Richard’s Top 10 Albums of 2022
By Richard Oliver
10. Carpenter Brut – Leather Terror
An album which may not be metal but is definitely heavy as hell. Dense and crushing darkwave with influences from metal and 80’s pop. This is such a well-rounded album which is heavy, catchy, poppy and danceable in equal measure. I’m a recent convert to Carpenter Brut and this album impressed me immeasurably and has been on repeat ever since it was released.
9. Kvaen – The Great Below
The second album from the Swedish one-man melodic black metal band and it is a glorious mix of frosty Melodic Black Metal with Thrash licks and 80’s metal guitar virtuosity. It is an album that is equally ferocious sounding as it is gloriously epic. I love the melodic side of Black Metal and this album ticks all the boxes for me.
8. Brymir – Voices In The Sky
I love a bit of bombast in my metal and Brymir delivers that in spadefuls on their fourth album. The Finnish band mix Melodeath, Folk, Power and Symphonic Metal together in glorious fashion in an album that is cinematic in scale as well as being insanely catchy. Absolutely glorious and epic stuff.
7. Septicflesh – Modern Primitive
Another album of metallic bombast. Although there are many bands that mix Symphonic sounds with Extreme Metal, Septicflesh do it the best with cinematic symphonic scores (played by a real orchestra) mixed with bone crushing Death Metal. The band don’t tread any new ground on Modern Primitive but just perfect their style and the results are breathtaking.
6. The Halo Effect – Days Of The Lost
As a massive fan of the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal sound, the announcement of The Halo Effect got me moist. A supergroup made up of all ex-members of In Flames paying homage to that classic Gothenburg style. It isn’t just a throwback to the 90’s incorporating Progressive and Contemporary Metal elements. If you love Melodic Death Metal then this is a must hear album.
5. Evergrey – A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)
Evergrey are one of the most underrated and overlooked bands in Metal and here they continue their purple patch with the fifth in a row of brilliant albums. Dark Melodic Metal that is equally melodic, atmospheric and crushing with fantastic hooks and truly amazing vocals from Tom Englund.
4. Oceans Of Slumber – Starlight And Ash
Oceans Of Slumber dropped a lot of the Metal in their sound and the result is one of the best albums they have done. Billed as ‘New Southern Gothic’ by the band this is a beautiful album with elements of doom, dark Americana and ethereal wave with the gorgeous vocals of Cammie Beverly up front and centre. A stunning atmospheric and emotional album of music.
3. Wilderun – Epigone
Released at the very start of the year, Wilderun floored me with this stunning album of progressive metal. This sits on the heavy side of the Prog Metal spectrum with Extreme Metal sounds mixed with complex song structures, epic symphonic sounds and glorious melodies. It is a complex album that requires attention but the pay off is absolutely worth it.
2. Gaerea – Mirage
Gaerea are a band that have been going from strength to strength and Mirage is easily the best thing the band have done. Taking different elements from the vast genre that is Black Metal, this is an album that is truly ferocious, gloriously atmospheric, subtly melodic and bursting with passion and emotion. Modern Black Metal does not get better than this.
1. An Abstract Illusion – Woe
Albums which mix Progressive and Extreme Metal sounds seem to have made up a lot of this list, but An Abstract Illusion performs it in such breathtaking style. I had not heard this band prior to this release so they are a new discovery and what a discovery they are. This is an album that continually shifts in sound, atmosphere and mood throughout its duration with moments of peaceful calm and intense heaviness sitting alongside each other and crossing into each other in perfect harmony. If you miss Opeth releasing heavy music, then An Abstract Illusion is the band that will easily fill that void for you.
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