capita, no one does melodeath better than the Finns. This debut album has the perfect blend of classic melodeath and enough modern metal tinges to make the band sound unique amongst their peers with super catchy hooks and melodies, headbanging moments, and a super fun atmosphere that is missing in a lot of melodeath these days. All that said, this is a mind-blowing debut album that you need to check out if you are a melodeath fan, I can't imagine you'll be disappointed.
136.) Lawnmower Deth- Blunt Cutters
FFO- Crossover Thrash
The band's 4th album and first since 1994 is a fun-filled, fast, heavy, funny, and thought-provoking affair. In short, it picks up right where the band left off 28 years ago and it feels like they haven't skipped a beat. If you want a UK taste of crossover thrash, almost as a counterpart to something like Municipal Waste (who of course came much later), then you will be in a treat with Lawnmower Deth.
135.) Tragedy of Mine- Aeon
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
The sophomore album from this German group focuses even more on the groundwork laid out on their 2018 debut. The catchy choruses are even bigger, the songwriting is even stronger, and the atmosphere is even darker. The technical and creative control of this album is simply stunning and with more people discovering this album, they more they will be floored by what this band has to offer. Great things are sure to come with Tragedy of Mine and you should be checking them out as soon as you possibly can if you are a melodeath or metalcore fan. This band hits both albums in strides.
134.) Moonlight Haze- Animus
FFO- Symphonic Power Metal
Moonlight Haze is some outstanding Italian symphonic power metal that now with 3 albums under their belt, is showing the band has true staying power and is not afraid to showcase all the tricks of their ever-growing trade. Excellent songwriting and musicianship are on display with so many catchy and even the occasional scream to throw off your false sense of security. A truly standout symphonic power metal album from 2022.
133.) Zero Hour- Agenda 21
FFO- Progressive Metal
It appears that Zero Hour is back and quite possibly stronger than ever. With their first album since 2008; the band showcases their aggressive sides and proggy sides to perfection. With a new lineup including members of Powerwolf, Seventh Wonder, and Cynthesis; the band is filled with a new fire, but at the same time, a love for what the band has accomplished so far. I am so happy this band is back as we needed this jaw-dropping prog sensibility back into our ears. Check out this classic throwback, yet modernized piece of prog wonder.
132.) Trauma Field- From Wounded Soil
FFO- Death Doom, Melodic Doom Metal
Get used to seeing the genre death doom thrown out in this list a lot in the coming days, because there is a lot of it, and it starts off here with Trauma Field. Finnish death doom on their 3rd album and first album since 2016. the songs are filled with that signature death-doom style, but this is different enough. It adds just the right amount of haunting riffs on top of very melancholic and above all, melodic melodies that make Trauma Field a name you remember in the field of the darkness. The songs don't outstay their welcome and the album has that instant replay value. A sheer dark delight of an album that I hope more people will check out because of this list.
131. Ghost- Impera
FFO- Occult Rock, Heavy Metal, Progressive Rock
Yes Yes, everyone has their thoughts on Ghost and any band that start to become as popular as Ghost does is sure to get its detractors and haters attached to it the more popular they become, the louder those squeaky wheels become to tear down something others enjoy. All of that said, of all 5 albums released so far, this probably is in last place for me; but that is in no way saying this is a bad album. In fact, I dare say it's their most daring and adventurous album to date. Impera brings back some of the metal the band has lost and found again over the years, but rather than keeping what has been a very 70s vibe; the band is entering the 80s and even a little bit of 90s flavorings into their sound. Adding influences from Rush Queen and even in the most polarizing song of their career, Twenties, it has a Faith No More meets Danny Elfman vibe that you will either love or hate...or think is ok. Impera is filled with arena rock hits to fill their now arena-sized audiences and that is quite alright. So they will never write another Opus Eponymous, they don't need to, they are doing just fine doing what they do best, making occult rock fun again and pissing everyone else off who doesn't like it. Ghost, please don't ever change.
130.) Vimur- Transcendental Violence
FFO- Genre Bending Black Metal
The album title is very apt for this recording. It really does feel transcendental and violent. Moments of beauty and soaring through different forms of life amongst the pure black metal rage shown throughout is quite a daunting task to be able to pull off, but the band has done it seamlessly. Beauty and chaos coexist and Vimur has portrayed it here to their best ability between the cascading songwriting, hard-hitting lyrics, and that sense of yin and yang exploding at the same time. Definitely an album worth experiencing at least once to see if it is something you would enjoy.
129.) Remains of Destruction- New Dawn
FFO- Heavy Power Metal, Modern Metal
The debut album from this Finnish powerhouse combines some of the heaviest aspects of power metal and mixes it through a modern filter with just the right amount of keys and sound effects to give a great-sounding power metal album into a fantastic modern power metal album. You can tell the band is about to burst into what they are capable of and the dynamics and creativity are only going to grow from here on out. Check this out now and see where the musical landscape will take them in the future.
128.) Lorna Shore- Pain Remains
FFO- Progressive Symphonic Deathcore
As I mentioned in last month's Top 10 of October 2022 list; this is not the same run-of-the-mill deathcore band I saw opening for Deicide in 2015; this is a band that has grown so much over the years and has rightfully taken the new spotlight of deathcore and rearranged it just enough to make it their own. By combining symphonic and progressive elements that more than outweigh the deathcore elements in other aspects, the band has become its own entity. While the vocals are so varied that they will either be everything you love or everything you hate; the band in its 2022 formation is easily worth checking out. If they can take someone like me who couldn't care less about what they were doing and made me become floored with what they are capable of; they just might do the same for you.
127.) Without Waves- Comedian
FFO- Experimental Progressive Metal
Chicago's Without Waves is a band that is not afraid to let the freak flag wave proudly. From going to absolute extremes to the absolute mainstream extremes on the same album, all with a strange, eerie feeling like you are in a horror fun house, really give this album a unique style that is all their own. Add on top of that the stunning musicianship and songwriting on display and crystal clear production and you have an album that will make any fans of Devin Townsend to Mr. Bungle happy. A shockingly fun album from start to finish.
126.) My Useless Life- Bittersweet Agony
FFO- Depressive Suicidal Black Metal
The 4th album from this California duo is their most sincere and cathartic album to date. With a raw, but captivating production style, just the right amount of atmospheric and post-black metal elements, realistic lyrics, and tones that can tear your soul apart, Bittersweet Agony is the kind of album for those that are struggling mentally but just need to hear that others are struggling as well to feel less alone. The songs, while sorrowful also, almost, give a unique sense of optimism behind them much like the album title hints at. Life is hell, but it can still have reasons to keep going. One of the best pure depressive suicidal black metal albums of the year, hands down.
125.) Destruction- Diabolical
FFO- Thrash Metal
If you are already familiar with these German thrash maniacs, then this album should be no shock to you. For everyone else, this is a blazing take on thrash in 2022 with just the right amount of dynamics and perseverance to make this an album worth experiencing for any thrash fiend. No reinventing the wheel here, just pure, unrelenting thrash, and sometimes that is all you need.
124.) Krilloan- Emperor Rising
FFO- Power Metal
For anyone who has missed the golden age of power metal, the days of the falsettos, constant double bass, blazing guitar and bass, and songs that are always memorable and super catchy; the debut album from Krilloan is the album you need to experience before the end of 2022. As I just described, everyone in this band is on fire and shows off their chops to the best of their abilities. Every song is distinct and full of wonder and brings you back to the days of power metal that you know and love. As of the writing of this placement, the album comes out December 9th, so go make sure to check it out when it comes out next week, it's more than worth it.
123.) Alter Bridge- Pawns & Kings
FFO- Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
Alter Bridge is one of those bands that are gigantic everywhere but the USA, which is so odd considering they are from the good ol' USA. Not to say they can't sell out venues here, but like in Europe, they are an arena/stadium band. The songs on Pawns & Kings are definitely written in a way that will satisfy the most save beast looking for metal tones, but also want to wrap their arm around their partner(s) and simply sway along. It's simultaneously their heaviest and one of their most commercial-sounding albums to date. It's a sound of the times and it matches the atmosphere perfectly. If you want a heavy and catchy look at the heaviest parts of mainstream radio, Alter Bridge is a band you should stop ignoring and give a proper chance. No preconceived notions, just dive in.
122.) Septicflesh- Modern Primitive
FFO- Symphonic Death Metal, Atmospheric Death Metal
After the last several years and the low water mark that was 2020. it's no wonder why so many bands took their time and wrote such aggressively heavy and thought-provoking albums to come out of the pandemic. Septicflesh with Modern Primitive is another band that took a look at the modern landscape of the world and has shown how we have progressed and regressed as a society at the same time. Match that with sheer passionate brutality and high dynamics and you get an album that feels like a whole dystopian film soundtrack rather than just a collection of great songs. It's not a cheesy album, but it's a realistic one. Check it out and see if you agree.
121.) In Loving Memory- The Withering
FFO- Death Doom, Melodic Doom
Ah yes, more melodic death-doom is incoming; probably my most listened-to genre this year. In Loving Memory was a huge reason why I got into the mood this year, besides the state of the world. Discovering this album back in January thanks to Cary over at the Metal Geeks Podcast and MSRcast; the 3rd album from this Spanish collective has the right amount of sorrow, beauty, and tragedy rolled into one. You sing your sorrows in the most haunting and wistful of ways. This album is not for the faint of heart, but it is for those that need those cathartic and even dreadful thoughts to be heard in audio form. A tragic delight.
120.) Culak- Holy Tempest
FFO- Post Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal, Doom Metal
Culak is an odd entity. A one-man band that sounds like a full orchestra at the same time. With his 13th album, he really takes advantage of the orchestral part as this album is swaying with emotions in its primarily black metal aesthetic, but just the right amount of doomy moments and the orchestral seasoning to make this an album that is both raw, and complete. If you let it sink in, it will take over you and you may even shed a tear. I know I came very close to crying on my first listen. A hard-hitting and beautiful piece of black metal.
119.) Earthrise- Until We Rest in the Winter Way
FFO- Post Metal, Doom Metal, Sludge Metal
It took a decade, but the Twin Cities-based Earthrise finally released their sophomore album and it lived up to the hype I made in my own mind for the duration. It's heavier, it's dreamier, and it captures the darkness and the light in its own significant way. The band has become even more bombastic, thanks to its production style on display which really helps the dynamics flourish and the atmosphere wash over you. If you are big into bands like Neurosis, Cult of Luna, and Bison B.C.; you will find something to love and appreciate with Earthrise.
