The Year In Review – Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022

“Life is funny. If you don’t laugh, you’re in trouble.” – Taylor Hawkins

And just like that, after 880 days of nothing, I was finally able to attend a metal concert this year, just like countless other metalheads who patiently waited for the Canadian government to lift all restrictions due to the pandemic to get back to our normal lives. And it was a busy year concert-wise as you can see HERE, with Judas Priest, Lamb of God, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Behemoth and several others putting a smile back on our faces and the horns back in our hands, because in the end the beauty of heavy music is when it’s played live, right? On the other hand, we unfortunately saw some important names of the global metal scene disbanding such as Nuclear Assault, Tristania and Every Time I Die, plus of course the brave warriors who left us and are now sitting beside the metal gods in Valhalla. Just to name a few, we all mourned the losses of Fredrik Johansson (former guitarist of Dark Tranquillity), Jon Zazula (co-founder of Megaforce Records), Bruce Greig (former guitarist of Misery Index and Dying Fetus), Taylor Hawkins (drummer of Foo Fighters), Ronnie Deo (former bassist of Incantation), Trevor Strnad (vocalist of The Black Dahlia Murder), Alec John Such (former bassist of Bon Jovi), Bob Heathcote (former bassist of Suicidal Tendencies), Steve Grimmett (vocalist of Grim Reaper), Stuart Anstis (former guitarist of Cradle of Filth), David Andersson (guitarist of Soilwork), and Dan McCafferty (former vocalist of Nazareth).

However, one of the biggest losses in the world of heavy music happened right here in Toronto, Canada, as we lost the biggest metalhead of the entire Torontonian scene, Walter Froebrich.  Our super fan Walter, who was a staple in the local scene for over 20 years (and I remember seeing him in every single concert I’ve attended in the past 10 years or more at least), sadly died alone at home last month following three visits to a local hospital due to severe abdominal pain. This is extremely tragic and cannot happen again, as we all have the right to decent healthcare it doesn’t matter who we are. There will be a memorial show for Walter on January 7, 2023 at The Rockpile (details can be found HERE and tickets HERE) with several local independent bands, and we at The Headbanging Moose also want to honor the life of Walter and his undisputed passion for heavy music by dedicating to him The Headbanging Moose’s Top 10 Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Albums of 2022, excluding EP’s, best of’s and live albums.

1. Kreator – Hate Über Alles (REVIEW)
Let the hate flow through you to the sound of the magnificent new opus by one of the trailblazers of the German Thrash Metal scene.
Best song of the album: Hate Über Alles

2. Lorna Shore – Pain Remains (REVIEW)
The most explosive name of the current Deathcore scene invites us all to dance like flames to the sound of their newborn masterpiece.
Best song of the album: The Pain Remains Trilogy

3. Megadeth – The Sick, the Dying… and the Dead! (REVIEW)
The unstoppable Mr. Dave Mustaine strikes again with the sick, the dying… and the Megadeth!
Best song of the album: Life in Hell

4. Rammstein – Zeit (REVIEW)
Germany’s own Neue Deutsche Härte institution wasted no time during the pandemic and is back in action with their fantastic eight opus.
Best song of the album: Angst

5. Behemoth – Opvs Contra Natvram (REVIEW)
A stunning work against religious oppression by Poland’s most important Extreme Metal institution of all time.
Best song of the album: Malaria Vvlgata

6. Arch Enemy – Deceivers (REVIEW)
One of the most important names in metal is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.
Best song of the album: The Watcher

7. Lamb of God – Omens (REVIEW)
Ignore the omens and listen to the pulverizing new album by one of the best and most dynamic metal bands of the past two decades.
Best song of the album: Ditch

8. Amon Amarth – The Great Heathen Army (REVIEW)
Join the great heathen army spearheaded by one of the most respected bands of the current metal scene.
Best song of the album: Saxons and Vikings

9. Hiss From The Moat – The Way Out Of Hell (REVIEW)
There’s only one way out of hell, and that’s to the sound of the incendiary Blackened Death Metal by this Italian horde.
Best song of the album: Generation Of Cowardice

