Not that anyone asked my opinion about anything, but every year I make it a point to talk about my top picks. These are the albums that really jumped out at me this year and got my blood pumping. If you’re reading this and you have any thoughts on these records, drop me a message or comment online and we can talk about some music! If you know me personally, you know I’m a SIMP for earworm guitar melodies, so you can expect a lot of melodic metal in this list, but I will also say that this is my most diverse list of top records yet.

And compared to my colleagues, this is easily my most “mainstream” top albums list ever…

Battle Beast – Circus of Doom (insane vocals!)

Amorphis – Halo (powerful vocals, great guitar hooks, super memorable)

The Devils of Louden – Escaping Eternity (super underrated, unknown band)

Voivod – Syncro Anarchy (They’re back!)

Haunted Shores – Void (Misha and Mark from Periphery)

Animals as Leaders – Parrhesia (Tosin is inhuman!)

Zero Hour – Agenda 21 (super underrated, unknown prog band)

Origin – Chaosmos (perfect balance of chaos and brutality)

Castrator – Defiled in Oblivion (killer, underrated death metal)

Oceans of Slumber – Starlight and Ash (dark, beautiful, crushing)

Arch Enemy – Deceivers (best since Alyssa joined)

The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost (this is my album of the year, 100%)

Since most of the bands I’ve listed here already have quite a name for themselves, I decided to forgo long, boring explanations about each title. Instead, this year, I’m going with a “if you know, you know” mentality. That said though, I have to reiterate that a band comprised entirely of former IN FLAMES members absolutely stole the show for me in 2022. THE HALO EFFECT dropped a masterpiece this year and it deserves the #1 spot in my melodic death metal-oversaturated heart.

Revocation – Netherheaven (Dave’s vocals are better, music is always mint)

Wolfheart – King of the North (GODLY Nordic melodic death)

Lorna Shore – Pain Remains (a very close 2nd place for AOTY)

At #2, LORNA SHORE finally dropped the long-awaited hour-long LP with Will Ramos on the mic, and it is SO NASTY. Sure, write these guys off if you only hear “pig noises” and “breakdowns”, but this is SO MUCH MORE than a deathcore record. The vocals, the riffs, the solos, the orchestral tracks, the concept…the over-the-top, emotive music videos for the PAIN REMAINS TRILOGY, all coalesce to form this rock solid, gut-wrenching album of heavy, bombastic compositions. HOLY FUCK, it’s amazing…and I NEVER say that about “core” band releases.

Polyphia – Remember that You Will Die (for the musicianship alone)

And at #3, POLYPHIA’s new album is so inspirational to me as a guitar player. A lot of people don’t like this one because they not only used vocals on a few tracks, breaking their instrumental streak, but they had a few rappers come in on collabs for this record as well. Well, when it comes to POLYPHIA I do not GIVE A FLYING FUCK about the vocals. This band is now, and has always been about four incredible musicians throwing everything they have at the wall to see what sticks (see the definition of polyphony), and the result is always tremendous. Tim, Scott, Clay, and Clay did so much on their own to make this album soar, and all the guest vocalists and instrumentalists (peep Steve Vai on the song, “Ego Death”) are just icing on the cake!

Epica – The Alchemy Project (symphonic metal masters)


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