118.) Conan- Evidence of Immortality
FFO- Doom Metal, Sludge Metal
Another heavy as-hell album, but this time from the UK, Conan's 5th LP is not just what may be their most dynamic and bombastic display of sludgy doom metal, but it is also their most thought-provoking as it does tackle the war still currently going on between Russia and Ukraine and the lyrics were penned as it was starting. Perfect creativity is terrible for the further downfall of humanity. But all of that said, this is easily the best Conan album to date if you just want the heaviest possible sounds you can get in 2022. Simply look no further, it's here in full display with its full arsenal.
117.) Cyborg Octopus- Between The Light and Air
FFO- Experimental Progressive Metal
6 years after their debut album, with a fresh new look at the world, Cyborg Octopus has returned to the surface with their sophomore album and it is a sight to truly believe. An experimental piece of progressive metal for anyone that wants a cohesive hodgepodge of mathcore, prog, jazz, 8bit, and more into their gumbo of musical delights. With a realistic look at the world and a soundtrack to accurately capture it, Cyborg Octopus makes no apologies for their musical style, thoughts or destruction they leave in their path. It's the definition of genre-bending and it's done in all the right ways. If you are feeling adventurous or just a tad bit saucy; dive down into the deep and check this album out. You may not escape, but it's more than worth the plunge.
116.) Deep Memories- Why Do We Suffer?
FFO- Melodic Death Doom Metal
Why Do We Suffer? An excellent question posed on the sophomore album from this Brazilian one-man band, that tackles the heartaches and possible ways we all suffer or will die on these pieces of recordings. It's one of the more raw melodic death doom albums of the year, but that adds to the sense of mournful dread you will experience throughout this album. It hits very hard the more you listen to the lyrics and the music matches those somber tones to perfection. It's not an easy listen if you are feeling joyful, but if you are feeling sad or worse, this could be an album you need right now. I know it helped me tremendously.
115.) Destrage- SO MUCH. too much.
FFO- Experimental Progressive Metalcore
It's hard to add more than I already did in my Top 10 of October 2022 list, but, I will try. The 6th album from this Italian experimental outfit is both a wacky sense of adventure that you will never expect, but also one of their most commercial-sounding and openly inviting albums to date. Both being completely on the edge of insanity and cohesive really gives everything a split personality feel that makes more and more sense the more you listen to it. And they do the most unique take on STP's Vaseline that you will ever hear. A sight for sore ears for those that want an album that is truly daring in 2022.
114.) Die Apokalyptischen Reiter- Wilde Kinder
FFO- German Metal
I can't give a better FFO description than that. Every album from this band has such a great unique sound to it, but over the last couple of albums, they really decided to throw everything into the blend and play what they want. That is what you get on this album. On one track you will get a dark black metal piece, you will get a power metal affair, you will get an arena metal anthem, and so much more that you will just have to experience to comprehend. The band has truly become that unification of metal. Not afraid to play any style as long as they want to write it, record it, and play it. With that attitude, it makes for some of their best work ever. Check it out and see if the variety of metal is right for you.
113.) Veonity- Elements of Power
FFO- Power Metal
Sweden's Veonity may have made the most powerful album of all power metal albums released in 2022. This has everything you want whether you are an old-school die-hard or love the modern take on power metal; it's here in full display. It has it all and it simply doesn't get much more majestic than this. It's an album that is sure to put a smile on your face on many occasions and when it comes to music, don't you want to be able to enjoy it? You get that and so much more with Elements of Power. A sheer power metal classic in the making.
112.) Troglodyte- The Hierarchical Ecological Succession: Welcome to the Food Chain
FFO- Death Metal, Goregrind
Death metal about bigfoot. That's all you need to know about this Kansas entity. With now 4 albums over 11 years, the band has made this silly, yet brutal band something to truly behold. This album in particular picks you up, and viciously tears you apart, but you still get a great laugh before you are slaughtered. Isn't that how we all wish we could go? If you want your death metal with a smile, this is the band you need in your life.
111.) The Flower Kings- By Royal Decree
FFO- Progressive Rock
This is sadly an album that just got lost on me this year and had I had more listens to it, it would have ranked much higher. Another double disc release from this long-running Swedish prog super-entity. It's whimsical, it's majestic, it's quirky, and delightful; just as The Flower Kings should be. If you've never heard the b and before, it's the perfect throwback to the 60s and 70s throwback prog sound with 80s and 90s flair, but now done in 2022 and more modernized. By Royal Decree is not the heaviest release from the band it won't make you feel depressed; nor should it. It's a fantastic display of musical craftsmanship by one of the best bands in the business showing how classic prog is done and does it right. You really can't ask for anything more.
110.) Eternal Candle- Lava
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Progressive Doom Metal
This a late entry into this list, but it deserves proper attention. This Iranian progressive death metal band truly knows how to write from the heart, and that heart is dealing with a lot of dark emotions. When you first think of Iran, you don't normally think of many metal bands, but this is a fantastic example that good music can come from anywhere. The production is profound, the songwriting is stellar and the lyrics are dark, heartbreaking, and reaching for peace both in mind and around the world. I highly recommend checking this one out for anyone of the Opeth, Katatonia, and mid-era Anathema varieties. There is so much to love here.
109.) Abduction- Black Blood
FFO- Black Metal
The first album from this UK outfit embraces the idea that these songs should be played live in a full lineup. The ante of this band has been propelled and with it comes a progression and fire in the songwriting that was a great change for the better. No matter your style of black metal, there is something here for you, from raw to atmospheric to post to just straight-up black metal; it's all on display and captures a real timepiece of where this entity is in 2022 and maybe hinting at what is to come.
108.) ORM- Intet/Altet
FFO- Epic Melodic Black Metal
This album is not for the faint of heart. Over an hour and a half long, 4 songs total, and all of the dark, evil, heavy, and wicked black metal with a variety of other influences you can candle. It may be a lot to get through but the journey is more than rewarding. If you are a fan of the first 3-4 Opeth albums then this is DEFINITELY a band that you need to listen to and become obsessed with as it hits hard with Opeth vibes but comes out the other side showing they are their own creation. They really are a new standard bearer for the term epic as these songs are quite long. The shortest comes in at 19 minutes and 23 seconds and the longest comes in at 24 minutes and 38 seconds. Give it the time it deserves and enjoy this colossal album.
107.) Semblant- Vermilion Eclipse
FFO- Extreme Symphonic Metal
4 albums in and Semblant has only grown stronger and stronger. The band is firing on all cylinders and all of the extremes of this Brazilian sextet are spread as far as the eye can see. While the songs continue to get catchier, they also can get more brutal, more symphonic, more proggy, and more deadly and that's why they deserve all of the love they can get. This album hits hard and it is awesome to see not only the quality of the band growing but also the audience. Especially if you've never heard of them before, give Semblant a shot as you are missing out on one hell of a great band.
106.) Elegeion- Plight of the Heretic
FFO- Doom Metal, Black Metal, Atmospheric Gothic Metal
After a 17-year break between albums, Elegeion has been recreated with a new lineup and has easily created their best album to date. Whether you are looking for something that is more along the lines of tribal percussion, merciless doom vibes, soothing yet haunting vocals, or just spectacular songwriting, Plight of the Heretic has it all in spades. I hope with this review and others catching onto this, more people will check this band out as they are back and they are back with a vengeance. Sensational and inspiring music.
105.) Bastard- Rotten Blood
FFO- Black n Roll, Thrash Metal
Bastard's sophomore album is exactly the right album at the right time. No frills, just solid black metal-inspired rock, and roll that's as evil as it is heavy and toe-tapping. Just completely solid from start to finish and lasts as long as it needs to be. I can't sell it much better than that. Check it out if you haven't heard enough of this style in 2022.
104.) Trick or Treat- Creepy Symphony
FFO- Power Metal
Power metal is meant to be fun, whether you are fighting dragons, going to war, dealing with personal struggles, or writing the new soundtrack to an unmade Nightmare Before Christmas sequel. Trick or Treat put out the most fun power metal album of 2022. Whether you just want to smile or even laugh at the silliness and cheese on display; you can't deny the songwriting, production, and talent that was made to create this album. Yes, there is more power metal on this list that is higher up on the list, but no other power metal album makes me smile as much as this one does. It's an album that you just may need, go check it out!
103.) Goatwhore- Angels Hung from the Arches of Heaven
FFO- Blackened Death Metal, Thrash Metal
Goatwhore has never needed to change their sound, they found it and on every album, they find a way to perfect it even further. This is another example of that. It is simply just a stellar display of blackened death metal and black and roll with the right amount of thrash to create a circle pit at any moment. If you are a longtime fan, you know what to expect here, if you are brand new to the band or have been turned off by the name…stop it and give this album a proper chance. You've been missing out for a long...long time.
102.) Depressed Mode- Decade of Silence
FFO- Symphonic Doom Metal, Death Metal
Not just a great album title; it also explains the decade break the band took until they came back in 2020 and released this mammoth display of melodic and symphonic death doom with Decade of Silence. The songs are haunting and devastating, the vocals are filled with pure pain, and the whole atmosphere gives that death doom you love, with the right amount of symphonic and other elements to make the album truly stand out. It's a dead-cold album, but I wouldn't want Depressed Mode any other way. This is how you add some dynamics to a genre made from pain and sorrow.
101.) Hath- All That Was Promised
FFO- Progressive Blackened Death Metal
The Sophomore release from this east coast stronghold takes what they accomplished on their debut album and cranked up everything to its full potential. The genre-bending is mindblowing and hits you so hard when you don't expect it. While the songs are still cohesive, I love the fact that it takes so much into account for creating the music they want to make and are not afraid of letting their influences and love of other genres run free. This takes genre-bending in extreme metal to a whole new level.
100.) Cult of Luna- The Long Road North
FFO- Atmospheric Metal, Sludge Metal, Post Metal
Cult of Luna has slowly but surely been evolving its sound over the last several years and you really start to hear the fruits of their labor here with The Long Road North. While you can still hear the doom, sludge, and post-metal elements strongly; you hear more than anything the love of more atmospheric moments eerily close to blackgaze, but still on the outskirts of it. The songs feel even stronger than before and filled with a new life. Cult of Luna is in a new chapter of its career and if this is what it looks like now, I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us all.