10. Diabolical Raw – Elegy of Fire Dusk (REVIEW)
Behold this grandiose album of Symphonic Black and Death Metal inspired by ancient Central Asian Turkish mythology.
Best song of the album: Face the Judgement

And here we have the runner-ups, completing the top 20 for the year:

11. Abaddon Incarnate – The Wretched Sermon (REVIEW)
12. Cage Fight – Cage Fight (REVIEW)
13. Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse (REVIEW)
14. Stratovarius – Survive (REVIEW)
15. Konvent – Call Down the Sun (REVIEW)
16. Scorpions – Rock Believer (REVIEW)
17. Disturbed – Divisive (REVIEW)
18. Thundermother – Black and Gold (REVIEW)
19. Blind Guardian – The God Machine (REVIEW)
20. Ferum – Asunder / Erode (REVIEW)

In addition to all that, let’s bang our heads with our Top 10 EP’s of 2022 to prove once and for all that not all great albums of the year have to be so long. The EP’s from this list are simply awesome, showcasing the band’s talent and their ability to sound epic even if the music lasts for only a few minutes.

1. Eskhaton – Horracle (REVIEW)
2. Headfist – This New World…. (REVIEW)
3. Sullen Guest – Phase (REVIEW)
4. Pyrrhic Salvation – Manifestum I (REVIEW)
5. Klendathu – Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once (REVIEW)
6. Through The Noise – Tragedies (REVIEW)
7. Rotten Casket – First Nail in the Casket (REVIEW)
8. Circa Arcana – Bridget Viginti (REVIEW)
9. All Else Fails – The Incident at Black Lake (REVIEW)
10. Haunted By Silhouettes – No Man Isle (REVIEW)

Do you agree with our list? What are your top 10 albums of 2022? Also, don’t forget to tune in every Tuesday at 10pm BRT on Rádio Coringão to enjoy the best of classic and underground metal with Jorge Diaz and his Timão Metal, and every Thursday at 8pm UTC+2 on Midnight Madness Metal e-Radio for the best of underground metal with The Headbanging Moose Show! And if you lost some or most of our special editions of The Headbanging Moose Show, including our Top 20 Underground Albums of 2022 – Parts I and II, go to our Mixcloud page and there you have hours and hours of the best of the independent scene, sounds good?

Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year! See you in 2023!

And before I go, I’ll leave you with what’s in my humble opinion not only the best song of 2022, but it also carries a very inspiring message to us all… ROW! ROW! ROW!

Album Review – Thundermother / Black and Gold (2022)

You better watch out as these Swedish girls are the light in the sky that turns black into gold in their new album, always loud and free in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

Two years after their highly acclaimed album Heat Wave, the unstoppable Stockholm, Sweden-based Hard Rock brigade Thundermother is back with a fantastic new album titled Black and Gold, a roar for all it’s worth. Not only musically rough and loud, but also controversial and honest, the band currently formed of the ass-kicking Guernica Mancini on vocals, Filippa Nässil on the guitar, newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren on bass, and Emlee Johansson on drums sounds beyond sharp and flammable throughout their entire new album, proving why they’ve become one of the most admired and respected bands of the current Hard Rock scene and, therefore, attracting the attention of diehard fans of renowned acts the likes of AC/DC, Airbourne and Rose Tattoo, among others.

Just hit play and be stunned by The Light In The Sky, a Rock N’ Roll anthem perfect to be played at the biggest stadiums in the world where Guernica is simply flawless on vocals while Emlee dictates the pace with her pounding beats; whereas the title-track Black And Gold is just as electrifying and vibrant, with Filippa delivering her usual rockin’ riffs and, therefore, resulting in another hymn for hitting the road. Raise Your Hands is a more rhythmic, headbanging tune by Thundermother paying a tribute to our beloved rock music, with some Jazz-ish influences showcasing the classy kitchen by Mona and Emlee, and after three breathtaking songs the quartet slows things down and offer us the Blues-infused ballad Hot Mess, with Guernica melting the hearts of her fans with her beautiful vocals. Getting back to a more incendiary mode it’s time for Wasted, a beer-drinking extravaganza where those four rockers are in absolute sync until the very last second, with Filippa kicking some serious ass with her riffs and solos, followed by Watch Out, where Guernica sends a fun message through the lyrics (“I’m beautiful with looks that kill / You better watch your words / You run around and talking shit /At least that’s what I heard”) while her bandmates smash their instruments in the name of Rock N’ Roll.

