10. Wolfheart - King Of The North (1 of 3)
(16/09 - Napalm Records)
Whenever Wolfheart releases a new album, there is a good chance it will end up in our AOTY list that year. Which is exactly what happened again in 2022. Tuomas Saukkonen is a true gem and legend of the Finnish metal scene and whatever he creates usually turns into gold in his hands. Last time Wolfheart released a concept album depicting some of the horrors of the Winter War and was thoroughly impressive. Thinking that they wouldn’t be able to top that with a new release, they proved us wrong with ‘King Of The North‘. An album that brings everything Wolfheart is known for while still bringing in some new elements to keep things exciting and the listeners on their toes. The addition of more prominently present clean vocals by Vagelis Karzis brought another dimension to the music that is highly appreciated, reminding us of fantastic bands like Borknagar or Enslaved. And if that wasn’t enough, the vocal guests Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage (on ‘Ancestor‘) and Karl Sanders from Nile (on ‘Cold Flame‘), elevated those tracks into something special. A killer album of one of Finland’s best bands around.
10. Muse - Will of the People (2 of 3)
(26/08 - Warner / Helium-3)
Muse has risen to be one of the biggest rock acts of the last couple of decades and with ‘Will of the People‘, their 9th full-length studio album, they still managed to turn quite a few heads. Some of the songs on this album, like the first single ‘Won’t Stand Down’ for instance, are some of the heaviest stuff they’ve released in a while and surprised many people. I guess some forgot how heavy Muse used to be on the more regular. The whole album impressed with a wide variety of sounds and styles, basically covering everything they’ve done over the past almost 3 decades of existence. An album that can probably be counted as one of their better ones in years.
Read the full review here.
10. Ghost - Impera (3 of 3)
(11/03 - Loma Vista)
It’s undeniable that Ghost is one of the most talked about bands of the last decade with a pretty much meteoric rise. With their 5th full-length studio album ‘Impera‘ they continued to impress with their storytelling and some creative songwriting. While they might not be to everyone’s taste (anymore), there is no denying that songs like ‘Spillways‘, ‘Hunter’s Moon‘ and the very quirky ‘Twenties‘ are some killer stuff. Ghost will continue to conquer the world with their unholy live rituals, and records filled with catchy music like this will definitely help that to move along nicely!
For the full review go here.
9. Electric Callboy - TEKKNO (1 of 3)
(16/09 - Century Media Records)
Electric Callboy has been booming over the past couple of years with several videos that went viral and had as good as every single YouTube video reactor with something to say about their work. While they have become synonymous with their crazy antics, party-inducing songs and hilarious videos, these guys should not be underestimated. Their new album ‘TEKKNO‘ had a surprising variety with metalcore party bangers to pop/skate punk vibes with ‘Fuckboi‘ (featuring Conquer Divide), or even a touch of deathcore with ‘Hurrikan‘ or more serious tracks like ‘Mindreader‘. And wherever they’ve taken over a stage during 2022, every venue had its roof blown off with the party that ensued. And they’re setting out to have an even bigger 2023 with headline tours throughout both Europe and the US, besides some amazing spots on many European festival line-ups!
Read the full review here.
9. Kreator - Hate über Alles (2 of 3)
(10/06 - Nuclear Blast)
What a time to be alive it’s been lately for any fan of old school thrash! And especially for those who are into the Teutonic style of thrash metal. In 2022 we got new music from all 4 of the “Big 4 of German thrash” and Kreator’s new album ‘Hate über alles’ took the crown here. Title track ‘Hate über alles’ was a relentless piece of thrash metal that made many metalheads’ heart pumping and that was the case for most of the record. They really seemed to want to set the record straight that even the old thrash metal bands can still bring the heat. The whole album was filled with killer track after killer track with tasty riffs and guitar solos and an undeniable driving groove behind it all.
9. Malevolence - Malicious Intent (3 of 3)
(20/5 - Nuclear Blast Records)
Malevolence is a band that has been quite the name within the hardcore scene, known for their incredible shows and attitude, but hadn’t really properly broken through yet. With their new album ‘Malicious Intent‘, that has come to change. Video reactors started to pick up on their singles and people all over the world were amazed by the chugging grooves of their brand of metallic hardcore. At times, they’re somewhat reminiscent of Hatebreed (but more groovy at times) and that’s definitely not a bad thing! As good as every single song makes you want to jump into a moshpit and jump around with the crowd, shouting along with the lines like there’s no tomorrow. And even when they dared to venture into ballad territory, they never lost their signature sound and absolutely killed it. A lot of people took note of them even more after catching them as openers for the Trivium/Heaven Shall Burn European tour, and soon they’ll be invading the US soil, again supporting Trivium. These guys are going to take the world by storm, you can be rest assure!