99.) Undeath- It's Time...to Rise from the Grave
FFO- Old School Death Metal
Undeath has taken the world by storm with this release. So much so, they were the number 1 album of Decibel's Top 40 Albums of 2022. They are more than deserving of the title as created a death metal album that the old school death metal fans from Cannibal Corpse to Entombed can love, but just modernized enough for the new era of metalheads that are discovering death metal for the first time that loved other genres that are giving a band like this the time of day. It's no holds barred, when it gets brutal, it's very brutal and the production is just as raw as it needs to be to capture their influences. This deserves the love it gets. If you missed out, give it a shot now and see what you think. Especially those of you who think there is no good new music anymore.
98.) Clutch- Sunrise on Slaughter Beach
FFO- Clutch, Blues Rock, Hard Rock
I'll keep this one short and sweet as this is Clutch's shortest album to date at 33 minutes and 9 songs. It's the best Clutch in the modern day with all new material. If you love hard rock, it's here. If you love the bluesy aesthetic, it's here. If you just love Clutch, they have released their best album since Earth Rocker, and it's not even close. Simply fantastic work.
97.) Ereb Altor- Vargtimman
FFO- Viking Metal, Black Metal, Doom Metal
The 9th outing from this legendary band showcases the band at their most epic sounding. Doom, black metal, classic metal, Viking themes, and the love of Bathory are on full display here as tired and true as ever. It's what the band has needed to release and I'm so happy with the final product as this album hits all the territories that I love about the band and continues to give even more than that with other flavorings that make it stand out from the rest of the pack. I love it and you just may as well.
96.) Kvaen- The Great Below
FFO- Black Metal, Speed Metal, Technical Metal
Kvaen is the brainchild of Jacob Bjornfot and the sophomore album is taking the project to the farthest extremes it can possibly reach...so far. The songs are faster, the instrumentation is even stronger and more insane, and is filled with guest musicians to really help make this album even more preposterous. If you like black metal but find it too simple and redundant, you really need to give Kvaen a chance and see how wrong you really are. This is a pinnacle achievement in the genre and I can already tell the next album will be even more bonkers in the best way possible.
95.) Avatarium- Death, Where is Your Sting?
FFO- Doom Metal
Avatarium is now considered Swedish doom legends alongside the likes of Candlemass, and they deserve the notoriety. With their latest album, the band continues to expand their sound but maintain their core doom sound. While the band doesn't need to truly reinvent the wheel at this point, they still make every album have its own distinct sound and that's exactly what's shown off here. If you love the classic doom sound, but want it just different enough, give Avatarium and this album a spin and thank me later.
94.) Temple of Void- Summoning The Slayer
FFO- Death Doom Metal
Temple of Void is the perfect name for the band as every album to date makes you feel like you are lost in the sound and only falling as you enter. With Summoning The Slayer, the band continues to perfect their sound while expanding upon it adding new layers to their sound with more atmosphere and dread. I've seen so many people say this is the best death doom album of the year and they're not wrong for thinking so as this album is simply terrific. It's a grower of an album that on the first album you may even like, but the more you listen and let it sink in, the more it seeps into your soul and takes over and shows its true power. Don't believe me? Why not listen and find out for yourself. Go ahead, do it!
93.) Pensees Nocturnes- Douce Fange
FFO- Experimental, Avant Garde Metal
If their previous album was the soundtrack to a horrific carnival you can't escape from, this album is when the clowns of the carnival break loose and attack the visiting town. This album ends up even being more dynamic and absolutely insane than all of their previous work and has become somehow more attractive to the more sane listener, yet even more terrifying. Words simply can't do this album justice and any real attempt to explain it is futile. All I can say is if you want one of the most outrageously extreme displays of experimental and avant-garde music in 2022, you need to hear this album. It's as bonkers as it is absurd and that's what makes it so intriguing.
92.) Obsidious- Iconic
FFO- Modern Metal, Progressive Death Metal
When you start a band that is 75% ex-members of the previous incarnation of Obscura, you gotta do something that will help you set your own style and make the music that you want to make. So how did Obsidious decide to do this? By becoming more mainstream. Not too mainstream, it still has the technical and progressive death metal flavoring that you know these band members from. BUT! They decided to add much more clean vocals, more riffs you can bob your head along to, and an odd sense that they are truly writing the music that makes the most sense at this point in time. The final product ends in a modernized progressive death metal album that fits no matter if you love growls or not, insane fret-board work or not, or heavy music or not. A truly wonderful album that I don't see enough people talking about, so go on and check this out.
91.) Manic Sinners- King of the Badlands
FFO- Melodic Rock, Melodic Metal, AOR
Manic Sinners put out a debut album for the ages with King of the Badlands. No matter how heavy or mainstream you like your 70s, 80s, and early 90s, rock and metal; there is a song for you on this one. It's super catchy and written by fantastic musicians that really know how to get the older crowd and newer crowds of rock and metal together to create something magical. And this is just their first outing. That sophomore album I know will be even more refined and may become one of the most standout albums of that year. I can't wait to hear it, but until then, we got this and this is simply outstanding.
90.) Fallen Sanctuary- Terranova
FFO- Melodic Power Metal
It really is true that the more experience you have, the more likely it will sound like your first album with a band will sound like you've been doing it forever. That's exactly what's going on here with Fallen Sanctuary, I "supergroup" of power metal musicians who took what they are best at and decided to make their music as catchy and melodic as possible. It's almost a perfect starter album for someone new to power metal but wants something with modern production. Every song has hooks that just feel right and hit you in the best parts of your soul. Fallen Sanctuary proves that power metal is still in good hands in 2022 and so many years to come.
89.) Immolation- Acts of God
FFO- Death Metal
I can see a lot of people getting mad at me for having this so "low" on my list as this is one of the best death metal albums of not only 2022, but quite possibly the 21st century. And you are right for thinking so because it is that good. Perfect raw but clean production, superb songwriting, and some of the most intense and brutal riffs you'll hear from any death metal band still active. It's another reason why I wish people wouldn't look at this as "low" on my list and look at it as an album that is worthy of every single accolade it has and will receive. I can't say it enough, for straight up, no frills, brutal death metal, you can't get much better than Immolation, and to the dismay of some….No, I can't ruin things, just keep reading the list all the way through. But I can't say enough good about this Immolation released their best album to date. Bar none.
88.) Strigoi- Viscera
FFO- Death Metal, Crust Punk, Experimental
Strigoi has released their sophomore album and it takes everything that worked on their debut release and jacked it up tenfold. The songs are faster when they get fast, the songs get more brutal when they need to be more brutal, and little hints of experimentation throughout give this an album experience and not just some great songs and filler. Every track here is meant to be here and every song rules. There's not much I can add, if you want things fast, brutal, or both, you get it here with Strigoi.
87.) Sylvaine- Nova
FFO- Blackgaze, Atmospheric Black Metal, Post Rock
Easily the best Sylvaine album to date; Nova pushes the boundaries to its furthest reach to date. When it's soft, it's so hauntingly beautiful, when it gets into black metal territory, it feels like she is ripping your soul apart. It's no wonder this band keeps bringing people from across the world into their fold and gives you a dark experience you can only match with something like Alcest, but done in their own way instead. This will definitely hit all of the heartstrings in you to really make you feel something and the best music does that. Seriously, if this sounds interesting to you, go check it out.
86.) Ohth- None Shall Escape Death
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Melodic Black Metal
The sophomore release from this one-man project is not afraid to wear influences on his sleeves. If you like 90s Swedish melodeath, you will love a good chunk of these songs, if you like melodic black metal, you will love the other chunk of these songs. The songs all have a great sense of groove to them that is missing in a lot of other bands that just focus on blast beats and chugging to their heart's content. This is indeed a passion project in all the best ways and if you want a good throwback, but contemporary look at melodic extreme metal; this is the album for you.
85.) Serious Black- Vengeance is Mine
FFO- Melodic Power Metal
Sometimes a shakeup in a band's lineup brings out the best in the band. And that's what happened here. Without question, this is the best album of the Serious Black catalog to date with their catchiest songs to date. The production is pristine and you can hear everything if you listen to it. The vocals soar like never before and the band has a new life that has been pumped into them. Again, bad situations can lead to some positive outcomes, and in this case, Serious Black, they have weathered the storm and come out in its strongest form so far. Now, let's see what that next album has in store for us all.
84.) Wake- Thought From Descent
FFO- Blackened Death Metal, Progressive Metal, Extreme Metal
Going from a grindcore band into a quite extreme and more progressive blackened death metal band is no easy feat. It has to come from the heart and it has to be something you want to create. That's what happened here with Wake. The band releasing this monolith of an album has taken the extreme metal world by storm and has created critical acclaim for the band like never before. If this is where the band is right now, I am all for it as it is extreme but cohesive and I can only imagine that now that they know this formula works for the band, their next release may be their best release ever and one that contemporaries could only hope to compete with. This album pulls no punches it wrecks you hard musically and lyrically and sometimes that's the thrill ride you just need to take. Give this one a proper listen.
83.) Conjurer- Pathos
FFO- Post Metal, Doom Metal, Experimental
This album is a tearjerker when you listen to the lyrics, and a mammoth undertaking of musicianship when you listen to it musically. With all the songs dealing with the end in one way or the other, be it life, memory, or more; Conjurer took their time with this album and it did nothing but justice for the final product. It is one of the heaviest albums sonically and emotionally you're gonna hear this year (though, keep checking out this list if you want more tearjerkers). It's not an easy listen, but it is one of the most cathartic you will experience if you are dealing with dark times.
82.) Shroud of Bereavement- A Beautiful Winter
FFO- Funeral Doom Metal, Death Metal, Gothic Metal
Follow this timeline. Started in 1995, their first album in 2007, and their sophomore release came out back in July of this year. To say this is a band that does not rush things would be an understatement. But you can't argue with the results. This album is filled with dirges that will make even the strongest-willed weep. The soundtrack to death is in full display here with moments for fans of Draconian, Skepticism, and Novembers Doom begging for more. It's dark, it's heavy, it feels like you are falling further into your grave, and it's perfect as I'm writing this up and see nothing but snow for as far as my eyes can see. For you funeral doom fans like myself, this is a can't-miss.