I Don’t Know You offers to our avid ears more of their classic lyrics (“I met you, a rainy day / In June, I met you / With a backstage pass / Like a fool / Drinking all our booze / With the crew / But who the fuck are you”) spiced up by an AC/DC-like sound and vibe, while All Looks No Hooks brings forward their usual fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll where Filippa and Mona deliver pure melody and groove from their stringed axes. Then it’s time for an AC/DC and Airbourne-inspired hurricane titled Loud And Free, one of the most exciting of all tracks with Guernica and Filippa kicking us hard in the head with their superb performances; and it’s pedal to the metal as those Swedish girls won’t stop rockin’ our world in Try With Love, where Emlee once again speeds things up with her incendiary beats. Stratosphere keeps the album at a high level of adrenaline, with Guernica leading her bandmates with her undisputed soaring vocals, whereas the closing song Borrowed Time is a ballad that feels more like a bonus track. It’s not bad at all, but they could have ended the album in a much more exciting way with the previous song.

Thundermother Black and Gold Limited Boxset

When Black and Gold was released just a week before I was going to see Thundermother live for the first time ever in Montreal, I already knew their concert was going to be fantastic (and, of course, they lived up to the hype). All of the songs from Black and Gold, which is by the way available for a full listen on Spotify, are pure gold, with the girls always playing loud and free wherever they go. Hence, don’t forget to give them a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to subscribe to their YouTube channel, and above all that, to purchase Black and Gold from their official webstore or by clicking HERE, and if you consider yourself a true servant of rock music you should definitely go for the limited boxset (limited to a thousand units) packaged in a backpack, containing a digipak CD, a 100x150cm flag, a pair of socks, a DIN A5 fake tattoo, a sweat band, an autograph and a certificate of authenticity. Thundermother are the light in the sky of rock music, and their new album will undoubtedly help them strike fast and hard all four corner of the earth for our total delight.

Best moments of the album: The Light In The Sky, Black And Gold, Watch Out and Loud And Free.

Worst moments of the album: Borrowed Time.

Released in 2022 AFM Records

Track listing
1. The Light In The Sky 3:34
2. Black And Gold 3:19
3. Raise Your Hands 3:40
4. Hot Mess 4:25
5. Wasted 3:24
6. Watch Out 3:11
7. I Don’t Know You 3:35
8. All Looks No Hooks 3:41
9. Loud And Free 2:50
10. Try With Love 3:29
11. Stratosphere 3:21
12. Borrowed Time 4:08

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums

Concert Review – Scorpions (Bell Centre, Montreal, QC, 08/27/2022)

And the city of Montreal still believes in the Rock N’ Roll played by the most important band in the history of Germany.

OPENING ACT: Thundermother

One week after the stunning Rammstein concert in Montreal, and after several hikes through trails and mountains in different parks in Quebec, I was back to Montreal for an explosion of classic Rock N’ Roll at the Bell Centre thanks to the Rock Believer World Tour 2022 by the one and only German Hard Rock institution SCORPIONS, supported by the electrifying Swedish girls from THUNDERMOTHER. Unfortunately, due to an infection that afftecs Mr. David Coverdale’s ability to perform, there will be no Whitesnake in any of the North American dates, which was also the case in Montreal, reducing the whole night to three hours of music instead of maybe four and a half, and that’s my only complaint about the whole concert as they could have given Thundermother another 20 or 30 minutes to play.

