Hello everyone and welcome to the spookiest time of year, October 2022. Of course, by the time you are reading this, it will be the last Friday of the year, just a couple days before Halloween and you’ll be sick of the holiday commercials you are seeing for Christmas already; but that is for a different time. Right now, I gotta go over 10 albums that have come out this month that are sure to leave you with a sense of joy and yuletide, crap I’m already still stuck on the holiday stuff. Grrr. Anyways, let's get into the album reviews as this may be my last Top 10 list of the year as starting in November, I gotta sit myself down for the gargantuan, baffling ordeal that will be my Top 200 Albums of 2022. Here are the rules, then on with the albums!
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 in ALPHABETICAL ORDER. Not ranked. I don’t give away my secrets about what will be in the top 100 that easily. 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 them 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 can’t 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.
Abduction- Black Blood
FFO- Black Metal
Abduction has become a black metal band that went from having the very raw sound associated with most one-man metal bands, to their now 4th album which sounds like the entity of Abduction has been taken to the next level. The musicianship and songwriting from A|V is something that is simply astounding and you can tell how much he wants to improve the band to its fullest potential. With their Candlelight Records debut, they are still an underground band to many, but they are rising through the dark light and showing they are a true force to be reckoned with. If this is the band's new direction, Abduction will be one of the premier black metal bands of the 2020s. This is simply black metal done right.
The Antichrist Imperium- Volume III: Satan In All Of His Glory
FFO- Progressive Blackened Death Metal
The 3rd volume of this hell-spewing entity is by far the best release from the collective to date. As a gigantic Akercocke fan, I became infatuated with The Antichrist Imperium in the light of the hiatus of Akercocke at the time, but now that both can exist (and the fact that at least for one show if not completely going forward, Akercocke is the backing band for Anaal Nathrakh); the band has embraced even further into its musical diversity, tight production and of course more power in the name of…Satan...*sips from a glass of wine*. While I know many people who would be turned off by this album simply by the subject matter, if you have am eclectic taste as I do and don’t mind hearing about the glory of Satan, this is a very thought-provoking vision of what music can be and all it entails. Strap yourself in and give in to the power of The Antichrist Imperium.
Avantasia- A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society
FFO- Power Metal, Heavy Metal
Tobias Sammet is back and stronger than ever with the latest Avantasia album. I recently got to talk to Tobi and he even said himself that he rediscovered his love of singing on this album and I’m so glad he did. Every song feels so fresh and inspired whether it is a blistering fast power metal song, a stadium-worthy rock anthem, or a 10-minute epic for all the long-time fans to enjoy. For my tastes with reminds me of the fast and heavy moments of Ghostlights and the melancholic and emotional moments of Moonglow while still getting to be its own entity. With every list I enjoy this album more and with how long I’ve had it and been able to spin it; I can without question say this is my favorite Tobias Sammet album to date. Avantasia is in top form and it will only get better from here on out.
Bloody Hammers- Washed in the Blood
FFO- Gothic Metal, Heavy Metal, Punk, Horror
Bloody Hammers is a band that has never made the same album twice with every album having its own very distinct sound. With this latest release, you hear the change in the band where they decided to throw everything they’ve done against the wall and see what sticks. There is some heavy metal atmosphere in a good amount of songs, there are some upbeat punky numbers thrown in, and a good mix of gothic overtones. And of course, every song is a fantastic, scary horror tale that fits the music perfectly. Washed in the Blood feels like a Best Of album with all new material, which is a very hard feat to be able to pull off successfully. Not only has Bloody Hammers achieved this, but this may also be their best album to date. This is the perfect album to start with if you are brand new to the band as it has everything they’ve done to this point. I can’t wait to see what the next evil chapter of the band has in store for us all.
FFO- Progressive Metal, Dark Metal, Melodic Metal
Canada’s Borealis is another band that has taken the last few years to be able to create their finest masterpiece. Every song off Illusions feels like it could have been single and it would have worked seamlessly. With additional orchestration from Vikram Shankar (Redemption, Lux Terminus, Threads of Fate), it takes already great sounds and makes them mesmerizing. This album is worthy of all the praise it receives as this is a pure high-water mark for the band and dark melodic progressive metal in general. Don’t skip out on this one if this sounds like it may be your bag, you will seriously be missing out if you do.