81.) Iatt- Magnum Opus
FFO- Progressive Blackened Death Metal
This is another band that has made quite the transformation over the years; going from more metalcore vibes to raw black metal to now refining their sound to become what may be their true form. The title is not misleading in the slightest. When you listen to this album, it really feels like the magnum opus of not only the band but of their contemporaries as well. The production is their best ever, and the songwriting has everything that a fan of Opeth, Ne Obliviscaris, Cradle of Filth, and Ihsahn need in their lives. This is a band that has gone through a metamorphosis and I don't see them not continuing to expand their sound in the future, but all of that said; this is a crowning achievement in the extreme metal world and you should not miss out on this one if this sounds up your alley.
80.) Wind Rose- War Front
FFO- Heavy Power Metal, Fantasy War
Wind Rose is the Dwarven metal band that either you knew you needed or didn't realize you needed until you hear them. With their 2022 album, they have continued to refine their sound and keep forging toward their finest work. The songs are varied and diverse while still being very heavy power metal and give you that grand landscape that you experiencing war that you can't even comprehend. It's also a super fun album. If you are in with the fantasy tactics, then this is an album you shouldn't ignore and even if you just dig power metal or want something heavier in the same vein, check out Wind Rose as soon as you can because this hits all the checkmarks and then some.
79.) Ibaraki- Rashomon
FFO- Extreme Progressive Metal
Ever imagine hearing Matt Heafy, and Ihsahn writing Ronin/Samurai-inspired metal together and having Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance doing black metal vocals over it? Well sit down and let me explain further. A project that Heafy has wanted to do for such a long time has finally come to fruition with Trivium helping out on several tracks (and Alex Bent playing drums on every track), occasional guest spots from the aforementioned Ihsahn and his family, and again, Gerard Way of My Chemical Romance doing black metal screams in the song Ronin. If you dig your metal with some different kinds of folklore than you normally hear; I highly recommend giving this at least a shot, you may be won over more than you could have ever imagined.
78.) Stormruler- Sacred Rites & Black Magick
FFO- Black Metal
If you love your black metal melodic, sounds like it came from Norway in the 90s, and has a central story going on through half of the tracks, then you need to check out Stormruler. The sophomore release from this American duo hits you right in your nostalgia with its intense love of 90s 2nd/3rd wave black metal with better production. Had this come out earlier in the year, this would be another album that ranks higher on the list as this just hits that sweet spot of straight-up melodic black metal for me. Definitely an album for those black metal gatekeepers who say there wasn't been any good black metal since 1999. This album (and so many more, I could name off the top of my head) can prove that theory wrong.
77.) Blackwater Drowning Sonder//Satori
FFO- American Melodic Death Metal
Take the love of bands like Arsis and The Black Dahlia Murder, mix it with the European melodeath we all know and love, and give it just the slightest tinge of flavorings and you get Blackwater Drowning. This just gives a great spirit of melodeath that you just don't hear so much in America anymore and really need to come back. This hits that in strides and you can easily tell that with this being their debut album, the diversity and creativity are only going to flourish from here on out. Absolute quality melodeath that should not be missed out on.
76.) I Am The Night- While The Gods Are Sleeping
FFO- 90s Melodic Black Metal
Take some of my favorite musicians in the Finnish melodeath scene and have them make a tribute to 90s meloblack and you have a recipe for a stellar album. Featuring past and present members of Omnium Gatherum, Horizon Ignited, Opeth, and Insomnium and you have a star-studded cast of musicians that really set the bar for not only nostalgia-driven black metal but just quality black metal in general. This easily feels like it was written in 1995 and just remastered for 2022 and it's an album that is quintessential worship of bands like Emperor and Dissection. I simply couldn't ask for anything more and I really hope this is not a one-off. I need more.
75.) Fellowship- The Sabrelight Chronicles
FFO- Symphonic Power Metal
Past and present members of Rezinwolf and Power Force have joined forces in Fellowship and if you couldn't tell by the name alone, you are in for some mythical and adventurous symphonic power metal. This debut album shows a love of high fantasy and you get that from the second this album kicks in. It's all of the best elements of power metal done to a perfect T and there is a lot to be said for that. It's fast, fun, and filled with wonder. If you need more than that in your power metal, I question your loyalty to the Fellowship of the ri...I mean this band!
74.) Empress- Fateweaver
FFO- Symphonic Power Metal, Progressive Metal
This might be a little presumptuous to say, but I think it's an accurate statement that I'll stand by wholeheartedly. This is the best American symphonic power metal band going right now. This album sinched that for me and this album has instant replay value over and over again. It's a step up in quality that other bands in America need to take notes on because even with this being the debut album, it blows so many other bands that have been around for decades putting out music this year out of the water. I can't say it better than that, this is how you make a symphonic power metal album stand out and be something to be proud of. I simply can't wait to see what they do next, because as good as this is, the next album will be even better.
73.) Dawn of Solace- Flames of Perdition
FFO- Melodic Doom Metal
Sometimes, you love an album and sadly it falls to the wayside for no reason other than you simply forget it. That's what happened here with Dawn of Solace. A band that I truly love released an album that I had since last year and I heard it so much, I forgot it came out this year and thought it was a 2021 album, so I set it off to the side and forgot about it till I made this list. I will say that this album is a bit of a different take than their previous album, but it's done in a way that arguably makes for stronger songs and more emotions being toyed with to make you on the verge of tearing up. This album is an emotionally driven melodic doom album that deserves your love. No growls or screams, all clean vocals, but just as heavy but done with a sense of brevity that others bands simply miss. Don't do what I did and forget this album, listen to it now and their previous work and be floored by what you hear.
72.) Kardashev- Liminal Rite
So you know blackgaze right? Black metal meets shoegaze to create black metal with a more atmospheric and post-rock feel. Take that, but replace the black with death metal and you have Kardashev. The band's first album in 7 years showcases how much the band has progressed and really come into its own. The songs are more confident, the vocals are more devastating and the lyrics are….oooof they hit you right in the feels. The production has been a point of contention I've noticed from others; for me? I think it fits with the atmosphere created and gives the emotion coming out a bit more of a raw feel. I hope it won't take another 7 years to make a new album as I've been waiting for this follow-up for a long time and it delivered everything I hoped for. Now, let's see what's next for the band.
71.) Kuolemanlaakso- Kuusumu
FFO- Death Doom, Experimental
This band is something I discovered this year and I wished I had discovered them earlier. Finnish death doom hits as hard emotionally as it does musically. While I would lie if I said I understood the lyrics, I understand the tone being presented, and it is devastating. I truly appreciate that the band also shows off some great diversity as well occasionally showing some atmospheric moments or funeral doom moments, even black metal elements; but it all works in a melancholic disharmony. For those that love death doom, but want an extra kick (and if you don't mind that you don't know Finnish to truly grasp the lyrical content), then I implore you to check this album out!
70.) Dream Unending- Song of Salvation
FFO- Dream Doom, Atmospheric Doom Metal
Doom metal doesn't always have to be about the darkest things you can imagine. Sometimes they can be filled with hopes, dreams, and wonders. This seemed to be the battle cry of the sophomore album from Dream Unending; a North American duo who not only put in their efforts to create something new for the genre but truly made an outstanding album in their efforts as well. Combining some unorthodox instrumentation and songwriting, despair-styled growls, and what feels like a great mix between dreams, nightmares, and lucid dreaming; It's an experience that's best described by simply giving it a shot. It might be the lightest death doom album of the year or the heaviest post-rock album of the year; I'll let you decide.
69.) Kreator- Hate Uber Alles
FFO- Thrash Metal
I'm astounded at the backlash I've mainly seen from this album. The more I listen to it, the more it feels so unwarranted. It feels like a Kreator album that has the thrash we all know and love, with just a bit more thrown into it for different flavorings. I'm not hearing anything on this album that you wouldn't hear on any previous album at some point in their career. It hits home in the world we live in and it makes you headbang and think. Maybe that's the problem? Regardless, this is such a solid thrash album in 2022 and it deserves so much more live than what social media has given it. It rules, calm down, and have some dip!
68.) Darkest Era- Wither on the Vine
FFO- Dark Metal
The 3rd album from this Irish band is the first I've heard from the band and I absolutely love what I'm hearing. A great mix of folk, Celtic, black metal, progressive metal, and heavy metal; but all done in a way that is truly their own It never gets too aggressive, and it has an odd calm to it, even when it starts to hit more extreme territories. It is a great album for those that like the idea of more extreme music, but want more subdued vocals than growling or screaming. An underappreciated album this year, but one that should be more appreciated hopefully by more people checking it out on this list. Go on now, check it out!
67.) Evergrey- A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)
FFO- Dark Metal
Another band who based their lives on cold, dark metal; Evergrey started a new chapter with this album. Not only a new record label, but a sound that feels a bit more contemporary, songs that are the catchiest in years, and even a song that I dare say is...positive? Evergrey has always been one of my favorite bands over the years and A Heartless Portrait reinvigorated my love for the band in a way I didn't realize I needed. This is a great turning point for the band and I can't wait to see what's next.
66.) Seventh Wonder- Testament
FFO- Progressive Metal, Melodic Metal
Seventh Wonder is a band that should be shouted from the mountaintops as one of the best prog bands of the 21st century and I hope in time that will happen. With The Testament, the band made a thematic album (not a concept album) about different emotions we all feel and you can really hear it throughout. The songs are some of the catchiest written by the band, they can go from heavy to contemporary on the turn of a dime, and above all, the songs are memorable and enjoyable. While this doesn't have the epics you'll hear on other albums, this album may have its best-staying power, which really says a lot considering that back catalog of theirs. If you are a prog fan, you should not miss out on this one.
65.) Gaerea- Mirage
FFO- Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal
4 albums in and this band have been on a non-stop assault of the senses on a mission to either make you feel numb to the world or make you feel so much for the world that you become numb to everything. Mirage is the best example of this theory in practice so far. The music really can hit some emotional marks, the lyrics are deep and thought-provoking, and the overall sentiment is proving that black metal is more than just "evil". It can make a difference and it can make you feel, even if that feeling will make you feel hollow inside. A quality album written by one of the best black metal bands going today.