Anyway, the crowd had only one hour form the opening of the doors at 6pm until the unstoppable girls from THUNDERMOTHER took Montreal by storm with their breathtaking Rock N’ Roll, presenting songs from their entire career while focusing as expected on their latest albums Heat Wave, from 2020, and their newborn beast Black and Gold, which will be reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose Show sooner than you can say “Rock N’ Roll”. Frontwoman Guernica Mancini, guitarist Filippa Nässil, drummer Emlee Johansson, and newcomer Mona “Demona” Lindgren, who has recently replaced Majsan Lindberg on bass, put on a tremendous show that will surely help to grow their fanbase in Canadian lands, delivering nonstop fire and energy to the audience. Songs like Whatever, Black and Gold and Loud and Free are pure adrenaline in the form of music, but it was their last batch of songs comprised of We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll, Watch Out and their rockin’ hymn Driving in Style that truly showed why they were chosen to open for the mighty Scorpions and why they’re becoming more and more famous and admired in the world of music. Guernica’s voice is like thunder, so powerful and loud, that I wonder where she will go armed with such striking pipes. Hopefully back to Canada in a not-so-distant future for a few more concerts.

Setlist
Whatever
The Road Is Ours
Dog From Hell
Try with Love
Back in ’76
Black and Gold
Loud and Free
I Don’t Know You
We Fight for Rock ‘n’ Roll
Watch Out
Driving in Style

Band members
Guernica Mancini – vocals
Filippa Nässil – guitar
Mona “Demona” Lindgren – bass
Emlee Johansson – drums 

SCORPIONS

After a very short break it was time for the most important band in the history of Germany to kick some serious ass with their undisputed fusion of Hard Rock and Rock N’ Roll, putting a huge smile on the faces of every single person at the Bell Centre. As the name of the opening song of this new tour already says, the rockin’ SCORPIONS still have a lot of “gas in the tank”, which became crystal clear throughout their entire set blending new songs from the excellent Rock Believer with some of their biggest classics including Make It Real, Bad Boys Running Wild, Tease Me Please Me and Blackout. There was no time to breathe as those German rockers put the pedal to the metal until the very end, turning the night into another memorable visit to Montreal.

I honestly don’t know how Mr. Klaus Meine keeps on rockin’ like that at 74 years of age. He’s not human, he can’t be, as not only his voice is still fantastic, but his onstage performance is captivating. The same can be said about the band’s axe duo Matthias Jabs and Rudolf Schenker, supported by the rumbling bass by Paweł Mąciwoda and, of course, the demolishing beats by Mikkey Dee. To be fair, I can’t think of a better place for Mikkey Dee to be after the end of Motörhead, and Scorpions are really lucky for having such talented drummer with them as they’ve never sounded so heavy and groovy in their entire career (and may that happy marriage last for all eternity).

From their new songs, the most exciting ones were of course the opener Gas in the Tank and Peacemaker, but the title-track Rock Believer also worked really well live inspiring us all to raise our fists and horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. And what can I say about their classics? How many bands do you know that have so many rock hymns like Scorpions? Who doesn’t love to sing out loud Send Me an Angel, Big City Nights and Still Loving You from the bottom of their hearts? And what they did with the touching Wind of Change, adapting the original lyrics in support of Ukraine, is a thing of beauty that everyone at the venue loved to sing together with the band while the background showed the peace sign with the Ukrainian colors. “Now listen to my heart / It says Ukrainia / Waiting for the wind to change…”

As usual, a Scorpions concert is not complete without the Rock N’ Roll hit Rock You Like a Hurricane, and it didn’t matter if it was a little kid or a 75-year old lady, everyone who attended their concert at the Bell Centre screamed, danced and raised their fists in the air during the entire song, ending with a loud-as-hell standing ovation to the band that lasted for several minutes. It was deafening, sometimes even louder than the rock music played by Scorpions, showing how much respect and love the fans in Montreal have for the band. I almost missed Scorpions because their show in Toronto was on the same day as Rammstein in Montreal, but I’m glad I made the right decision to see them in Montreal a few days later. Why? Because just like the city of Montreal, I believe in the Rock N’ Roll played by Scorpions.

Setlist
Gas in the Tank
Make It Real
The Zoo
Coast to Coast
Seventh Sun
Peacemaker
Bad Boys Running Wild
Delicate Dance
Send Me an Angel
Wind of Change
Tease Me Please Me
Rock Believer
Blackout
Big City Nights

Encore:
Still Loving You
Rock You Like a Hurricane

Band members
Klaus Meine – vocals
Matthias Jabs – guitars
Rudolf Schenker – guitars, backing vocals
Paweł Mąciwoda – bass
Mikkey Dee – drums

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