8. Heilung - Drif (1 of 2)
(19/08 - Season of Mist)
Heilung is another musical project that has been taking the world by storm. This collective of extremely talented people are managing to put out some of the most amazing soundscapes, bringing the energy of nature, and a connection with the ancestors to ecstatic people all over the world. While this is a band you need to experience at one of their live rituals to fully grasp what they are about, a studio album by them is every time a bit of a happening. Immerse yourself in their trance-inducing tunes, with ‘Tenet‘ even including a song that is in every aspect a palindrome where you could play the song backwards, and it would still sound the same as when you’d play it normally. Yet another example of how extremely skilled these people are!
8. Machine Head - Of Kingdom And Crown (2 of 2)
(26/08 - Nuclear Blast)
If you had told us several years ago that a new Machine Head album would be featured in one of our AOTY articles, we probably would have laughed with you. But Machine Head with Rob Flynn at its helm, really killed it with ‘Of Kingdom And Crown‘. Inspired by ‘Attack on Titan‘, this is the very first concept album by the band, telling the story of two antiheroes with intertwining lives. But not just the overall concept is already highly intriguing, also the music is some of the best they’ve put out in a long time. Comparisons with the instant classic that was ‘The Blackening‘ popped up everywhere, and we have to admit that this is an album we got really excited about. The Machine Head we all love and hope to see and hear more of in the future!
7. Wiegedood - There's Always Blood At The End Of The Road (1 of 2)
(14/01 - Century Media Records)
By breaking free from the mold that Belgian black metal act Wiegedood had created for themselves with the ‘De Doden Hebben Het Goed‘ trilogy, ‘There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road‘ really carved out a special spot for the band in the firmaments of the black metal genre. Being freed from their earlier formula, they went above and beyond, creating a masterpiece of aggression, unease, discomfort and unbridled chaos. The complexity and speed of the tracks with haunting and downright creepy samples makes for a compelling and challenging piece of music. So much so that one of Belgium’s most fascinating and intriguing acts has managed to survive a whole year of excellent releases to end up in our AOTY list still!
For the full review go here.
7. Psychonaut - Violate Consensus Reality (2 of 2)
(28/10 - Pelagic Records)
Back in 2020, Psychonaut‘s debut full-length ‘Unfold the God Man‘ was crowned as our favorite album of the year even though it was a re-release on their present label Pelagic Records (check out that article here). So it didn’t come much as a surprise that Psychonaut’s second full-length album ‘Violate Consensus Reality’ ended up in our AOTY list of 2022. Building further on the amazing and mesmerizing post-metal sound that mixes influences coming from 70s bands like Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd with modern artists like Tool or country mates Amenra, ‘Violate Consensus Reality‘ is yet again a musical masterpiece that will take you on a magical trip of emotions and passion. And this time with guest appearances of Amenra‘s Colin and Brutus‘ Stefanie on the title track, they really stepped things up even more. Psychonaut is quickly becoming one of the more prolific bands coming from Belgium, and will continue to amaze people all around the world.
6. Lorna Shore - Pain Remains
(14/10 - Century Media Records)
The band that is making deathcore a genre that is being listened to, or at least tried, by tons of people that would have never dreamed of listening to anything that falls under that category, simply needed to be mentioned in our AOTY list. Lorna Shore has basically gone viral with as good as every song they’ve released the past couple of years. It seems that with the addition of Will Ramos on vocals, they’ve finally found the voice to go with the music that always has been on an incredible level, the piece that basically completes the puzzle. One could say that it’s only because of Will‘s exceptional vocals of a range that works as a shock factor, however looking at how they manage to mix a symphonic soundscape with the extreme sound of deathcore, they really gone beyond the limitations the genre might bring with it. And the fact that they’ve managed to make a bunch of people cry through the release of the triplet song ‘Pain Remains‘, including absolutely captivating videos, shows that they really are a band that have made an art of creating a whole experience that goes beyond just being extreme for extreme’s sake. An absolute monster of an album!
5. Bad Omens - The Death of Peace of Mind (1 of 2)
(25/02 - Sumerian)
Bad Omens have been exploding lately with a basically sold out tour in the US and some massive shows. With ‘The Death of Peace of Mind‘, they released their 3rd full-length album, only a couple of years after their former release. It doesn’t mean that the quality is lacking, on the contrary. They managed to mix metalcore, hard rock and even touches of nu metal into a tasty blend that sounds extremely familiar, while still being fresh and unique enough to distinguish themselves among their peers with catchy, emotional and at times really heavy compositions. The addition of synths and electronic music brought in a fresh wind in their music and going on the reactions worldwide, and the fact that it’s featured in this list, they made a good move. If anything we’re saying here speaks to you, make sure you don’t miss out on this album if you are not familiar yet!
