FIRST OF ALL, this is in no specific order, and it took me a lot of recollection, and re-listening to go back and really find the albums that spoke to me over the course of 12 months (with few being solid exceptions). SO, before you go on to slap me for hitting up successful artists, or ??? names, be aware that I have reviewed a few of these, and for good reason they’ve stuck with me for one reason or another!
SO, without any further explanations or excuses, here are my TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2022!!
First up is: Naturealism by Egor Lappo
This album blew my mind! It’s a cool blend of Cosmic, Progressive, Melodic, and Experimental Metal with so many complex layers of vocals, and instrumentals that it really took me on an extraordinary journey. Naturealism is the fourth album by multi-instrumentalist and producer Egor Lappo and features an array of talent from vocal range to instrumental spotlights. Tracks like “Forgone Future” hooked me so fast with its Power-metal feel and catchy “time goes on, we’ll never be the same,” tagline. The same goes for the track “Dawn Tracer” with the accompaniment of Francisco Meza dazzling us on some epic guitar riffs. The other-worldly feel on this track is stunning, with a free-flying feel at its core that had me hitting replay again and again.
The first release from the album, “Invisible Walls” gave new listeners a taste of the Cosmic talent that came with Egor’s creative mind. Stunning riffs cascade into a beautiful melody of light-hearted space exploration the takes us through some heavy ups and downs before tossing us into the starlight.
Originally debuting on April 8th, 2022, I reviewed the full album over on Noobheavy.com where you can definitely take in some more of Egor’s amazing tracks from this album. Don’t forget to check him out over on Bandcamp as well!
Trust No Leaders by TCOMAS (The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara)
July was a wicked month for music, and with it came the release of TCOMAS‘ explosive album Trust No Leaders. The UK-based duo became known as the pioneers of expression for their touches on poetic performance through music and lyrics alike. It’s an album unlike any other that features the growing crisis across the globe, and the purity and simplicity of society’s frustrations and sorrows. With tracks featuring psychology, contemporary influence, Persian Classical Poetry, and much much more, this album is worth exploring from end to end to truly take in the creative minds that TCOMAS have come to embrace.
One of my favourites from the album “The Prophet” features Daphne’s incredible narrative skills, delicately but plainly laying out the truths of our fractured reality. The apocalyptic undertones and aggressive riffs on this track are outstanding, with dangerous levels of reality coming in through the senses in a way that is not only heard but tasted, smelled, and felt.
“Count the Dead“, another of my favourites, is an ode to the Governments and their failure to protect their people. TCOMAS‘ expressive and dynamic performance through lyrics, sound, and melody is divine. Throughout this album we not only hear the ferocity in their words but, feel it to our very core.
You can find more from TCOMAS, including some of my favourite tracks like “Count the Dead” and “The Chefs Song” over on their YouTube channel. You can also read my FULL review of the album here: Trust No Leaders. And stay up-to-date on news, announcements, and more via their Facebook page.
The Great Dying by Enhalo
April saw a wondrous barrage of Progressive Elements come into play and Enhalo‘s album The Great Dying combined all those aspects and more to create a memorable and vivid explosion of imagination. With touches of instrumentals and Heavy Metal, there is an essence of peculiarity in each track. “Purifier” sees fragments of heaviness, with blasting drum work, and hypnotic soundscape twisting and turning to paint a skyline of darkness, speckled by a velvet cosmos.
Tracks like “A Moment Frozen in Time” create brilliant, imaginative images of luscious greenery, and cloudless skies. It’s one of the only tracks that offers a bit of relief and clarity from a siege of relentless drum work and soaring riffs. Yet, this track does not stray from the foundations, adding finesse and flare to deepen the experience rather than move away completely.
This album is reminiscent of a side-scrolling, or 64-bit RPG. The dungeon-crawling bass lines, and eerie tones make the journey of every track feel like you’re exploring another darkened corridor. What wonders and shadows await you is yet to be explored, and this album makes a GREAT backing soundtrack to any gaming adventure.
