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 – Arch Enemy / Deceivers (2022)

One of the most important names of the current heavy music scene is back in action with their most solid and detailed album with Alissa White-Gluz on vocals.

Marking the longest gap between two of their studio albums since their 2017 opus Will to Power, the breathtaking Deceivers, the eleventh studio album by Swedish Melodic Death Metal icons Arch Enemy, not only will inspire you to break your neck headbanging to its 11 pulverizing tracks, but it’s also by far their most solid and detailed album with the she-wolf Alissa White-Gluz on vocals. Produced, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen and Hansen Studios, and displaying a classy artwork by Alex Reisfar, Deceivers brings to our avid ears a much more cohesive band where the guitars by Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, supported by the heavy-as-hell kitchen by bassist Sharlee D’Angelo and drummer Daniel Erlandsson, provide Alissa with exactly what she needs to roar in full force, not to mention it’s also their first album from the Alissa-era where her clean vocals do not sound out of place; quite the contrary, they actually bring a welcome additional touch to their unparalleled music.

The unmatched guitar lines by Michael and Jeff set the stage for Alissa to kick some serious ass with her deep roaring in Handshake with Hell, an absolute banger spearheaded by the classic, pounding drums by Daniel, and they waste no time and keep decimating our senses with their undisputed Melodic Death Metal in Deceiver, Deceiver, where Sharlee and Daniel craft a boisterous kitchen perfect for Alissa’s screams, resulting in a true circle pit machine. In the Eye of the Storm is more melodic and somber than its predecessors with Michael and Jeff cutting your skin deep with their riffs and solos in a more contemporary version of Arch Enemy. Then it’s time for a fulminating creation entitled The Watcher, where Alissa sounds fantastic throughout the entire song growling and screaming deeply like there’s no tomorrow, not to mention the heavy artillery brought forward by Daniel; whereas Poisoned Arrow is the least exciting of all tracks, an introspective creation by Arch Enemy showcasing their usual melodic lines but that lacks the same power from the rest of the album.

Sharlee’s metallic bass ignites the infernal, epic Sunset over the Empire, with Alissa being absolutely demonic on vocals accompanied by her unstoppable bandmates, while House of Mirrors, one of the first singles to come out, sounds in line with their most recent albums, with Michael and Jeff once again elevating the song’s kick with their pulverizing riffs and solos. Dedicated to the memory of LG Petrov from Death Metal institution Entombed, who passed away in 2021 after battling an incurable form of bile duct cancer, Spreading Black Wings is a lot darker than its predecessors, with Daniel dictating the song’s somber pace in great fashion, flowing into the interlude Mourning Star, soothing our souls before the band comes ripping once again in One Last Time, a vicious composition that will inspire you to slam into the pit to the venomous roars by Alissa while Sharlee and Daniel bring thunder and groove to the overall result. Lastly, a sinister intro evolves into a marching tune entitled Exiled from Earth, putting an obscure and climatic ending to the album to the sharp riffage by Michael and Jeff. Moreover, if I were you I would go for the boxset or artbook edition of the album, as they offer us as bonus tracks their electrifying renditions for Fight’s undisputed hit Into the Pit (check the original version HERE), and Picture’s Diamond Dreamer (check the original version HERE).

As already mentioned, Alissa sounds a lot more in sync with the music by Arch Enemy in Deceivers, in special her clean vocals which now make a positive difference whenever they’re inserted in one of the songs from the album, strengthening the legacy of the band even more in the current metal scene. Having said that, you should definitely go after your favorite version of the album by clicking HERE, and also by streaming it in full on Spotify, and don’t forget to follow the band on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube for news, tour dates and more of their awesome music. Now it’s just a matter of enjoying Deceivers by listening to it as many times as you want, by getting ready for their thrilling live concerts, by raising your horns to the first-class Melodic Death Metal played by one of the most important names in the more recent history of heavy music.

Best moments of the album: Handshake with Hell, Deceiver, Deceiver, The Watcher and Sunset over the Empire.

Worst moments of the album: Poisoned Arrow.

Released in 2022 Century Media

Track listing
1. Handshake with Hell 5:38
2. Deceiver, Deceiver 3:51
3. In the Eye of the Storm 4:09
4. The Watcher 4:58
5. Poisoned Arrow 3:51
6. Sunset over the Empire 4:03
7. House of Mirrors 3:40
8. Spreading Black Wings 4:46
9. Mourning Star 1:36
10. One Last Time 3:49
11. Exiled from Earth 4:44

Boxset/Artbook bonus tracks
12. Into the Pit (Fight cover) 3:52
13. Diamond Dreamer (Picture cover) 3:53

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

Guest musicians
Jacob Hansen – vocals on “Sunset over the Empire”
Raphael Liebermann – cello on “Poisoned Arrow”

Concert Review – Arch Enemy & Behemoth (Rebel, Toronto, ON, 04/25/2022)

A night of rain, insanity, blasphemy and, above all that, first-class Heavy Metal for the delight of thousands of metalheads in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Unto Others and Napalm Death

Despite the heavy rain that decided to hit Toronto only a couple of hours before the fantastic tour named The North American Siege 2022 took the city by storm, the venue chosen for such metal attack, the spacious Rebel, was almost packed already when the first band of the night hit the stage exactly at 6:30pm, American Heavy Metal/Gothic Rock act UNTO OTHERS, and let me tell you I feel a little ashamed for not knowing those guys before last night. Promoting their 2021 opus Strength, vocalist and guitarist Gabriel Franco and his henchmen put on a sensational show, with songs such as Give Me to the Night, Summer Lightning and When Will God’s Work Be Done inspiring all fans to dance, slam into the pit, or simply raise their horns in the name of Rock N’ Roll. It was a short and sweet performance by such talented band, and I hope to see them again in Toronto (or anywhere else in the world) in a not-so-distant future.