64.) Nordic Union- Animalistic
FFO- Melodic Metal, Heavy Metal, AOR
The 2nd album from this great collaboration between members of Eclipse and Pretty Maids makes for some of the catchiest songs you will hear in heavy music in 2022. A strongly heavier album than their debut album shows the band simply writing their strongest material and making it sound at its best quality. No matter your love of rock, heavy metal, or AOR stylings; you will find something to love about this album and it's a guaranteed fun ride. It's truly an album where music does the talking.
63.) Exhumed- To The Dead
FFO- Gore Metal, Goregrind, Death Metal
Like I did for the Top 10 albums of the October 2022 list, I'll keep this one brief. This is another solid slab of gore metal from the gore metal pioneers. It's aggressive, bloody, and fun. It goes by so fast that you'll instantly start it over again because the album has that replay value and this is some of the best material in the Exhumed discography. If you love blood and gore, Exhumed is the band for you.
62.) Candlemass- Sweet Evil Sun
FFO- Epic Doom Metal
The kings of doom metal are back and their original singer is back on this 2nd album since returning this is one of the more varied Candlemass albums to date. Some songs actually pick up the pace a bit and some sing about different lyrical themes than before. Overall, it feels like an evolution for the band when they don't need to at this point; which is really refreshing to see. You will get all of the classic doom you can handle on this album, but it's just different enough to know that changes can be a good thing. Overall, another killer album in the long legacy of Candlemass, and in 2022, that's all I could ever want or need.
61.) Hammer King- Kingdemonium
FFO- Heavy Power Metal, Melodic Power Metal
Considering their previous album came out last year, it's so great to see that this album was written in that time and not only succeeds but maybe even surpasses their previous work to make for their best album to date. Super heavy riffs combined with some of the best sing-along choruses in the power metal business and you have Hammer King. Demonicide took the best elements of the band and refined them to make those parts shine on every second of this album. Hammer King is slowly but surely becoming one of the best power metal bands in the business. You only need one listen of this album to understand why.
60.) Dynazty- Final Advent
FFO- Modern Metal, Power Metal, AOR
Quite possibly the most commercial album the band has released to date and it may be the best thing they could have done. The band has always flirted with the ideas of AOR and power metal in the past; sometimes even just focusing on that; but over the past few albums, the band has really focused on making their music have that modern production and songwriting and it makes the songs so catchy and fun to listen to. While the change is not for all of the old-school fans, I will say that the more they divulge these ideas, the more adventurous they become, and that is always a good thing. Explore all you can, cut the fat, and keep the best parts and you have modern-day Dynazty. The proof is in the pudding, the band is in top form and they are far from reaching the mountaintop. It'll only get better from here.
59.) Bloody Heels- Rotten Romance
FFO- Melodic Metal, AOR, Gothic Metal
If you want something that combines a love of 80s glam, 90s/00s gothic rock, and modern rock; you'll get Bloody Heels. A band that is not afraid to play what they are inspired by, but also find a way to make it completely their own. The songs are as catchy as the 80s hair bands, can get as dark as HIM and Sentenced back in the early 00s, and is just modern enough for all generations to appreciate everything going on. This is something that hits hard and it's going under the radar this year. I will not have that. If this sounds like something you may enjoy, please go check this out. It simply rules on all fronts.
58.) Midnight- Let There Be Witchery
FFO- Black 'N Roll
Midnight is arguably the best black n roll band going today and Let There be Witchery is the perfect example as to why. The songs get as dirty and grimy as Motorhead, but the black metal aesthetics on the vocals and horror-grade vocals make this band not only stand out but shine through the darkness. It's simple, but that's all it ever needed to be. Midnight rules and if they are not in your rotation, you are truly missing out. Remedy that immediately.
57.) Rammstein- Zeit
FFO- Industrial, Heavy Metal
I still have a theory that this is meant to be the last Rammstein album. I can't prove it yet and the band may even change their mind. But this album feels like it truly is saying Adieu to the world. If this is their last outing, they went out on a bang as loud as their shows. The songs are diverse, heavy, comical, and just odd enough. That's how I like my Rammstein and what I'll ever need. This definitely holds me over until another Lindemann album comes out. A true highlight in their rather short catalog (only 8 albums after all these years? Wow!)
56.) Maceration- Lost in Depravity
FFO- Death Metal
Is Dan Swano doing growls again? Sign me up! While he only did vocals on this album as a guest and not a full-time member, it is so great hearing him sing old-school death metal again and the music matches his voice so perfectly. I can see why Bloodbath wasn't his bag anymore, he wanted something like this in his life. While again, he's not the full-time singer of the band, it's fantastic hearing one of my biggest heroes in heavy music doing growls again, it sounds like he never skipped a beat. HM2 Boss Metal Zone Metal 4 LIFE!!!
55.) Poets of the Fall- Ghostlight
FFO- Cinematic Rock
Fans of Alan Wake and Control rejoice! Poets of the Fall have a new album out and it is just as emotional and engaging as ever. One of the lightest albums on this entire list and it is an album that truly is a great pallet cleanse from all of the funeral doom and progressive power metal that's been raging my life as of late. It's a straight-ahead rock with some great cinematic and symphonic backgrounds that makes the music truly stand out. It's not their heaviest album, and it's not their most commercial, but it definitely sounds like the most sincere album from the band to this date. I feel better after listening to this album and you just may as well if you give it a chance.
54.) Dagoba- City Lights
FFO- Modern Metal
Dagoba is a band that has only gotten stronger over the years and every album has a unique sound that represents where the band is at that time. This goes around, it's more of a focus on the modern metal atmosphere and it makes for some of the catchiest music in their career. The whole album from start to finish is a treat to listen to and it gives a new appreciation for how much you can fit into a song that has rather simple parts, but is so dense in layers that every time you listen, you will hear something new. Now that's what I call replay value! Yeah, this is well worth a listen for those that enjoy modern metal.
53.) Greg Puciato- Mirrorcell
FFO- Alternative Rock, Alternative Metal
In what might be the lightest performance ever from the former Dillinger Escape Plan front man; Mirror cell is filled with the 80s, 90s, and 00s, alternative rock, and metal flavors mixed in with today's production. If you want the chaos from his other past and present bands and projects, you won't find that hear. What you'll hear is some heartbreaking lyrics, emotional tones, memorable choruses, and some of the best work Greg has ever laid on record. The song Lowered, is easily one of my top 3 songs of the year. It hits so hard in a way that you would just never expect, but that really is the point. To the uninitiated, you'd never expect this, for those in the know, this is the album you always hoped for. I'm so happy this thing exists.
52.) Sinister Downfall- The Last Witness
FFO- Funeral Doom Metal
Another band that has given us 3 slabs of funeral doom metal in 4 years and with this latest release, the band has tapped into the sorrow that is so hard to even match let alone top. The vocals sound like that marble slab being placed upon a coffin to keep it sealed as it plunges into the grave. If you want what funeral doom metal is all about, there is Mournful Congregation, There is Bell Witch, and then there is Sinister Downfall, this is the literal definition of funeral dirge music. It's hard to get more dark, depressing, and mournful as this and in 2022, sometimes you need that.
51.) Dance of the Dead- Driven to Madness
FFO- Instrumental, 80s Synth, Horror Metal
Dance of the Dead makes fun, bouncy, and horror-inspired instrumental music that even those that crave lyrics in their music will find this so much fun to listen to. It proves that there are no words needed, although if you get the opportunity to get friggin JOHN CARPENTER to say a couple spoken lines to open the album, you let him do it! It sets the tone for the rest of the album and it's perfect for Halloween parties, music to put on when gaming, or if you just want a modern throwback to the 80s horror that you love. There's so much to appreciate about this album and I really hope it doesn't get missed out on by those that would really appreciate it. If this sounds intriguing, I can't suggest you check this out soon enough. Seriously, I can't imagine you'll be disappointed.
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.
40.) Soilwork- Overgivenheten
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Progressive Death Metal
Soilwork's latest outing is one of the best to show off what the band is all about in recent times. Going between absolutely bonkers riffs and melodies in one song, to nearly AOR-style rock riffing, to their classic melodeath sound, sometimes all in the same song. Being a stupid American, this is the 2nd album where I have a hard time pronouncing the title of the album (which is even sadder considering my last name is Swedish), but don't be scared off fellow Americans, the songs are all in English and Speed continues to prove he has one of the best and smoothest vocal deliveries in all of heavy music. Sadly this is the last Soilwork album to feature guitarist David Andersson, so I really feel the next album will be the beginning of a new chapter of the band, but this is one hell of a way to say goodbye. It's hard to listen to knowing what happened, but it makes you appreciate all that he accomplished in his times with Soilwork and The Night Flight Orchestra. What a solid album.
39.) Zeal & Ardor- S/T
FFO- Experimental Metal
Zeal & Ardor has released their 3rd album and it's easily their most grandiose. You get everything from 2nd wave black metal to blackgaze to African American Spirituals mixed with the devil to digital manipulation and so much more. Every album from this band has hit me very hard and this album is no exception. I love that the band is not afraid to keep experimenting with their sound, but still maintain what brought them to the dance in the first place. It's evil, it's heavy, and it's a pure trip of the musical senses. Just give it a shot.
38.) The Antichrist Imperium- III Satan in His Original Glory
FFO- Progressive Blackened Death Metal
Considering the band is 3/4th members past and present of Akercocke and one member of The Berzerker. It's no shock to know that this album is as extreme as it gets in the right moments but still diverse enough to make the album feel like a hellish roller-coaster. The band's 3rd outing continues why the band was created in the first place...Satan….(drinks from wine glass). It's a progressive blackened death metal tribute to the lord of the underworld and speaks for his followers in a way only the UK outfit can do. As you may have guessed, this album is not for everyone and if you are turned off by the lyrical themes or the extreme experimentation going on, this won't be for you; but for those that dare to go beyond the black veil and see the hellish delights inside this album; you'll be more than happy with what you hear.