You can find more from Enhalo via their Bandcamp link, and you can also check out my full review for the album over on Noobheavy.com
Strange Machine by Alunah
At this point are we surprised I’ve reviewed a ton of these albums? No? Good. There’s a reason I reviewed them in the first place, and some of them stuck with me LONG past their debut. And THAT is what good music does! In that tradition, Alunah‘s album Strange Machine brought together groove and doom for something that blew me away. Many folks know I’m not that deep into Doom/Sludge Metal at all but this album kept me going back. With a touch of Stoner rock, and vicious Heart-style vocals, I simply couldn’t get enough. An ode to the survival of our last two years through the pandemic, this album was written and rehearsed throughout while adding touches of personal experience to amplify the passion and intensity.
Not only does the title track “Strange Machine” offer up the same, psychedelic-style as the music in their Music Video but, it showcases the band’s instrumental and vocal talents perfectly. Each moment is a signature bit in the spotlight, allowing listeners to take in Alunah‘s completion, while also admiring the individual elements that piece it all together seamlessly.
My favourite tracks were easily “Over The Hills”, “Silver”, and “Teaching Carnal Sins“, and for good reason! “Over The Hills” had the slowed, lingering rock feel that I absolutely adored. “Silver” had some speed elements, and Sian’s vocals absolutely soar on this track. “Teaching Carnal Sins” goes for a slower, heavier mode but once again Sian’s vocals really do it for me on this track (and the whole album honestly) with some velvet lows and astounding highs that really caught me off guard.
The groove of this album is infectious, and you can snag your own copy via the Strange Machine link. You can also read my full review of the album – here!
Rakshak by Bloodywood
The TLDR version would be Bollywood meets Metal but that’s far too simple for the level of intricacies these guys have incorporated in their expression. Utilizing both English and Hindi lyrics in each of their tracks, Bloodywood kind of hid under the radar for awhile, offering up covers while dropping a few singles here and there in near silence. “Gaddaar” came out a year ago, and showed the world that Indian Folk Metal could go way harder than anyone had ever anticipated.
The mix of clean/harsh and rap vocals are reminiscent of Linkin Park and the Nu Metal era but, Bloodywood goes heavier and harder with each verse. My favourite track off the album “Aaj” has seen more recent favouritism, being added to numerous Spotify playlists, and adding more of the flute and Folk element which definitely caught my attention.
Not only is each track laced with smooth melodies and infectious verses, but they hold their own story and message as well. “Aaj” is about finding the strength to become who you want to be, and defeat the Demons holding you down. Tracks like “Yaad” feels more Nu Metal, with a lighter, slower addition, and one that’s seen less popularity but deserves far, far more. With beautiful clean vocals, and the emotional heaviness needed, “Yaad” goes just as hard as its popular predecessors.
You can snag your own copy of Rakshak via the Bloodywood Bandcamp, and don’t forget to follow the band on all socials for updates, news, and more!
The Death of Peace of Mind by Bad Omens
Before you go skipping the rest of my list because of this one, shush. If you go beyond the screaming fangirls and tiktok trending, sit down and listen to this album ALL the way through, you’ll find out it’s not just pretty darn good – it’s FANTASTIC. Having formed in 2015, Bad Omens spent much of its touring time as a support band – an opening act. Old albums and singles are getting new love like never before, all for a brief reaction moment on the social media app, TikTok that featured the track “Just Pretend.”
Having reviewed one of the newer tracks “Artificial Suicide” off the 2022 album The Death of Peace of Mind, I felt the old tones of Bad Omens return. With the harsh vocals in the style like “Glass Houses” and “The Worst In Me” I was immediately enthralled to find they’d released new music. I’d sat on Bad Omens for so long, having really been touch and go on their work throughout the years but, this album was a change. They had shifted from their Nu Metal feel, that reminded me of old Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park in tone and vocals, and evolved to more Metalcore.
