A tough year 2022 lies behind us when we look at the social events of this year. Whether war, the economy, the environment or the third year of Corona, somehow everyone had to carry their own baggage, always with the hope that we can breathe a little freer again. Of course, this whole situation did not stop at the music industry: postponed concerts, cancelled concerts because there were not enough tickets sold, songs and albums that were created in this time of crisis and reflect the emotional world of the musicians. But also, in a positive sense, it gave musicians more time to hone their skills, enter new collaborations or simply have more time to write their works. I would like to show 10 of these works in this Top 10 of 2022, as always in no order but with one exception – but more to that later. I would also like to thank all the readers of our blog. Think of the (small) artists out there, support them if you can, visit their concerts! Many bands and locations are still struggling. I wish you all a belated good year 2023!
ef – We Salute You, You and You!
One of my two post-rock albums of the year. On the one hand, the mixture of classic post-rock riffs and orchestral elements stir you up, but at the same time the album has absolutely relaxing elements that make you feel like floating in water. ef plays this dichotomy perfectly on this album, a must for every post-rock fan.
Cripple Black Phoenix – Baynefyre
[Season of Mist]
The second best post-rock album from 2022. Their progressive rage already known from previous albums makes the band produce this great album. A declaration of love to our environment and all living beings on this planet. The 90 minutes of material on this album are a bit heavy, but not a minute is wasted. Very fine, thoughtful and angry post-rock.
Avatarium – Death, Where Is Your Sting
Psychedelic rock is always a bit complicated for me, it just has to fit, otherwise an album quickly falls away for me. But this album made me dive down and enjoy it a few times last year. Even though it often comes across as very dirty, you always notice subtleties that make the songs shine brightly in your ears. And the voice of the lead singer Jennie-Ann Smith is just wonderfully harmonious.
Tocotronic – Nie wieder Krieg
In Germany, Tocotronic is often described as a typical “student band”: Singer-songwriter music with indie influences, political lyrics broken down to the musically most necessary. Normally, an album by this band would never be in my top 10, but Nie Wieder Krieg is perhaps the most thematically appropriate albums of 2022. Against war, fascism, prudery, hatred and agitation. Because it simply had to be said again.
Astrosaur – Portals
From the deepest depths of the sludge, the riffs of Astrosaur hammer. This dynamic chunk of music, which also combines elements of jazz and post-rock, takes you on a transcendental journey in just under an hour. Even if it is often music that hangs heavy in the ears, it still sparks hope. The last track of the album goes on for a whopping 23 minutes and is clearly one of the most beautiful musical journeys of 2022.
Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
[MVKA/Good to Go]
It’s not uncommon for bands to stand out by playing a particular style that doesn’t exist elsewhere. Often this is a bit exaggerated, but not with Zeal & Ardor. This mix of Black Metal and Gospel is something I simply don’t know from any other band in this form. With their 2022 release you notice how well they master their own subject, play strongly with the individual sub-elements of the genres and develop an extraordinary sound song by song. You can clearly notice the development since their debut in 2017. A must-have album for anyone who is not afraid to experience metal in a different guise.
Final Light – Final Light
[Red Creek Recordings]
Final Light is a collaboration between James Kent (Pertubator) and the lead singer of Cult of Luna Johannes Persson. This mix of Persson’s voice and Kent’s dark synthwave hit right into a guilty pleasure notch. Whenever I listen to the album I can’t stop nodding my head. Final Light might be one of my most listened to albums of 2022 and that’s why it ends up on the top 10 list, even though it won’t be to everyone’s taste. But it’s a good starting point for anyone who wants to get a taste of synthwave.
Mantar – Pain is Forever and This is the End
[Metal Blade Records]
How can a band consisting of only two members make so much noise? Mantar answers it with a big smile. Although the songs seem simple on some level, the devil is in the details with this band – for me there are few bands that mix so many genres. This band sounds so wonderfully dirty that it’s fun to listen to their songs every time. And so far, every release is an absolute breaker and Pain Is Forever and This Is the End is absolutely no exception. This record is going to get a few more listens from me.
Rolo Tomassi – Where Myth Becomes Memory
The first album in 2022 that absolutely blew me away. As I already wrote in my review, I was hyped for the album because the singles were already absolute smash songs. The rest of the album absolutely lives up to this high expectation. The combination of hardness, softness, emotion and anger is phenomenal and still blows me away every time I listen to it. Benchmark Mathcore. Or to echo all the phrases in a statement on Twitter earlier this year: I bought the vinyl before I even owned a record player.
Brutus – Unison Life
[Hassle Records & Cargo Records]
Emotional, tough, playful, sensitive and angry. Actually, you can use many adjectives to describe this album and they would be right. The third studio album from Brutus shows a clear development and where the journey is going for the band. The lyrics move you and sometimes give you a punch in the stomach, the whole album just bristles with a strong emotional atmosphere.