37.) Toehider- I Have Little To No Memories of These Memories
Oh boy, here we go. Is this an album or a nearly 48-minute song? It's one track, so is this just a single release? Is it an album that you can't skip track by track? Well, it's the length of an album so I'm counting it. So there. But seriously folks, this is a nearly 48-minute tribute to prog in all of its glory. No matter your flavor of prog from Queen to Opeth to Ayreon to Yes and so…so much more. This is a concept album (or song, whatever) that is a whirlwind of emotions, and musical styles all done by the legendary Mike Mills who is not only one of the best multi-instrumentalists in music in general but also has one of the greatest voices in music period! The cheeky lad can hit any note and do it with such passion behind it to make every note sung have real purpose and every note he plays no matter the instrument is hit in a way that no one else can do. If I haven't sold it enough, like every Toehider release to date, this is a journey of musical endeavors and now it's a lesson in Prog 101 with a very fun lyrical concept behind it. If you missed this and dare to hear a song that's over 3/4ths of an hour long; I implore you to check out the best epic of 2022.
36.) THEM- Fear City
FFO- Heavy Metal, Horror Metal
The next chapter in the KK Fossor story brings KK back from the dead and into the early 1980s in the town known at that time as Fear City, New York City. A band that of course has an obvious nod to King Diamond and Mercyful Fate expands the sound even further on this album with more 80s synths, hardcore elements, and even death metal blast beats and of course continues the horror-drenched adventures of KK Fossor that ties all the albums together so far an in a fantastic and horrifying package. It's an album that only improves with repeat listens and gives great power, thrash, death, progressive, and evil metal vibes throughout. Seriously, give this album a proper listen and enjoy.
35.) Borealis- Illusions
FFO- Progressive Power Metal, Melodic Metal
Borealis is one of the most underappreciated bands in the prog and power genres today. They are easily one of the best bands rolling yet I don't see nearly enough people talking about them. Maybe this album will turn the page? Illusions are without question their masterwork. Combining what made them great, to begin with, a dark tinge of symphonic, orchestral, power, and prog metal with some of the catchiest riffs and choruses you'll find in those genres. There is a pure power going on throughout these songs that can only be experienced to truly appreciate. Of course, it helps that Vikram Shankar added his orchestral touch to this album to give these already great songs to make them phenomenal. In short, if cheesy is not your kind of prog power, Borealis is a band that you just may need in your life if they aren't already in your music-listening experience. This is how it's done, folks!
34.) Deathwhite- Grey Everlasting
FFO- Gothic Metal, Melodic Doom Metal
If you are a fan of Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Woods of Ypres, or any of those bands that has that gothic and doom tinge that makes you weep, you need Deathwhite in your life. The band's 3rd album in 5 years is their darkest, saddest, and most cathartic listen-to to date. The production is on that border of too raw and just perfect to give all the songs a very uneasy feeling like you are just about to hear 2nd wave black metal songs, but then you hear those sad, low cleans that can bring you down to your knees and beg to the sky for help. Seriously the vocal delivery mixed with the lyrics is so somber and satisfying. As you can tell this is not an album about sunshine and lollipops; it's dark and such an appropriate album for 2022. Give this one a spin and make sure you have some tissues in case you start weeping uncontrollably.
33.) Shape of Despair- Return to the Void
FFO- Funeral Doom Metal
In speaking of doom metal that will make you weep like never before; Shape of Despair is back after 7 years to deliver their darkest album to date. This is a masterclass in funeral doom metal, mental health struggles, and existential crises. This is what depression sounds like. Plain and simple. I can't get through this without choking up and I'm honestly shocked it's not even higher up on my list. It's slow, it's brooding, it feels like you are fading into nothingness and all you see is blank. If you need a good ugly cry for this holiday season, I highly recommend putting on Return to the Void and giving yourself that cathartic cry that will help you feel better at the end. This album gives you no hope, but sometimes you just need to know others feel the same way just to get by.
32.) Agathodaimon- The Seven
FFO- Gothic Metal, Symphonic Black Metal
After nearly 9 years, Agathodaimon returns with their 7th album and it is their most expressive and hauntingly gorgeous album to date. While the album does hit all kinds of extremes, it does showcase their diversity over the years, no doubt it helps with a lineup change to really showcase where the band is right now. The songs are simply sinister and give you that feeling of either falling in love or falling in love with death. The instrumentation is top-notch here with absolutely no filler and all killer. It's one of the most complete-sounding albums of the year and I love every second of it. If you want your black metal with a touch of goth romance and sinister hellish evil; The Seven is an album you need right now.
31.) Dog Fashion Disco- Cult Classic
FFO- Horror Metal, Experimental
The first proper Dog Fashion Disco album in 7 years sees the band return with one of their heaviest sounds on the record. The fun-filled horror is still on display and every song sounds just as demented as it is delightful, just as a good Dog Fashion Disco song should be. I feel like this is a great starter album for anyone new to the band or maybe for someone who is only familiar with Polkadot Cadaver and wants to hear a more metal-tinged side those members bring to the table. It's not as wacky and a little more straightforward, but that's what this album calls for. All the more reason this is a good one for first-timers. A great album with hooks and melodies plenty and a wicked sense of talent. Seriously, if you never heard of DFD, change that now…and I mean NOW!
30.) King's X- Three Side to One
Progressive Metal, Hard Rock, Classic Rock
A very apt name for this album as it showcases the styles of dUg, Ty, and Jerry perfectly. It gets as heavy as it does rockin' as it does poppy. Everything is in a 33.3% balance. While it's been such a long wait since 2008's XV. This more than exceeded my expectations, but that came with time. This really is a slow burn of an album. It may even feel like it's not your bag when you first hear it, but the more you listen, the more infectious it becomes, the choruses become more addicting, and the styles mesh so well together. The production makes more sense. Everything comes together. It's a collection of great songs written by one of the world's greatest bands. Is it one of their best? That's up to the ear of the beholder. But to me, I feel better having this album in my life and I don't want to go back to a world where this doesn't exist. Thank you King's X for making this happen finally happen.
29.) Entransient- Ghosts in the Hall
FFO- Progressive Metal, Alternative Rock, Post Rock
This is a sheer highlight of an underground album this year. While the band has been going strong since 2015, the band still has a modest following, which does not match its bombastic sound at all. They hit so many genres that can bring people together from prog to alternative rock. Like if you mix Dream Theater or Fates Warning with 90's alternative hard rock and those ever-so-sweet Porcupine Tree-style acoustic passages that show up at the right times. It's the kind of band that would truly stand out on Top 40 radio in a different timeline. The music is also highly emotional and hits you at the right moments to nearly make you weep in the best way. Like I said this is a true highlight of an album this year, and I really hope that between me talking about them and anyone who may check out this album that they get all of the love they deserve, this is just killer music from the start to finish and deserve your ears.
28.) Star One- Revel in Time
FFO- Progressive Metal, Time Travel Movies
Russell Allen singing about Donnie Darko, Dan Swano singing about Groundhog's Day??? Yep, it must be a new Arjen Lucassen release. But seriously, the return of Star One in a new style, being able to bring a grand array of guest stars to sing about different time travel movies was the album we needed in 2022. It's heavy, it's epic, and it puts a much-needed smile on your face (especially if you know the source material for each song); We didn't need another intensely dark album in 2022 as we have so many of those this year (and much more to talk about in this list), I needed something that I can go back to, think about movies that I've always enjoyed or ones that I am at least aware of, and hear a new take on the stories and even visually (seriously, the title track's music video may be the best video of 2022, bar none). While I know whatever Arjen does not will be much more serious and thought-provoking like we all know and love; this was a nice change of pace and really shows off the continued musical diversity of one of the most brilliant minds in heavy music. Thank you Arjen...thank you…
27.) Bloodbath- Survival of the Sickest
FFO- Old School Death Metal
Plain and simple this is the most fun Bloodbath album to date. This album knows exactly what it is and if you couldn't get that vibe from the opening track Zombie Inferno, you will by the end. While not every song is fun and hits some really dark territories, the overall vibe of this album amongst its gore-obsessed slaughtering is something that makes you just appreciate an album like this in 2022. Plus it doesn't hurt having Barney from Napalm Death and Karl from Nile lending their vocals to this album to give it some extra flare. I know the Old Nick era of Bloodbath isn't as beloved as the Mikael or Peter eras, but I want to take away that notion. Nick Holmes is the perfect voice for Bloodbath and has proved it in the previously released and finalizes it here. The album finally clicks with everyone else who still wasn't sure about this lineup. It's exactly what it needs to be and it works so amazingly well. If you want a death metal album that will put a smile on your face and make you say "indeed"; this is the album for you.
26.) Oceans of Slumber- Starlight, and Ash
FFO- Southern Gothic Rock
A band that went from a perfect display of progressive death metal has done something truly progressive and became their own sound. Starlight and Ash is a new chapter of the band that now only showcases Cammie Beverly's astounding vocal range, but combines southern rock, blues, and even Cajun style to their sound. While you won't hear any blast beats or screams or growls on this album; you will hear easily one of the darkest albums of the year, which is more metal than a lot of albums you will hear this year. The songs are perfectly crafted and combine more soul and darkness than what you'll hear on top 40 rock radio. It's a perfect album to be released to and led in with a false sense of security before it totally haunts you. While, yes, this is a stark difference from what you came to know from the band, I for one am someone who feels this was the direction they needed to go and they created a perfect album. Bravo! I can't wait to see what comes next.
25.) Amorphis- Halo
FFO- Melodic Death metal, Progressive Death Metal
I said it back in February and I'll say it again. This is the best Amorphis album since Skyforger. The songs are at their strongest, it has the catchiest choruses potentially ever and it has a great variety of sounds. The riffs have more emotion behind them, which is what got me into Amorphis in the first place. It's beautiful, and it gets heavy in the right spots, but doesn't overtake the songs, The production perfectly matches the vibe of the album. And while I have yet to see Amorphis live for this album cycle, I can only imagine the songs sound spectacular in a live setting. While this is the end of a trilogy of albums that Amorphis has been working on over the past several years, it's got me chomping at the bit waiting to see what will come next from this legendary band. If this is what we got not, it's only going to get better from here.
24.) Hammerfall- Hammer of Dawn
FFO- Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Easily the heaviest and darkest Hammerfall album to date. Don't get that twisted, if you thought Hammerfall is full of cheese, this album will not change your mind as it is filled to brim with those cheesy moments, but that's what brings us all to the table. That said, the tone of the album feels darker than ever before, and there's a heavier vibe overall which the production really makes shine through. It even includes an all-too-short cameo from the legend King Diamond. If that doesn't make this the evilest Hammerfall album to date, I don't know what would. But all of that said, the songs are as catchy as ever with those perfect sing-a-long choruses, big epic swaying moments, and an overall fun experience that the band has always delivered upon. It has slowly but surely become my favorite Hammerfall album to date and I can't wait to hear a few of these songs when they open for Helloween next year. It's a fun album that has me grinning from ear to ear. That's all I ever wanted or needed from the band and they easily delivered.