“Just Pretend” has raked in more than 30 million streams on Spotify, with the title track “The Death of Peace of Mind” closing in at 25 Million. The entire album is a mixture of hardcore and tenderness, like a kitten with those lovely, needle-like claws ready to purr and then tear your legs apart. Their North American Tour “A Tour of the Concrete Jungle” saw record sellout times, nearly rivaling T.Swift when it came to ticket frenzy. Resellers jacked prices up more than 3x the cost, and some venues massively oversold. Bad Omens has seen success beyond comprehension, with Merch selling out the moment its restocked, and preorders for their new jacket quickly tallying up.
But, cast aside the trendiness of Social Media, and the fans frothing at the mouth, and you’ve got an album that’s more than just well-rounded and ‘good’. There’s heaviness, emotion, passion, and creativity. There’s some absolutely terrifying breakdowns, and some divine melodies. Mix that all with Noah’s talented vocal range from tranquil to demonic and you have the essence that truly is The Death of Peace of Mind.
My favourite tracks are still “Artificial Suicide” “The Death of Peace of Mind” and “What do you want from me?”
You can read my full review for “Artificial Suicide” via the link, and check out merch and more via the Bad Omens website!
Ecdysis by Infected Rain
Ecdysis – the process of shedding one’s old skin, or shell. And in that sense, that’s what Infected Rain did with this album that dropped January 7th, 2022. This is an album that didn’t earn my appreciation immediately. It took me a few listens but, the gradual influence and focus got me to really appreciate the technical skill and expertise that was put into each and every track. Ecdysis is a staple in my daily playlists, with tracks like “Postmortem Pt. 1” still holding the top spot. The uncommon sound and beats that come through this album are second to none. It’s an album that requires repeated listens, all the way through, to truly grasp how intricately composed this album truly is, and absolutely become engulfed in the messages confidently expressed throughout.
“Longing” brought about my new admiration for Lena’s impossible vocal range. The tender lows, angelic and calm that completely flip into guttural growls is downright terrifying. The lyrics, perfectly expressed in Lena’s vocal composition are deep, with our ‘longing’ for what we don’t have, and lack of appreciation for what we do really coming through on this track.
It’s still difficult to truly pick out favourites from this album, with my preferences lingering on “Longing”, the “Postmortem” pair, and “Nine,Ten” still holding up but, my regular listens now have found me keeping pace with the entire album.
You can read my full review of Ecdysis over on Metalgoddesses.com. You can also follow Infected Rain on Instagram, Facebook, and check out their Bandcamp for news, reviews and more!
A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) by Evergrey
If you thought I could skip out on Tom Englund’s vocals, you were dead wrong. Something about his vocal prowess absolutely captivates me every. single. time. A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) is no exception to this rule. You can clearly see how absolutely in LOVE with this album I was from my early reviews of “Midwinter Calls” and “Call Out The Dark” (linked below), and the imagery they not only compose visually but, musically as well.
One of Sweden’s most successful, their influence in the Progressive Metal scene is constantly evolving. What we come to expect over time is quickly shifted, and turned yet, still just as enticing as before. Earlier tracks like “Where August Mourns” show the evolution to the album we have now, while older favourites like “More Than Ever” show the heavier side that was gradually sculpted by instrumentals into the beauty we have now.
To say I listen to this album VERY loudly would be an absolute understatement. I try to conquer the same vocal highs as Tom does to no avail but by the GODS do I love to try and at least listen along. The story of this album, and each of its tracks, surrounded me and I still have yet to find my way out of the shadows but, I’m totally okay with that.
My favourite tracks, that I listen to at IMPOSSIBLE levels are still “Call Out The Dark,” and “Save Us“, with “Wildfires” quickly following up for its acoustic, vocal-fronted variation. Everything about this album is fan-fucking-tastic, and I will hear no arguments about it.
You can find my full reviews for “Midwinter Calls” and “Call Out The Dark” via the links. You can snag your OWN copy of A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament) by Evergrey via their Bandcamp! Don’t forget to check their website for updates, news, and more!
