March 2022...how is it we are already on the last Friday of March 2022? Between Wars, Pandemics, and Kim Kardashian continuing to be a celebrity you should never aspire to be; we also has a really good month for heavy releases. No matter your style of rock and metal, and album was sure to have come out this month that grabbed your attention and helped break the immersion of this horrible time loop we can’t escape. But if you haven’t, that’s why I’m here! To help sing the praises to 10 albums every month that is worthy of your attention and praise. While you may not like all 10, I hope you dig at least one album review enough for you tickle your musical fancy and check it out for yourself.
For those in the know, skip the rules and scroll ahead. If you are new or need a refresher, read the following rules on how I do things here and everything is the way it is.
1.) These will be Original Studio ALBUMS. Not EPs, live albums, cover albums, rarities albums, lost albums, splits, collaboration efforts, etc. Simply Original Studio Albums from bands. Simply enough, right?
2.) These will be ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Not ranked. I don’t give away my secrets of what will be in the top 100 that easy. At least buy me a drink first!
3.) These reviews will be like my top 100 list where I give the band name, the album and the FFO section; followed by a paragraph review. I could easily go track by track on every album; but then I will have given everything away. I want YOU to check any of these albums out and make up your own thoughts if you dig it or not. I’m just here to let you be aware these albums are out and for your listening pleasure.
4.) There is nothing sponsored here nor stolen content. Just my own thoughts. I have been given almost every album I review as a stream or promo and anything I missed I checked out on Spotify or Bandcamp after release.
5.) I will be covering more albums in audio form on my podcast every week there is a new show. There may be some crossover, other ones may just be in audio form. So check out both for the optimum experience.
6.) None of these albums are set in stone for the best of 2022. I may be high on them now, but that could change for a multitude of reasons (mainly if the band does something asinine).
7.) Any album not featured here or in the podcast can EASILY still be featured in my top 100. I don’t have the ability to hear every album and some will slip through the cracks now or even then. So I just need to hear an album and make assertions from there.
8.) These are done for YOU. So I hope you can discover some new music on my behalf and be shown that new music has never stopped being great. Just go discover it.
Now let’s begin!
Agathodaimon- The Seven
FFO- Gothic Black Metal, Experimental
After 9 long years, One of the best German metal bands have not only reformed, but returned with their best work. With a new killer lineup and a litany of fire burning under the band; Agathodaimon have comeback with pure vengeance in it’s most evil form. The songs are darker and more experimental than ever. The lyrics are soul crushing and really put you in the midst of hell. The production on this album is pristine, along with all of the artwork for the album that matches everything musically to an absolute T. This is what black metal bands should be striving to achieve with their sound in the 21st century. Evolve, but don’t forget what you are about. You will be hard pressed to find a more captivating slab of black metal in 2022. I’m excited for the rest of year, but what could possibly top this from April onward?
Dog Fashion Disco- Cult Classic
FFO- Experimental Metal
DFD has become one of my favorite bands over the years. They write the most sickening and horror drenched lyrical concepts on top of some of the catchiest riffs and melodies you could possibly hear with distortion. While the band has gone through so many trials and tribulations over the years including reuniting, rerecording almost their entire back catalog before forming their own label and not to mention their other killer bands and projects; this if the bands first original album in 7 years and it was absolutely worth the wait. From writing some of the creepiest riffs to date, to some of the heaviest songs in their career to songs that should easily be on Top 40 Rock radio if we lived in a better timeline. You’d never think with their band name that they would be such a slick horror band and you may not even really….”get it” on the first listen, but let Cult Classic burrow inside your ears and let those earworms fester in your brain till it is inescapable. You won’t have a better time with a horror inspired album in 2022...you just won’t.
The Flower Kings- By Royal Decree
FFO- Progressive Rock
Another double disc album release from one of the most legendary prog bands still going today. The Flower Kings have returned after thei8r previous double disc prog album, Islands back in 2020 to continue what they started with Islands, but completely expand on their musical endeavors. If you love the 60s/70s era of progressive rock where experimentation was not only expected, but encouraged. Where you could go from a hard rock riff to a Beatles melody to mind expanding keyboard solos and instrumentation from out of nowhere that completely fits the mold; you get it all and more here with by Royal Decree. Everyone in the band simply shines in all of their glory to write a prog masterpiece that may not be for everyone, but is definitely here for those that want to visit the musical time machine and explore all eras of what music has been, is now, and will be. Simply put, this is a stellar release.
FFO- Occult Rock, 80s Hard Rock, Progressive Rock
Oh boy, I can’t wait to write this up and see all the disdain I will get in return. While I went into much greater detail on the Heavy Debriefings Podcast the week this album came out (go check it out for my thoughts on all of the consistent backlash to the band); I love where the band is at right now in 2022. This is their most innovative album to date. When you can channel Queen and Rush in one track to Danny Elfman and Faith No More in another; you are simply showing off the fact that Ghost is a rubber band style group that can stretch what the band’s genre can be and snap right back into what you originally liked from the band. From prog epics to hair ballads to some of the heaviest songs in the band’s catalog; you have the band’s most diverse album to date. It really is an album that has something for everyone….unless you go into this already hating it, then, I got nothing for you. But for the more open minded, give this one a shot. I am serious! DO IT!!!