23.) Ether Coven-0 The Relationship Between the Hammer and the Nail
FFO- Sludge Metal, Doom Metal, Experimental
Ether Coven is a band that is truly hard to define without missing some of the nuances that truly make them stand out from the crowd. With the band's 4th album; they found what I think is their winning formula by combining their experimental moments in sludge and doom, but adding just the right amount of atmospheric moments (just listen to the song Warmth of Your Bathwater for how it works) and they added just the right amount of diversity into their already creative sound to create what bands in the future will be inspired by in years to come. When it gets heavy, it gets brutal, when it gets lighter, it grabs your heartstrings. When you have guests from bands like Integrity and Light the Torch; you know you are in a for a heavy time. This feels like a great transformation album for the band. What comes next will be a shock to everyone, including the band; but I know it will continue in some of the best music I've heard in the genre.
22.) Abyssic- Brought Forth in Iniquity
FFO- Symphonic, Blackened Death Doom
An album was brought to my attention by Von Yanesh of Agathodaimon. This 3rd album from this triumphant outfit is easily their best to date with the best production, brutal vocals, and songwriting that is done in perfect layers so every time you listen, you hear something new. And the lyrical content really grabs you and does not let go. This is brutal in so many different ways, but above all, there's a sense of cathartic moments that really hits you if you are suffering from mental health issues like myself. If you are a fan of classical and symphonic music, you will be able to appreciate what's going on here. If you love your death doom as heavy as possible, you will love this album. It nearly feels like a Viking funeral album with how dark and triumphant it sounds at the same time. With tinges of gothic and ethereal moments that you just won't get anywhere else. I wish I had discovered this band earlier so I could appreciate this album even more, but I am so happy I discovered them now and I can put them this high up on the list as they truly deserve it. A death doom masterpiece.
21.) The Ferrymen- One More River To Cross
FFO- Power Metal, Dark Metal
The 3rd album in 5 years from this all-star band is without question the band's finest work to date. Everything about this album is perfect. It is dark, it's super catchy, the vocals are impeccable, the production is so slick and clean, the songwriting is amazing, and it has everything you are looking for in a power metal album that is not over the top cheesy. Of course, as already stated elsewhere, Ronnie Romero is the shining moment of this album, he has one of the best voices in metal and anyone who says differently is lying to themselves. For any hard rock, heavy metal, and power metal fan; if you missed this album, you are only hurting yourself by missing out on this album and the band in general. It came out in January, but its staying power is forever. It just takes one listen to understand why.
20.) Devin Townsend- Lightwork
FFO- Devin Townsend
Surprised? Hey, aren't I that Devin Townsend fanboy who thinks every album is number 1? Well, you give some nerve! But seriously, had this album come out earlier than the beginning of this month, it probably would be higher up on the list, but not number 1 to me. To actually get into it. This is an album all of us need, at least the song Call of the Void. The world sucks right now and there are so many reasons to be afraid and scared and not hopeful for the future. Every reason you have is valid. This album is a bit more of an upbeat version of Devin Townsend Project's Ki and not really as rockin' and poppy as Addicted, if feels, musically, right in between the two, but with today's message of calming down, appreciate what's in front of you, and enjoy the wonders that we have. It's not a completely positive album, but it is cathartic from the get-go. It's an album that puts a smile on my face and helps me be calmer when I need it (and I've needed it this month). If you need an album that can just help you relax from this almost end-of-the-pandemic world we live in and trying to see the light that's left in the world, give this album a shot. If you only like Hevy Devy, you'll be disappointed, but if you like Devin Townsend, you will find something to truly appreciate about this album.
19.) Astronoid- Radiant Bloom
FFO- Progressive Metal, Dreamgaze
The blast beats are back. OH HAPPY DAY! THE BLAST BEATS ARE BACK!!! But seriously, yes, they are in a few songs and really heighten their emotions. And for the rest of the album. It feels like a perfect blend of the last two releases. The songs are super emotive and are either very jarring to you or they are exactly what you need. I've yet to see anyone say "Meh, they're fine, I guess.". It's pure love or hate, and I am of the former. Astronoid has yet to do wrong on any release and Radiant Bloom is the culmination of everything so far with their best songwriting to date. They are a band that I know some will say either needs to be lighter if you like lighter music or more extreme if you like heavier music. To me, they are the perfect yin yang of a band and hits both sides perfectly. They just need to keep on doing what they do and all will be right in the world...well the world of the music they make that is.
18.) Revocation- Netherheaven
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Thrash Metal, Melodic Death Metal
I've been saying it for the last few releases and I guess I have to say it here again. I can't believe they topped their last album. Netherheaven is about Dante's Inferno and battling through the 9 stages of Hell and every song of the 9 songs shown off feels like the soundtrack to each stage. Every song has its evil but different feel to it that makes every song stand out. Combined with insane technical prowess, clean but just raw enough production, and some guest spots from Corpsegrinder and one of the final appearances of Trevor Strnad makes this an album that simply can't be passed up if you are a fan of more extreme music. There are plenty of melodic and harmonic passes throughout, but this is one of the most brutal albums the band has ever made and what may be their best album to date. They simply nailed it with Netherheaven. This is how it's done, folks.
17.) Blind Guardian- The God Machine
FFO- Power Metal, Speed Metal
Until another album came out, this was my power metal album of the year. It has what I've wanted from Blind Guardian for decades. A return to speed metal, but still able to keep their power metal abilities. It's the perfect melding of both eras of the band. And of course, Hansi's storytelling in every song is mesmerizing. I would dare to say that this is my favorite album since Imaginations from the Other Side, and I don't say that lightly as there have been some terrific albums since that time, but Blind Guardian proves that you can just never know what to expect next and your favorite band that's been around for almost 40 years may put out one of their best albums ever in 2022. Chef's Kiss, a perfect power metal/speed metal album.
16.) Lacrimas Profoundre- How to Shroud Yourself with Night
FFO- Gothic Metal
While the FFO section doesn't hit everything this album covers, giving it a gothic metal tag doesn't really say it all. There are doom moments, black metal moments, and hard rock moments. It's one of the most varied, but catchy and cohesive albums in the band's discography. And with it being the second album of frontman, Julian Larre. He steps up in a way that is simply jaw-dropping and shows off his vocal range in a way that you simply don't expect on a first listen. This is an album for those that want a more upbeat gothic album that while it can be sinister, it's also not showing all of its cards right away, you gotta listen, let it sink in, and see what this band has to offer still after 29 years. Is it their best album to date? It's hard to disagree with that notion. I know I love it more and more with every listen and you may as well. Give this one a shot if it sounds like something you'd enjoy.
15.) Wolfheart- King of the North
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Folk Metal
I just talked about it with Revocation and it applies here. How did Wolfheart beat their previous album? Wolfheart really does grow stronger with every album and this loosely conceptual album about Finnish gods showcases the diverse sound of the band while they continue to get more extreme in brutality, melody, and catchy choruses. This is also the first album to show off a good amount of clean vocals, especially the standout guest spot from Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leech. This is an album that will stand the test of time and will be looked upon as one of the best melodeath albums of the 2020s. That is of course until the next Wolfheart album that will obliterate us sometime in the future. Till then, appreciate this Finnish melodeath masterpiece in all of its glory.
14.) Venator- Echoes from the Gutter
FFO- Speed Metal, Revival Metal, Heavy Metal
The debut album from this Austrian metal band came to me at the right place at the right time. Every song on this album has that great throwback 80s sound but is updated enough for the modern crowd. Just look at their album cover. It feels like the perfect B-Horror movie cover that you would pick up on a Saturday night at your local video store. The songs are filled with tremendous solos and killer vocals with an awesome range. A throwback-style production and classic and memorable riffs that will not leave your mind no matter how hard you try. It's an album that needs your love and attention if you like the revival metal movement. Seriously, go give this a spin and try not to have fun with it;. I dare you.
13.) Silent Skies- Nectar
FFO- Cinematic Ambient
The lightest-sounding album on this whole list is also one of the most gut-punching to your emotions. The sophomore collaboration between Vikram Shankar (3rd appearance on this list!) and Evergrey and Redemption's Tom Englund is something that sounds so off-kilter on paper but works so perfectly in execution. It feels like such a dark movie you are experiencing in your head as you watch everything unfold musically. Every song is catchy but so dark. It makes Adele sound like Carly Rae Jepsen. In a better timeline, this would be on top 40 radio and they would be playing stadiums for all the world to see. I'm still going to hold out for that day, but until then, appreciate them now before they explode and the ticket sales become astronomical. This is some of the best dark pop and cinematic ambient music you'll come across in your life.
12,) Horizon Ignited- Towards The Dying Lands
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
A melodeath band that is pushing the boundaries by becoming more mainstream in sound? Yes rather than become more and more extreme, Horizon Ignited's sophomore album takes their melodeath sound and mixes it with more catchy choruses, simpler riffs, and even songs that have no lead screams or growls in them? But don't be scared, if you dig that sound, it's layered throughout the album as well as classic sounding melodeath riffs all throughout the album, but just a modernized take to where even your coworkers who like Disturbed and Breaking Benjamin could listen to this band appreciate what's going on. Any band can be a breakthrough band in metal, don't write people off. But this album is that perfect balance of heavy and mainstream that has me excited for the future. No matter what they do, it'll be awesome, I can feel it.
11.) MMXX- Sacred Cargo
FFO- Melodic Doom Metal
An album that truly brings tears to my eyes in its dark sense and cathartic tendencies. MMXX's debut album features some of the greatest voices in dark music. Featuring the vocalists of Swallow the Sun, My Dying Bride, Antimatter, and the legend of legend Dan Swano giving one of his best vocal performances in a good long time (and of course so many other great voices). If you are a fan of melodic doom metal, whether it's as slow and brooding as funeral doom, or something that can be a bit more beautiful yet haunting; MMXX has a song for you on this album. I feel like this is the perfect starter album for anyone new to the genre. If you like a particular vocalist on this album, you will be able to find something of theirs that you will love in time and it's the perfect love letter to the genre as well. It's dark, it is tragic, it's beautiful and it makes me at least weep every time I hear it. That is the sign of a perfect album to my ears.