Warfront by Windrose
You absolutely had to know there would be some Power Metal very HIGH on my AoTY list, and naturally, HERE IT IS! Warfront by Windrose dropped June 10th, 2022 and gave us the Dwarven-forged, Fantasy-filled, Power Metal we’ve all been craving. To say I was INSANELY excited for this album would be down-playing my love for this band way too much, so we won’t even go there. I’d already reviewed one of my favourite singles from this album when it dropped, so it was hard not to review it in its ENTIRETY when it finally was in my grasp.
The Italian-based, Dwarven-powered group has seen their popularity soar over the past few years, with remixes cranking their popular tracks up even more so. “Diggy Diggy Hole” but as an EDM mix? Absolutely! Give me more! But, it was the signature, Fantasy-inspired beats that really got me into Windrose in the first place. With tracks touching on Warhammer and LOTR it was hard not to let my nerdy side show through when it came to these guys.
With anthem-like hits, and lines like “Rise! Dwarves in a line! (RISE!)” how do you NOT get hyped from ANY or ALL of these tracks!?
With “Gates of Ekrund” dropping, I was vibrating in my seat. And “Together We Rise” is still a daily, okay more like nearly hourly, staple for my music of the day. Warfront is FILLED with heavy, catchy, amazing tunes and it’s so SO hard not to listen to it all the way through whenever ONE song pops into my headphones. I workout to “Army of Stone“, I drive to work blasting “Fellows of the Hammer“, and so many more!
Sing, drink, and feast alongside Dwarves on this album. And when you’ve had enough relaxing, grab your hammer, or axe, or sword and run into battle with them to the fiery, speedy beats that span Warfront from end to end!
You can read my full reviews for the tracks “Gates of Ekrund” and “Together We Rise” here, and my FULL album review for Warfront here!
And for my #1 and the ONLY one I would actually tack a # to because it has been with me since before its release, and absolutely has sculpted not only my writing pieces this year but, often how I move, and how I’ve come to comprehend. For ONE album to have SO many tracks that I repeat on a regular day, that have brought me to tears, made me scream out loud, and got me absolutely fired up is VERY rare. I’m still kicking myself for being too ill to see them live last year, but I will NEVER miss out again….
My #1 AoTY title goes to HALO by AMORPHIS
This album has absolutely captured my thoughts, spirit, and soul in a way I cannot possibly explain. Released on February 11th, 2022 Halo has not only been my rock throughout 2022 but, a source of inspiration, and peace for my very being. The 14th Studio album for these Finnish Progressive Metallers, my brain cannot wrap itself around anything from Amorphis that has sounded better, or more influential on my spirit (and no this is not up for debate, I will send you 4 testaments worth of text as to WHY, HOW, and MORE if absolutely necessary – and I’m talking BIBLICAL testaments).
From start to finish, this album is FILLED with a myriad of musical elements showing off not only the band’s progressive feel but, their skill as well. From the key-introduction of “Northwards” to the adventurously harsh vocals in “Seven Roads Come Together” there are so many varying inspirations and influences on this album that it’s an absolute journey to fully embrace. I’ve felt the soaring in high skies, the weight of an oar upon dark waters, and the sorrow of being war-torn all in one.
Tomi’s vocals on this album obliterate me at my very core. At one moment it’s a warm hand offering you a help up, and on another it’s the skeletal, cold fingers of death pulling you toward the waters of Tuonela. There’s a wildness about this album that comes with tracks like “The Wolf” and “The Moon” for its more ethereal base. There’s simply SO MUCH in this album, musically, lyrically, and through story that it isn’t a simple ride but, a long, winding adventure down the many roads that pave who we are.
I am absolutely over the moon for this album and every track upon it. From how loudly I play “Halo” and the way it makes me feel like I’m floating, to the depth of “My Name is Night” and the way I can close my eyes and see each and every verse played out like a movie.
If I can pick one, and ONLY one album to listen to front to back for an ENTIRE YEAR it would by Amorphis‘ – Halo. And you know what, I’ll do it anyways. I still cannot actually put into words how this album makes me feel, and how much its become a part of my very existence but, I can tell you to absolutely listen to it, IMMEDIATELY without interruption!
You can find my full review for HALO via the link. You can also snag your own copy of Halo here!