Setlist
Subdivisions (Rush song)
Heroin
Give Me to the Night
No Children Laughing Now
Can You Hear the Rain
Nightfall
Summer Lightning
When Will God’s Work Be Done

Band members
Gabriel Franco – vocals, guitars, keyboards
Sebastian Silva – guitars
Brandon Hill – bass
Colin Vranizan – drums

Right after a bathroom/beer break (not necessarily in this order), it was time for the iconic Barney Greenway and his Grindcore/Death Metal institution NAPALM DEATH to show Toronto what noise is all about for the delight of admirers of the heaviest and most demented side of music who attended the concert. Having released earlier this year the album Resentment Is Always Seismic – A Final Throw of Throes, the band was on absolute fire from start to finish, with Shane Embury and John Cooke hammering their respective bass and guitar mercilessly throughout their entire set. Amidst a hurricane of infernal tunes the likes of Fuck the Factoid, Contagion, Scum and the one-second masterpiece You Suffer, Barney had time to distill his opinion about controversial topics such as illegal immigration, being always of course on the side of the less fortunate. Closing their boisterous setlist, the band smashed our faces with their rendition of Dead Kennedys’ all-time classic Nazi Punks Fuck Off, sending a message of love and peace, and warning us it won’t take long for those four British noisemakers to return to our beloved city.

Setlist
Unchallenged Hate
Fuck the Factoid
Backlash Just Because
Hung
Contagion
Continuing War on Stupidity
Everyday Pox
Invigorating Clutch
Suffer the Children
Breed to Breathe
Scum
Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism
You Suffer
Smash a Single Digit
Deceiver
Dead
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys cover)

Band members
Mark “Barney” Greenway – vocals
John Cooke – guitars
Shane Embury – bass, backing vocals, noises, effects
Danny Herrera – drums

ARCH ENEMY

Precisely at 8:35pm Sweden’s own Melodic Death Metal army ARCH ENEMY (although we can say the band is now 60% Swedish, 20% American and 20% Canadian) hit the stage and delivered exactly what the crowd wanted, which was a fusion of some of their best classics with the new songs Deceiver, Deceiver, House of Mirrors and Handshake With Hell, from their upcoming album Deceivers (to be released in July), spearheaded by the unstoppable Alissa White-Gluz and, of course, by one of the best guitarists of the Scandinavian metal scene, Mr. Michael Amott. It was clear in their faces how much they missed playing in front of an audience during the pandemic, in special Alissa who always gets very emotional when playing for her Canadian “family”, which translated into sheer adrenaline for our vulgar delectation. As a longtime fan of the band I was obviously more inspired to bang my head to songs such as Ravenous, Dead Bury Their Dead and Nemesis, but I must say their entire performance was awesome. How long will we have to wait to see Alissa and the boys again in Toronto? Massive circle pits like the ones we witnessed yesterday are not created out of silence, you know. We need Arch Enemy!

Setlist
Set Flame to the Night
Deceiver, Deceiver
The World Is Yours
Ravenous
War Eternal
My Apocalypse
House of Mirrors
The Eagle Flies Alone
As the Pages Burn
Handshake With Hell
Dead Bury Their Dead
Nemesis
Fields of Desolation (Outro)
Enter the Machine

Band members
Alissa White-Gluz – vocals
Michael Amott – lead guitars, backing vocals
Jeff Loomis – lead guitars, backing vocals
Sharlee D’Angelo – bass
Daniel Erlandsson – drums

BEHEMOTH

And at 10:05pm the gates of hell opened once again and the almighty Blackened Death Metal horde BEHEMOTH emerged from the underworld with another flawless and very theatrical performance, darkening the skies of Toronto and putting a huge, devilish smile on the faces of everyone at Rebel (at least on the faces of the ones not wearing masks). Kicking off their demonic concert with one of my favorite Behemoth songs of all time, the incendiary Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer, the multi-talented Nergal, Seth, Orion and Inferno did not disappoint their fans, sounding utterly heavy, dark and blasphemous until the very last second. Their brand new song, entitled Ov My Herculean Exile, from their upcoming (and still untitled) new album, sounded amazing live, but of course there’s nothing like raising our horns in the name of evil to masterpieces such as Ov Fire and the Void, Christians to the Lions, Chant for Eschaton 2000, and the hymn to Satan himself, O Father O Satan O Sun!, proving why Behemoth are one of the best and most obscure bands of the current metal scene. And when the night was over and those Polish blasphemers left the stage, it was time for us Torontonians to keep some of that darkness inside our hearts, face the cold and rainy weather outside again, and return to our lairs waiting for the next time Behemoth come back to crush the infidels in Toronto with their undisputed music.

Setlist
Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
Wolves ov Siberia
Ov Fire and the Void
Evoe
Christians to the Lions
Bartzabel
Conquer All
Ov My Herculean Exile
Decade of Therion
Slaves Shall Serve
Chant for Eschaton 2000
O Father O Satan O Sun!

Band members
Adam “Nergal” Darski – lead vocals, guitars
Patryk Dominik “Seth” Sztyber – guitars
Tomasz “Orion” Wróblewski – bass guitar
Zbigniew Robert “Inferno” Promiński – drums and percussion

This slideshow requires JavaScript.