10.) Bloody Hammers- Washed in the Blood
FFO- Horror Metal, Gothic Metal, Heavy Metal, Punk
Bloody Hammers has been putting out consistently great album after consistently great album for years and now with the release of their 6 albums in 11 years, the husband and wife duo has taken everything that has worked about their sound so far and decided to use all of it for new material. Whether you like the metal aspects, the gothic side, or the punk variations; it's all here and then. It's the perfect starter album for anyone new to Bloody Hammers. Whatever tracks are your favorite, there is a previous album that attaches itself to that style in their previous work. After seeing the band sadly let go from their previous label, this is a return to the independent release, but the fans are there to not only buy up the limited vinyl but to make sure Bloody Hammers is a band that can stay as they are a band that I do not want to see go. I can only imagine this album is the closing of a chapter before the band reinvents itself once again and I am so here for it. I can't wait to see what's next from one of the best horror bands around.
9.) Brymir- Voices in the Sky
FFO- Symphonic Power Metal, Black Metal, Melodic Death Metal
The 5th album from this masterclass of a metal band is easily my favorite. This Finnish band (see, another example of why Finland has the best bands per capita) combines almost all of my favorite genres into one band and makes it sound completely cohesive. The choruses are so powerful and catchy, they can get so heavy or so epic or so evil-sounding that whether you like something like Sonata Arctica, Omnium Gatherum, or Emperor; there is something here for you. While this is a newer sound for the band that focuses more on the power metal side of things, the last few tracks on the album definitely hit on the melodeath and especially the black metal sides of the band to let you know that black fire still burns. This is a fantastic display of making the music you want to make and sometimes, that involves evolving your sound to something a little more mainstream, but never losing your soul. This is how it's done.
8.) The Halo Effect- Days of the Lost
FFO- Melodic Death Metal
When ex-members of In Flames realize that they want to start a band together, they can create some of the best music of the year. From nods to the past, songs that fit perfectly in the present, and what to look forward to in the future, this debut album combines the perfect amount of melodeath, hard rock, commercial rock, and some occasional industrial moments making this a release that no matter your age or when you discovered metal, you will find something to appreciate here. This band is meant to be friends making music together and those can be the best bands out there. Dark Tranquility and Cyrha aren't going anywhere, for example, but it's great to have something like this, while we wait for those bands to write new music. Simply, it's a masterclass in melodeath and the occasional song that would fit perfectly on top 40 rock radio in a better timeline. This is simply amazing and I know their next album will even top this one. It's just a matter of time.
7.) Sumerlands- Dreamkiller
FFO- Revival Metal, Heavy Metal
Absolute proof that classic metal will never die. Sumerlands' sophomore album not only changes things around with the lineup, but it shakes things up in the writing style to let new singer, Brenden Radigan absolutely shine on this album. The songs feel so perfect with his vocals on top. The album is short and sweet coming in with 8 songs and 2 seconds shy of 35 minutes. There is 0% filler on this album and 100% killer riffs, soaring vocals, and some of the catchiest moments in all rock and metal music in 2022. As eluded to, if you dig classic metal, this is the band for you. But there is enough new going on here that it does not dismiss what's relevant today. Sumerlands became the leaders of the revival of metal sound in 2022. What was meant as a side project may have to become a full-time band due to its rise in popularity and I am all here for it? The band truly broke through with Dreamkiller and their love is completely warranted. Just give it a shot and see for yourself.
6.) In The Woods...- Diversum
FFO- Progressive Metal, Dark Metal, Black Metal
While In The Woods… has been an ever-changing lineup since 1991, now 31 years into the game and the band's 6th album may be their strongest album ever. With new vocalist, Bernt Fjellestad leading the charge with his ever-powerful vocal delivery matching the band's growing dark metal tendencies, the band has a musical chemistry that feels perfect right now in 2022. Dealing with societal issues, mental health issues, and the ever-increasing void of darkness in life, the band matches the lyrical concepts with the music in perfect haunting harmony. The album also has some of its most diverse moments in the band's 3 decade plus history hitting moments of near black metal, avant-garde, and of course super catchy moments that will stick with you for days on end. In The Woods… is a band that deserves any and all of the love they can get. And I really hope with this album that their popularity will continue to rise. This is a staple of what dark metal is all about.
5.) Gladenfold- Nemesis
FFO- Melodic Death Metal, Symphonic Power Metal
More Finnish metal is never a bad thing. Sadly I didn't discover this album till months after it came out and it is my first experience with the band. I have to thank Sean, The Metal Pigeon, from MSRcast and his own website for introducing me to this band. With the third release from this band, I realize they hit all of the targets I would want in a band like this. It hits the symphonic power metal moments that I love with fast double bass, soaring clean vocals, and of course those guitars, but on the turn of the dime and sometimes even at the same time, the melodeath comes in and you'll start to hear moments of screams and growls, blast beats and sinister tones. Imagine a combination of Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Kamelot, and Children of Bodom and you're starting to get the right idea. The songs are so catchy and memorable, the musicianship is top-notch, the production is so slick and clean, and the overall musical experience is one that had my jaw drop from the moment I first heard them, and even as I listen now, it still hits the floor. I can't sing the praises of this album and band enough. Please, if you dig your extreme metal with a great number of melancholic melodies and harmonies; this is a band you need to hear as soon as you can.
4.) Avantasia- A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society
FFO- Power Metal
Tobias Sammet's finest hour? I just may think so. When I talked to Tobi a little over a month ago, he mentioned that this is the album that rejuvenated his love of singing, recording, and performing; and you can definitely hear in his voice that he is so happy to be doing this again. That's not a slight at anything he has done in the past, you can just hear the difference in his voice. While I have seen some people say that he is phoning it in on this album or that he's not trying to be original anymore; to me, he is making the best songs he can for the live experience. Something I'll probably never be able to witness, but I love and appreciate how much heart and soul goes into this album and the cast of characters that go into this. With some first-time appearances and some that you already know and love; everything comes together in perfect harmony here and any of the fluff to pad out an album is stripped away. These songs are meant to be performed live and if they sound this incredible in the studio, it'll only be better live. In complete transparency; Ghostlights will always be my favorite Avantasia album, but I have no problem saying that this is the best Avantasia album to date with its complete blend of everything I love about the band. From fast power metal to haunting ballads to epic closers; it's all here and then some. This is the standard bearer for power metal for years to come.
3.) Power Paladin- With The Magic of Windfyre Steel
FFO- Power Metal, Nerd Culture
This Icelandic power metal band's debut album is unadulterated cheesy, nerdy, geeky power metal and I am here for every single second of it. From comics to video games to movies that all hit home for me mixed with the best songwriting in the genre that I may have ever heard. The vocal performances on this album are my favorite of the year, the songs are unbelievably catchy no matter the tempo. And come on, any band that can seamlessly break into The Legend of Zelda theme song is A-OK in my book. And with that said, Righteous Fury (The song that features that aforementioned Zelda theme) may be my song of the year. I can't say enough great things about this album. If you love over-the-top power metal, nerd culture, and some of the best songwriting you'll hear this year; Power Paladin is a band you simply can't skip out on. You listen to them, get rid of your tough mentality, and put a giant smile on your face. That's what this band and this album will accomplish for you.
2.) Hangman's Chair- A Loner
FFO- Doom Metal, Gothic Metal
While this is not the band's first album, this is without question their breakout album. It took 6 albums, but the band fully found its sound and it comes from the darkest of places, and mental health issues. Unlike most mental health advice that you get from people who may have their hearts in the right places, but really have no clue how to help; this is an album that lets you know that sometimes, all you need to do is shut yourself away from the world to get better. It's a dark, isolating, and cathartic album. It also goes with the notion that I've been saying for years that sometimes it takes knowing others are struggling just like you are to know that you are not alone and that can be the most cathartic and therapeutic feeling you can experience when you are struggling. But back on the music, it never goes faster than mid-tempo (which is like speed metal for doom standards) it has great tinges to 80s and 90s gothic rock and metal, especially in some of the guitar tones and it's all clean vocals, so if that's a selling point or a breaking point for you...there you go. For me, I have not listened to any other album more this year than A Loner. It fills me with cathartic joy, it makes me cry, and it helps me feel less alone. And without question, it's the best clean vocaled album of 2022.
1.) Tómarúm- Ash in Realms of Stone Icons
FFO- Progressive Death Metal, Melodic Black Metal
One of the most emotionally devastating albums and heartbreaking albums also has some of the most neck-break speeds, technical prowess, and flabbergasting riffs you'll hear in 2022. An album that shows that progressive and technical abilities and emotional melodies are not exclusive and can be combined to create something for people who love over-the-top fretwork, mouth-watering blast beats, mixed with soul-crushing vocals and melodies that grab your soul and eat it right in front of you. You'd think a band like this would have been crafting this for decades. No, they started in 2017. You'd also think that a band like this would maybe hit something like this on their 4th or 5th album. Nope, it's their debut LP. For the first time since 2013, a band's debut album hits my number 1 album of the year, and for damn good reason. The album hits the musical proficiency that I care so much about when I was growing up with the emotionally driven melodies harmonies and vocal lines that drive what I listen to the most now. It's controlled, emotional chaos with lyrics based on some of the worst things you can experience as a human being. Sign me up immediately for that. While this is another album I heard months after it came out. I'm so happy I gave it a chance and instantly fell in love. While this is not an album for everyone, those that dare to be intrigued by this will hopefully feel the way I do about this album and I can't wait for their next album. If this album hits me this hard on a debut LP; their sophomore album, I know will only hit me even harder, so I better get some tissues ready now for my eyes for the emotional moments and other parts for the progressive and technical moments. This is more than worthy to be my album of the year.
And there you go folks. It's over...it's done. 150 albums of 2022 have been talked about, promoted, and reviewed by me. I hope you found an album or 150 to check out and enjoy this year. Every album I write about is worth talking about or else I wouldn't do it. And I thank you for the past 2 weeks for letting me able to show all these off to you. Now go check out the Spotify playlist that has tracks from all these bands or uses your physical or digital platform of choice and check out these albums for yourself. Have a happy holiday season and I'll see you back again in 2023. Until then, this is Josh Rundquist for Heavy Debriefings saying, See Ya!