Thursday 22 December 2022

CD Top 22 of 2022

2022 was a good year for almost all genres I love. Making a top 22 turned out to be pretty hard therefore. Still not making a list was no option as by reading other people's lists I always discover some gems that I simply missed, due to a huge number of releases each month. A quick thanks to Matt Manofmuchmetal, Andy DPRP, Aardschok, iOPages and Angry Metal Guy is needed as some of the new bands on my list I might have missed alltogether, So thank you very much indeed. Main target of this list is that one person checks out one album he or she missed. As I found a good blend of known names and deep underground bands I guess that should be possible. Here's my favorite 22 of 2022 (well 23 as I did a Pardo at one point)

22. Black Swan - Generation Mind
Robin McAuley once again shows he aged best after Glenn Hughes of all vocal heroes from my past. If the band than is made up by Reb Beach, Jeff Pilson and Matt Starr quality is guaranteed. Great songs I can hear anytime, anywhere to speak with mr McAuley.

21. WAIT - The End of Noise
Yet another Max Phelps highlight. With Exist comrade Alex Weber and Charlie Eron on guitars. Progressive Death Metal it says, but with the amount of clean vocals definitely accessible to many.

20. An Abstract Illusion - Woe
This was a fastest ever. Reading Matt's review, listening on bandcamp, ordering the album immediately after and the next day confirmed for PPE 2023. Am I looking forward? yes lots a highlight of the festival guaranteed if they can come even close to the album on stage.

19. Kings of Mercia - Kings of Mercia 
A year without Fates Warning never had so many releases with members of the band pleasing me. Here Jim Matheos and Steve Overland found each other and Joey Vera helped out. One of the best melodic rock metal albums in a long time. Probably Jim Matheos can't do average.

18. Saxon - Carpe Diem / Satan - Earth Infernal
Here is my double (Pardo - Sea of Tranquility) pick. NWOBHM can not be absent in any best of list. I missed White Spirit so far but Saxon and Satan both came with very strong albums like they always seem to be releasing. Missed them live, loved their albums

17. Tribe of Names - Evolver
Sometimes I feel like playing something different. Often Simon Godfrey knows what I  mean. First with Tinyfish, than Shineback and solo, followed by Valdez. Now here is Tribe of Names. Progrock without keyboards, lots of great guitars and just happy music.

16. Voivod - Synchro Anarchy
Somehow I never got into Voivod like I should. I lost Angel Rat and Nothing face in my 1995 apartement robbery and loved The Wake. Now they confirm being as solid as ever. Missing their show due to FNAC messup in Lisbon I will be there at Prognosis and not miss a second.

15. Marillion - An Hour Before It's Dark
Yes they did it again. Where I thought of losing them when 15 years ago they released Somewhere Else and Happiness their two worst albums in a row. The last three releases corrected that dip and this is pure poetry again. Noone can sing about Covid like Steve Hogarth can. 

14. Trial  - Feed the Fire
I thought that losing Linus Johanson on vocals would be hard to get over. I was wrong. Vessel my favorite album of 2015 can never be topped, but here Trial show again why they are my favorite Heavy Metal band of the past decade. Come back to Holland please.

13. Parius - The Signal Heard Throughout Space
13-11 are albums I got so recent they are hard to rank, but definitely among my 2022 favorites. Parius bring a form of progressive metal with a Sci-Fy story. Luckily no Ayreon in sight, so really good and far from boring. Surprise tip by iOPages this was. Will be played lots.

12. Threshold - Dividing Lines
Threshold never disappoint. This one sounds a lot like the Mac years and is filled with catchy hooks and songs. Glynn Morgan possibly showing his best vocals ever. Waiting for them in de Boerderij.

11. Disillusion - Maya
Only received this week, but two spins convinced me that this is one of the 2022 highlights. Their best with their debut probably and already curious for their set at Prognosis.

10. Chaos Frame - Entropy
When Aardschok tips bands for ProgPower it usually is Metal Mike and he likes his prog to be metal. This being their third album I missed the first two, but this is just good old progmetal as it maybe always should have stayed. So PPE are you readig along? Some of the older generation would love this band in Baarlo indeed.

9. O.R.K. - Screamnasium
I am so pleased to see that this band got confirmed for Prognosis. First they are awesome, but second they deserve to get exposure to wider audience in Holland. Funny how Colin Edwin was not invited for the Porcupine Tree reunion and than released a much better album. 

8. Ard - Take Up My Bones
Thanks Matt for the tip. The album I played most in spring after purchase. History lessons included. Absolute masterpiece of melancholy and atmosphere. Interesting how my favorite doom album of the year did not come from the Candlemass/Sorcerer school this time.

7 Karcius - Grey White Silver Yellow & Gold.
Thanks Andy, what a wonderful album. According to Prog Archives they belong under the jazz rock/fusion banner. Well I hear progmetal and hard prog in the blend. A wonderful collection of songs which should please fans of progressive rock and metal alike.

6. Obsidious - Iconic
Is there live after Oscura? Well yes there is and what an album Obsidious gave us. One of those that after one spin at bandcamp I bought and my favorite Techdeath release of the year (never heard Persefone). Vocal performance of the year? Prognosis promises to be good in 2023. 
5. Toxik - Dis Morta
Toxik came back with their first proper full album since the two eighties classics World Circus and Think This. Again bordering between thrash metal and tech metal Toxik delivers. Ron Iglesias was good live, on album even better. And now a five-piece, they always convince on stage. See ya on tour.

4. Figure of Speechless - Tunnel At The End Of The Light
Glenn McMaster was unknown to me as well. When he writes one the best progmetal albums of the year and asks for some help of Derek Sherinian, Tony Franklin, Brian Tichy, Ron Bumblefoot Thal and my favorite vocalist Ray Alder we have a winning team. Love it from start to finish.

3. Lillian Axe - From Womb to Tomb
Some bands never disappoint and Lillian Axe is one of them for me. My favorite melodic metal band, who this century managed to match their high level of the eighties/nineties every time again. From Womb to Tomb their first album after ten years is another hit. Anyone with the slightest interest in melodic metal should have this.

2. Imminent Sonic Destruction - The Sun Will Always Set 
Thank you Matt for this new discovery. Progressive metal they play according to Metal Archives, but more of the all over the place kind. Some songs are progrock, some melancholic and grunts appear occassionally as well. I loved this album from the beginning and when you still go back to it frequently that always is a good  sign. Discovery of the year fo rme, as they already had two albums before.

1. A-Z - A-Z
Technically a new band, but with Alder Zonder completed by Philip Bynoe, Vivien Lalu and Joop Wolters no new names. And yes, this is not a progmetal release, but given the musicianship and the song it has been the album I played most this year,  Zonder and Alder proving to be a class on their own, packed in catchy songs always makes this a joy to play. Even the Apple- Zebra artwork is great, now Mark Zonder spoke the magic word: touring. Please bring them to Holland.

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