Read the full review here.
5. Sylvaine - Nova (2 of 2)
(03/04 - Season of Mist)
In 2018, last time Sylvaine released a full-length album with ‘Atoms Aligned, Coming Undone‘, she ended up in our top 10 as well (check it out here). So again, it didn’t come as a big surprise that Kathrine Shepard aka Sylvaine ended up quite high up in here with ‘Nova‘. She managed to go even beyond our wildest expectations with absolutely stunning compositions that flow from soothing, atmospheric soundscapes into outbursts of black metal tinged aggression, but also dares to stay completely on the soft dreamy side on the regular. The combination of her classical training and skills in composing and arranging with the pure and raw emotions, result in really exceptional music. “Blackgaze” is almost too limiting of a term to put on this release and if you’re looking for something that gets you to a magical world, you don’t want to sit on this one.
4. Parkway Drive - Darker Still
(09/09 - Epitaph Records)
After a pretty tumultuous time for the extremely popular Australian metalcore outfit Parkway Drive and a lot of working on themselves, they really came out of the gates with this one. As the album title already hints at, ‘Darker Still‘ is darker than usual, but with absolutely outstanding quality. So much energy and emotion is coming from the songs on the album. You feel that this was some sort of outlet for the band to share their frustrations, their anger towards the situation in the world. But they will always give it their all, and you can clearly hear that in this masterpiece full of both new surprises and older classic Parkway Drive sounds.
Read the full review here.
3. Lamb Of God - Omens
(07/10 - Nuclear Blast / Epic)
Lamb of God, one of the more popular contemporary metal bands around and a significant member of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement, was back with their 11th full-length release ‘Omens‘! After the rather unfortunate timing of the self-titled album before this one, right at the beginning of the pandemic, and the following lack of touring, they sat down and cranked out yet another album with this one, ready to blow the world to pieces as soon as touring was possible again. As is quite usual, the album is interlaced with social commentary and awareness of environmental issues, but also sounds as heavy and pissed-off as ever. Hints of hardcore punk could be found throughout the album, feeding that feeling of anger more than ever before. With this album it felt to a lot of fans that Lamb of God got back some of its “oomph” and heaviness of their early days, and we believe that it will most definitely continue to push the band to the higher atmospheres of popularity!
2. Rammstein - Zeit
(29/04 - Universal)
Rammstein has been setting the world on fire for the past couple of decades and seem to not be planning to slow down any bit. After touring all over the world, putting arenas ablaze with their exceptional live show, and releasing a great album back in 2019 after a long recording hiatus, now in 2022 they hit us with their 8th full-length album ‘Zeit‘. As to be expected from this institution, the album is filled with industrial bangers, quirky songs and melancholic tracks. They definitely did not disappoint one bit with songs like the pumping ‘Angst‘, the hilarious ‘Dicke Titten‘ or epics like ‘Zeit‘ and ‘Adieu‘ with matching intriguing videos, just to point out the singles. Another fantastic album of a band that has grown into one of the most popular heavy acts around right now, and no surprise that they ended up this high in our list.
1. Zeal & Ardor - Zeal & Ardor
(11/02 - MVKA)
Zeal & Ardor isn’t an unfamiliar sight either in our AOTY lists. Every single time they brought an album into this world, they have been featured at the top of our list. And 2022’s self-titled album was so impressive that we find it on top of everything, crowning this rather diverse and impressive list of releases. They continued their narrative where the American slaves turned to Satan instead of God, musically mixing sounds reminiscent of that culture with black metal and this time around with a more stronger presence of industrial metal. Blues, synths, extreme metal, atmospheric parts calling in blackgaze and post-rock vibes, to even breakdowns at times, all coming together into a unique blend that has become the signature sound of Zeal & Ardor. This release is at the same time their most haunting and heaviest album as of yet. They are a unique band in the realm of heavy metal and there seems no limit to where they could go.
