Hello everyone and welcome to the penultimate segment of Heavy Debriefings' Top 150 Albums of 2022. It is indeed Part IX 20-11. I know that this is where most people will have started paying attention, that is not lost on me. Some will think that I just should have done a Top 20 and be done with it. To that, I say, well what about these other 130 albums that deserve just as much attention. I love every album that I put on this list and want to show them off equally. My ranking order is not as important as getting the word out about these albums to continue showing that there is great new music out there and I defy you to try to find one album on here you can't enjoy and if you can't, there are plenty of other music lists out there for you to enjoy. But rant over. Let's get into it, let's get into the top 20 of the year. First the rules, then we begin!
1.) This is a 10-part List running from November 28th to December 9th. The first week is Albums 150-51. 20 Albums a day in countdown order. The 2nd week is the Top 50 with 10 albums a day counting down all the way to number 1.
2.) There are no EPs, Live Albums, Remake Albums, Cover Albums, or Rarity Albums. It is a list of all brand-new studio albums released in 2022.
3.) The order of each entry is as follows: Band Name, Album Title, FFO (For Fans Of) Section, Paragraph or less description of said album.
4.) The list takes into account albums that are released between January 1st, 2022, and December 9th, 2022. Yes, the last few weeks of the year are not included and there is no reason you should be releasing music in that time frame if you want people to check out your album in a calendar year. That's on you.
5.) This list is mine and mine alone. I was not paid or asked to put any album on this list.
6.) As it is impossible to add every single heavy album in a single year, I can only add what I've heard and enjoyed. If an album is not on here that you feel should have been it is because either A.) I didn't hear it, B.) I didn't hear it enough, or C.) It wasn't my bag...baby.
7.) This is a list of my TOP 150 albums of 2022. Not just 150 albums I heard this year. I heard much more than that and narrowed things down to the ones that I want to showcase. Your favorite album or discovery from this list could be at 1, 23, 78, 104, or 150. You don't know unless you check the whole list and check out anything that may appeal to you. I'm just the messenger giving you good music and my own thoughts, but I really do enjoy every single album listed and recommend you check these out at your own discretion.
8.) Enjoy the ride, make some new discoveries, and check out some new music. If between all 150 albums listed you can't find one that you enjoy, you're reading the wrong list.
And now onto today’s segment of the list
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.
And there you go folks, the first half of the top 20 is done. 140 albums are in the books and tomorrow brings the grand finale. Heavy Debriefings' Top 150 Albums of 2022 Part X The Top 10. This has been a great ride and I hope you join me for what will be a star-studded (at least in my eyes) display of my favorite albums of the year all leading to number 1. Until tomorrow, for Heavy Debriefings, This is Josh Rundquist Saying, see ya!
- Josh Rundquist (Heavy Debriefings)