2022 has felt like a very healthy year for rock and metal, and for every music genre in fact. Bands are back out on tour properly, festivals are back to full capacity, and legends of yesteryear are both going out in style and returning to their former glories. Amongst all of that, we’ve been treated to some truly spectacular albums from both legends of the game, as well as some of the best up and coming artists.
Before I jump into my top 10, I want to give a few honourable mentions to The Wonder Years, Zeal and Ardor, Spider God, and Malevolence who’s new albums all just missed out on a place on my list. Anyway, here are my top 10 albums of 2022.
10. The Interrupters – In The Wild
It’s fair to say you know exactly what you’re getting from an Interrupters record – ska punk bangers that even Rancid can listen to with envy.
In The Wild is no different. Aimee Interrupter puts in not just her best performance to date, but also her most personal one when it comes to songs like Alien and The Hard Way. Meanwhile, in the tracks Raised By Wolves and In The Mirror, the band feel like they’ve mastered the formula for writing hits that will nestle into your brain and live there til the day you die.
9. Stray From The Path – Euthanasia
Probably the album with the most attitude on this list, Stray From The Path are back with their unique brand of outspoken political Hardcore punk that can only be matched by the likes of Rage Against The Machine.
Guillotine is undoubtedly the standout track from the album, but if you like what Stray From The Path do, then you will surely find yourself wanting to run through walls throughout the entirety of Euthanasia.
8. Wormrot – Hiss
Wormrot are the only band on this list who I had no idea existed until this year. Having seen what is undeniably the coolest album cover of the year, I couldn’t help but give the grindcore band from Singapore a go. Oh boy am I glad I did.
Hiss is an album that never stops to breathe, never lets up, and is full of face melting riffs that if Slayer wrote, people would call it the comeback of the century. At only 32 minutes long, Hiss chews you up, spits you out, and leaves you begging for more.
7. Slipknot – The End, So Far
This is a weird one. The End, So Far is almost definitely my least favourite Slipknot album to date, but that doesn’t make it a bad album, far from it in fact.
The majority of this album, aside from the weirdly out-of-character opener, Adderall, feels like a collection of songs that could have easily made up the b-sides for 2019’s We Are Not Your Kind. Thankfully, We Are Not Your Kind is a fantastic album so this can only be a positive. This may not be Slipknot at their best, but it is still Slipknot. Also, H377 is a banger, so it still makes my list.
6. Sabaton – The War To End All Wars
Look, if you don’t already like Sabaton then you might as well skip this entry because the latest album is highly unlikely to change your mind on the Swedish power metal quintet.
They are still cheesy, maybe cheesier than ever with the inclusion of a Christmas song which, in the video, features frontman Joakim Brodén playing a piano in the middle of a snowy World War 1 battlefield.. Yeah, this is Sabaton at their absolute unashamedly corniest. If, like me, you love this shit then of course The War To End All Wars will have you fist pumping the air singing along with tracks that are equally catchy as they are historically inaccurate.
Roll on 2023 when Sabaton take Babymetal and Lordi on tour with them, what a weird and wonderful night that will be!
5. Parkway Drive – Darker Still
It’s no secret that Parkway Drive have set out to change their sound over recent years in order to fill bigger venues and connect with a wider audience. Darker Still carries on this trend and executes it with ferocious intensity with riffs and choruses that has resulted in arena’s across the globe bouncing with joy.
The opening track, Ground Zero, sees Parkway Drive set out their stall early with a soft opening that quickly evolves into a noise of sound that culminates with Winston McCall shouting “drop the beat” before heading into one of the catchiest metal tracks you will hear all year.
The anthems just keep coming and coming on this record. It only ever slows down for songs like the title track Darker Still, where Parkway Drive try their hands and a somewhat Guns n Roses inspired metal ballad, before the likes of Imperial Heretic and Soul Beach bring the pace right back up.
Say what you will about Parkway Drive’s attempt to crack the mainstream, but you can’t deny that Darker Still achieves everything it sets out to do.
4. IBARAKI – Rashomon
In what has become a rarity, 2022 was a year that didn’t actually feature any new Trivium material. As disappointing as that may be, it meant that we were finally treated to Matt Heafy’s long-rumoured side project IBARAKI.