And as always there are a bunch of runner up releases that we still want to share in case there is something interesting you might have missed last year:
|Halestorm – Back from the Dead|
|Shape of Despair – Return to the Void|
|Bloodywood – Rakshak|
|Shinedown – Planet Zero|
|Wormrot – Hiss|
|Author & Punisher – Krüller|
|Fateful Finality – Emperor of the Weak|
|Immolation – Acts of God|
|Incandescence – Le Cœur De L’Homme|
|Julma Henri – aaa|
|Knoll – Metempiric|
|Mizmor/Thou – Myopia|
|Motionless in White – Scoring The End Of The World|
|Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash|
|The Mars Volta – The Mars Volta|
|The Callous Daoboys – Celebrity Therapist|
|Avantasia – a Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society|
|Blind Guardian – The God Machine|
|Celestial Season – Mysterium I|
|Days of Desolation – Circles|
|E-L-R – Vexier|
|Inanna – Void of Unending Depths|
|Meshuggah – Immutable|
|Puhelinseksi – Vieraita Toisillemme|
|The Weeknd – Dawn FM|
|Thundermother – Black & Gold|
|Viagra Boys – Cave World|
|Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram|
|Black Keys – Dropout Boogie|
|Chaotian – Effigies of Obsolescence|
|Cloud Rat – Threshold|
|Cobra the Impaler – Colossal Gods|
|Devin Townsend – Lightwork|
|Fit For An Autopsy – Oh What The Future Holds|
|King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard – Omnium Gatherum|
|Mantar – Pain Is Forever And This Is The End|
|Michael Monroe – I Live Too Fast To Die Young|
|Star One – Revel in Time|
|The Devil Wears Prada – Color Decay|
|$uicideboy$ & Germ – DIRTIESTNASTIEST$UICIDE|
|Alter Bridge – Paws and King’s|
|Architects – The Classic Symptoms of a Broken Spirit|
|AURORA – The Gods We Can Touch|
|Cave In – Heavy Pendulum|
|Dayseeker – Dark Sun|
|Dragged Under – Upright Animals|
|Monuments – In Stasis|
|Russian Circles – Gnosis|
|Sedimentum – Suppuration morphogénésiaque|
|The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost|
|Vanaheim – Een Verloren Verhaal|
|Venom Prison – Erebos|
|Doodseskader – Year One|
|Chat Pile – God’s Country|
|Comeback Kid – Heavy Steps|
|Ignite – Ignite|
|Lord Belial – Rapture|
|Old Sorcery – Dragon Citadel Elegies|
|Silverstein – Misery Made Me|
|Simple Plan – Harder Than it Looks|
|Slipknot – The End So Far|
|Steve Vai – inviolate|
|The Hellacopters – Eyes of Oblivion|
|Wednesday 13 – Horrifier|
|Amon Amarth – Great Heathen Army|
|Animals As Leaders – Parrhesia|
|Antigama – Whiteout|
|Assumption – Hadean Tides|
|Billy Talent – Crisis Of Faith|
|Bilmuri – Goblin Hours|
|Chelsea Grin – Suffer In Hell|
|Counterparts – A Eulogy for Those Still Here|
|Eddie Vedder – Earthling|
|Kissin Dynamite – Not the End of The Road|
|Korn – Requiem|
|SepticFlesh – Modern Primitive|
|Sleeping With Sirens – Complete Collapse|
|Watain – The Agony & The Ecstasy of Watain|
|Alestorm – Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum|
|Ataraxy – The Last Mirror|
|Bite Down – Damage Control|
|Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror|
|Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait|
|Foreseen – Untamed Force|
|Gaerea – Mirage|
|I Prevail – True Power|
|Messa – Close|
|Power Paladin – With the Magic of Windfyre Steel|
|Static Dress – Rouge Carpet Disaster|
|Belmont – Aftermath|
|Darkane – Inhumane Spirits|
|Goodbye June – See Where The Night Goes|
|Mantah – Evoke|
|Morbific – Squirm Beyond The Mortal Realm|
|My Sleeping Karma – Atma|
|Nova Twins – Supernova|
|Pist.On – Cold World+|
|Scorpions – Rock Believer|
|Stormruler – Sacred Rites & Black Magick|
|Teethgrinder – Dystopia|
|Autopsy – Morbidity Triumphant|
|Battle Beast – Circus of Doom|
|Caliban – Dystopia|
|Crosses – Permanent.Radient|
|Cryptic Hatred – Nocturnal Sickness|
|Flor – Future Shine|
|Fontaines D. C. – Skinty Fia|
|Killswitch Engage – Live at the Palladium|
|Megadeth – The Sick, The Dying… The Dead|
|Spite – Dedication To Flesh|
|The Cult – Under the midnight sun|
|The Sawtooth Grin – Good.|
|The Violent – The Violent EP|
|White Ward – False Light|
|Cabal – Magno Interitus|
|Anti-Flag – The General Strike (10yrs anniversary)|
|Avril Lavigne – Love Sux|
|Brutus – Unison Life|
|Dance With The Dead – Driven to Madness|
|Dawn Of Solace – Flames Of Perdition|
|Dead At Birth – Demo|
|Infected Rain – Ecdysis|
|Municipal Waste – Electrified Brain|
|Phobophilic – Enveloping Absurdity|
|Soilwork – overgivenheten|
|STAKE – Love, Death & Decay|
|Wargasm (UK) – EXPLICIT: The MiXXXtape|
|Yungblud – YUNGBLUD|
|Blackbraid – Blackbraid I|
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