FFO- Death/Doom, Gothic Metal, Avant Garde
It’s been a quite a bit of time since the last release from this band and I can easily say that the wait was more than worth it. The band has expanded it’s sound to stretch even further into it’s dark soul ripping sound. If you want a My Dying Bride sound, it’s here. If you want black metal, they got it covered, if you want instrumentation that you just don’t see coming; it’s here as well. The overall theme of this album showcases the winter/dead season and those that are embracing the darkness right before death comes calling, both literally and figuratively. While this album is sure to go under the radar for many in America simp0ly because the album, band name, and the band in general use the Finnish language to get out their passage of music; that should not be a hurdle you need to jump to enjoy this album. It’s so good in and of itself that it should not matter if you can’t speak one Finnish word. Let the music do the talking and let the somber, ever brooding, death doom consume you.
Michael Romeo- War of the Worlds: Part 2
FFO- Progressive Metal
Symphony X’s Michael Romeo is one of the most underappreciated musicians in the prog metal world. Sure, those that are already family of course understand the power that Romeo brings with every song and every instrument he touches; but the rest of the world need to know about it as well. With the best possible group of musicians backing him on this album outside of SX; Romeo not only shines through the skies on this release; he lets everyone else shine as well. BE it insanely sick drum fills, jaw dropping bass, gorgeous orchestration, or some of the best rock vocals you will hear in 2022; Romeo covers all of the basis you’d expect on this album from power metal to prog metal and of course plenty of shred. BUT he adds to much more instrumentation and styles to this album you simply don’t see coming from around the world. This is what more solo albums should aspire to be. Expand your musical mind, really showcase what you are about it. Don’t be afraid of what you write, let it out there and let it shine. I’m so glad we finally have this album to enjoy over and over again.
Playgrounded- The Death of Death
FFO- Progressive Post Metal
This Greek band’s third album and first in 5 years really showcases the blood, sweat, and especially tears that we have all gone through in the past half decade. The songs are so dark and moody with the right moments on industrial, modern, and atmospheric touches that really makes you appreciate all of the layers the band puts into their sound. As you listen you will be embraced by the sheer heaviness of the band’s sound when it really hits, so somber when the lyrics truly reflect on you, and the overall atmosphere of the sound keeps you hanging on for more. If you can dig what bands like Cult of Luna, The Ocean, and Hangman’s Chair have been up to lately; this should not be an album or a band to miss. This will be going underrated, so give it a chance so it’s no longer…grounded.
FFO- Post Rock, Blackgaze
When I hear people say that one person black metal bands only sound raw with crappy production that gets in the way of how good the music could be; I just laugh because that stereotype is no longer accurate. Sylvaine has put out 4 jaw dropping releases so far that showcase not only how good black metal can sound, but how beautiful it can be as well. With Nova, this is easily her greatest work to date with perfectly capturing a great mix of blackgaze and a majority of post rock that grabs your attention with it's atmosphere and does not let go no matter how angelic or devilish the music and vocals become. If you want something that can hit you like a ton of emotional bricks, Sylvaine has you covered. Seriously, mix Alcest, Type O Negative and Harakiri for the Sky in a blender with extra ingredients to truly make it original and you got what Sylvaine is in 2022. A sheer gem of a tortured soul of an album.
Threads of Fate- The Cold Embrace of the Light
FFO- Dark Epic Metal
In this band’s debut album; they have truly captured a unique sound that you simply can’t find elsewhere. While the overall tone is very dark, very somber, and very moody; It hits you in so many different ways. Imagine a band that can capture the likes of Evergrey, Dimmu Borgir, Anathema, Nightwish and their own flavorings into a draconian and vampire-esque sound that both fills you with dread and hope. That is Threads of Fate and it’s what grabs you by it’s deathlike hand and drags you in for the kill. The pairing of vocals from Jon Pyres, who has such an impeccable vocal range, and the instrumentation and orchestration of multi-instrumentalist Vikram Shankar has made for one of the darkest releases of the year and one that should absolutely NOT miss out on. Death, Black, Doom, Prog, Power, Symphonic, Alternative, and so much more. Threads of Fate covers it all and makes it so incredibly cohesive. Pure unadulterated dark magic!
Without Waves- Comedian
FFO- Progressive Metal, Modern Metal, Experimental
This Midwestern band has built up quite the reputation since their conception and with every release the band grows stronger and stronger. With another band who has had a few years between albums, it has worked in their favor as they have easily created the best work of their career so far. Channeling modern metal tones of Gojira, the experimentation of Devin Townsend, the melody and occasional prog of Porcupine Tree all tied together by some chaotic mathcore that Dillinger Escape Plan fans will absolutely salivate over. This unique sound will destroy your senses in one second and brings you back in with love for the next second…then make you wonder what the hell is going on with the following second. It’s an album that keeps you on your toes and once you feel like you’re getting the hang of it, you dive deeper into all of the layers produced and begin to have your jaw drop at their musicality and songwriting capabilities. This is such an incredible album that is more than worthy of the attention of those adventurous enough to take the plunge on Without Waves and see where modern metal music is going to go in the future.
And there you have it folks. 10 albums that I absolutely loved in March 2022 that are worth your attention. From the best Selling Rock/Metal album of the month to some underground bands you may have just discovered here. I love that I have a platform to showcase them all and everyone in between. Please return next month as we cover the Top 10 Albums of April 2022. Till Then, this is Josh Rundquist saying, SEE YA!
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)