In what was originally meant to be a full-on black metal album, Rashomon evolved into something much, much more. Not only does it still cover black metal, and does it better than most bands who have been doing this for years, it also branches out into samurai ballads where Heafy gets to go full Witcher-inspired bard. In fact, the entire album becomes a rollercoaster of different metal sub-genres that Heafy would maybe never be able to explore with Trivium.
What makes Rashomon even more of a triumph is some of the moments created by Heafy’s famous buddies. Guest spots from Behemoth’s Nergal and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way aren’t just fun cameos, they are some of the best performances ever heard by these all-time greats. Way’s vocal performance in particular was maybe the most shocking moment of 2022.
Toss a coin to IBARAKI if you can, because this side project has turned out to be one of the greatest albums of the year.
3. Blood Command – Praise Armageddonism
“And the third part of the sea became blood; and there was war and havoc! Praise Armageddon!”
Every time I hear this opening, I know I’m in for 36 minutes of pure fucking joy.
Do you want ruthless hardcore anthems? Blood Command has you covered. Do you want the best pop album of 2022? Blood Command is here for you. Do you want to dance like a maniac while destroying your vocal cords to some of the catchiest tunes ever written? Enter Blood Command.
Anybody who knows the music I enjoy will probably be surprised to find this sort of album so high on my list, I mean it was a surprise to me too! But Praise Armageddonism is simply undeniable from minute one. It really feels like the boys from Norway have cracked the code by getting Aussie frontwoman Nikki Brumen on board for this album. Here’s hoping this is a breakout moment for Blood Command, they deserve it.
Saturday City, A Questionable Taste in Friends and pretty much every single second of this album has been burnt and branded onto my brain and has left me singing IF THERE WAS SOMETHING THAT I WANTED TO SAY, THEN I WOULD SAY IT. BUT IT’S ONLY FUCKING SUCKERS IN HERE, SO JUST FORGET IT on repeat, over and over. Go listen to Blood Command, now!
2. Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind
What an absolute monumental moment this was for Coheed and Cambria. The lads from New York have always been famed for their huge concept albums that link up with frontman Claudio Sanchez’s comic book series – The Amory Wars. That was until 2015 when they went more personal before embarking on a brand new story with 2018’s excellent Unheavenly Creatures. In 2022, Coheed came back with part two of their new Vaxis story, and what a triumph this is.
It tells the story of a young boy with potential world changing powers who’s been in a coma since birth, and how his parents will do whatever it takes to save him. Vaxis II is a sprawling narrative told through some of the best songwriting you will ever hear. Beautiful Losers, Comatose, Shoulders, Liars Club and Rise, Naianasha is Coheed at their most joyous and any fan of theirs is all but guaranteed to love these songs.
For me personally, though, it’s the album’s closer – A Window of the Waking Mind that is not only the best song on the album, but potentially the best song Coheed and Cambria have ever produced. It’s grand, it’s epic, and deserves to one day be played live with a full orchestra. It closes part 2 of this adventure in glorious fashion and has made part 3 one of my most anticipated upcoming albums over the next couple of years.
1. Ghost – IMPERA
Now, I’ll admit that before IMPERA, I liked Ghost, but I wasn’t quite on the same hype train as most other people. Well it turns out I was an idiot, an absolute fool, a tit who didn’t know what was good for him. Because Ghost are fucking fantastic, and I finally understand why this band is firmly on it’s way to world domination.
IMPERA does something no other rock or metal band is able to do in 2022, at least not to this level, they are taking our scene to the mainstream. But not in the way that Bring Me The Horizon are big with indie fans, or the way your Dad thinks Greta Van Fleet are the next big thing. And no, they aren’t doing it by selling out either, but instead by writing massive ABBA infused metal anthems that are so undeniable that people have to stand up and take notice. Much the same way Guns n’ Roses, Aerosmith, or Metallica did, but without sounding anything like those bands. Ghost are still uniquely Ghost in every way, no matter how massive these songs are.
Just to put into context how big this collection of songs is – if you selected any song from this album at random, literally any of them, and gave it to an unknown band, they’d likely be able to make money and tour that one song for years. Well Ghost has gone and produced 10 of those.
All of this has given me a new appreciation for just how brilliant Ghost are and even made me go back and appreciate their older material with a new attitude towards them. If Ghost are playing anywhere near you, go. Because I’m telling you now, this band is on a trajectory to the goddamn moon. It won’t be long before they’re headlining festivals and playing stadiums for a price that will make you regret not seeing them now for a reasonable price.
Written and edited by Mikey.