Exhumed- To The Dead
FFO- Death Metal, Grindcore, Grindgore
Exhumed helped make gore metal a thing and in 2022, it’s just as blistering, pulverizing, and violent as ever. Every song on this bloody LP is filled to the brim with dirty distortion, blast beats, bestial vocals, and horrific lyrics for the horror fan in all of us. 39 minutes of pure devastation and gore metal. I can’t sell it better than that.
Lorna Shore- Pain Remains
FFO- Deathcore, Symphonic Metal, Progressive Metal
Going from a band that I thought very little of in 2015 when I saw them open for Deicide, going through more trials and tribulations of band life than Spinal Tap, and coming out of it all with a stronger lineup and a stronger sense of musicianship than ever before and nearly putting every one of their peers to shame with this 2022 release. Lorna Shore has become a band that will be going down as legendary if they can keep up this kind of momentum. I’m ho0nestly blown away by what is on display here. While others have and will continue to crap on it because it is deathcore or they feel it is overrated; I have no bias here as this is the first album I’ve heard from the band since that 2015 tour and they have accomplished something here that most bands could only ever dream of making. I’m very excited to see where the band goes from here if they can make an orchestrated, progressive death metal style album while still being a deathcore band and have decided to become their own thing instead of following trends. Easily the most shockingly impressive album of the year for me.
Queensryche- Digital Noise Alliance
FFO- Progressive Metal
And continuing with bands who decided to put out their best work in 2022...Queensryche somehow lit a fire that I nor anyone else knew the band needed this new album. The post-Tate era of the band has been completely solid with every album so far, but...this just has something that gives me chills with every listen. It gives me those feelings of when I first heard Empire or Operation: Mindcrime for the first time and if a band that has been around for over 40 years can still pull out tricks like this, it’s got me savoring for the future. The fact that I really do consider this the band’s best album since 1990 if not their best album ever is something I don’t say lightly as a die-hard, lifelong prog fan. Queensryche made an album that has no business being this good, but we live in the timeline where this is reality and while so many other things have gone and will go wrong, at least I know Queensryche is still making killer music and for that, it gives me a reason to smile and keep pushing forward.
Stormruler- Sacred Rites & Black Magick
FFO- 90s 2nd Wave Black Metal
For a band that just put out their debut album last year, Stormruler has gone from a great black metal band to a jaw-dropping, outstanding black metal band in the past year. While their debut album was a fantastic display of the revival of 2nd wave black metal with that ever-so-enjoyable 90s flavor, this album just takes what was great about the debut and maximizes it to its full potential. It’s dark, it’s evil, the production does not suck, and neither member of the band has done any atrocities; so Stormruler already has the advantages to bands like Dissection, Emperor, and Marduk. This is a simply classic throwback album with just the right amount of modernism to make it feel like this album came out at the right time in 2022. Absolutely an album you should not miss out on if you need some more classic black metal in your life, but with, you know, way better production.
THEM- Fear City
FFO- Heavy Metal, Horror Metal
The 4th album from this international powerhouse proves that not only can KK Fossor not be destroyed, but neither can THEM. This time, the story moves ahead all the way to 1981 NYC, and the music and story definitely give that cold, dark, desperate, and dirty feel of NYC at the time. While not giving only the story a great twisted tale to follow, Fear City gives a shot in the arm to the music needed to not only fit the narrative but continue to show the diversity of the band. Considering this album comes out today, the Friday right before Halloween, there is not a more appropriate time to get into the spirit of horror and give this band who has come from showing their appreciation to all things King Diamond to showing their appreciation of all things dark with this new chapter of the KK Fossor tale. Horror concept albums are always a good time and Fear City more than delivers.
And there you have it, folks, another 10 albums down and what could be the last Top 10 list of the year. Next month I begin my endurance-testing endeavor of my Top 200 Albums of the Year. As I’m already getting 2023 albums sent to me, there may be only a few albums that I may miss in the holiday season time to not make the list, as is the case every year, but this time it’s double the length. So as I’m writing up this part, yeah, this IS the last Top 10 Albums of 2022 list for the year. Stay tuned for the last week of November when I begin Heavy Debriefings' Top 200 Albums of 2022. Bigger, Longer, and Sexier.
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)