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 – Klendathu / Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once EP (2022)

A Melbourne, Australia-based Blackened Death Metal entity returns with a new concept EP of one massive 25-minute music journey inspired by the ever-present environmental threat on our planet.

After two years since the release of Ad Nauseam, Melbourne, Australia-based Blackened Death Metal entity Klendathu is back in action with a new EP, entitled Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once, the culmination of a year of hard work to not only improve on Ad Nauseam but to also create something of substance that the band’s mastermind Scott Masson and other people can be proud of. A concept record of just one song, this 25-minute Dark Metal journey will keep the listener’s attention from start to finish, allowing your mind to create a story inside your head. Featuring Ross Savage on drums, who by the way also produced the album, Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once is inspired by renowned acts the likes of Behemoth, Machine Head, Gojira and Kataklysm, among others, as well as by the ever-present environmental threat on our planet and the suffering of all the poor animals that we enslave, use and discard without mercy every single day.

Like the soundtrack to a sinister thriller, eerie sounds arise amidst chaos until Scott begins hammering his bass accompanied by one of his trademark anguished roars and the blasting drums by Ross, blending elements from Groove and Industrial Metal into his core sonority. The song’s “second act” showcases a heavier-than-hell riffage by Scott while he keeps screaming manically, not to mention Ross’ beats will put you to headbang like a beast, whereas near the eight-minute mark it’s time for some dark vocalizations by Scott spiced up by his piercing guitar lines, and as the song approaches its twelfth minute it’s time for Scott to put the pedal to the metal and invite us all to crush our heads into the circle pit to the sound of his demented growls and Ross’ infernal drums in a fulminating Death Metal assault with hints of Hardcore for our vulgar delectation. We’re 17 minutes in and the music is only getting more apocalyptical and thunderous, not to mention how impressive it is that Scott’s energy level doesn’t go down not even for a single second. And our one-man metal army keeps roaring and roaring in the most demented way, with his riffs piercing through our minds and souls until the song’s obscure and terrorizing finale.

You can join Scott and his Klendathu in such distinguished, heavy and visceral musical voyage by streaming Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once in its entirety on YouTube and on Spotify, and of course by purchasing a copy of the 25-minute EP from Apple Music or from Amazon. When you think of Black and Death Metal, the first thing that comes to your mind is violence, blood and death, but with Klendathu the multi-talented Scott wants to show us all that although death is necessary and a crucial part of our lives it doesn’t have to be part of our eating habits, blending the importance of veganism and vegetarianism into his visceral music. That’s what Klendathu is all about, and that’s how it will always be thanks to the fantastic job done by our unrelenting Australian metaller.

Best moments of the album: The whole song is amazing, but its last part will pulverize your senses mercilessly.

Worst moments of the album: None, of course.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. Avarist: The Beginning & The End at Once 25:49

Band members
Scott Masson – vocals, guitars, bass

Guest musician
Ross Savage – drums (session)

Album Review – Klendathu / Ad Nauseam EP (2020)

Bang your head to the debut EP by an Australian one-man band with a huge focus on artistic expressionism, animal rights, veganism and the inevitability of the planet’s decline.

The name Klendathu, which means means “triangular” in the Zulu language, is the homeworld of the creatures known as the Arachnids from the 1997 cult movie Starship Troopers, while the expression “ad nauseam” is a Latin term for argument or other discussion that has continued to the point of nausea. However, when you put those two together the result is a Melbourne, Australia-based Blackened Death Metal/Dark Metal one-man project entitled Klendathu, formed in the beginning of 2020 by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Scott Masson, the lead singer for Metalcore/Deathcore act He Who Seeks Vengeance and more recently for Death Metal band Apocalyptian, both already reviewed at The Headbanging Moose. With a huge focus on artistic expressionism and with its lyrical content inspired by our ecological footprint, environmental issues, animal rights, veganism and the inevitability of the planet’s decline, the project’s debut EP Ad Nauseam will surely please fans of the music by Behemoth, Gorgoroth, Cannibal Corpse, Sylosis, Six Feet Under and Sepultura, among many others, while at the same time sending a strong message to everyone who still thinks our decaying world is doing just fine.

Scott, who’s by the way a very proud vegan and animal rights activist and environmentalist, has already hinted at that theme in his previous records with He Who Seeks Vengeance (They Will Speak Of The Ghosts That We Became, released in 2019) and Apocalyptian (Citizens Of The Apocalypse, released earlier this year), but it’s with Klendathu that Scott finally has all the freedom to be himself and express how he feels about the current state of things. In addition, just to give you an idea of how personal the album is, everything in the album was recorded by Scott himself, with the exception of the mixing part which was done by an electronic producer named Kibosh, and the final result is indeed very personal, heavy and dark.

An ominous intro grows in intensity until dark and damned sounds invade our senses in Denying The Birth, where Scott fires Doom Metal-inspired riffs and infernal blast beats while screaming like a rabid beast, reminding me of old school Behemoth with some phantasmagorical background elements to add an extra kick to it. Then once again demolishing everything and everyone with his insane beats and riffage, Scott vociferates and barks nonstop in Anger Awakening, presenting hints of the Thrash and Groove Metal by Sepultura from their Roots-era while keeping Klendathu’s core obscurity intact, followed by Bargaining The New Revelation, the most vicious and devastating of all songs, with Scott doing a great job with his harsh roars and thunderous bass and drums, therefore  generating a reverberating sound that will crush your skull mercilessly, all spiced up by teen activist Greta Thunberg’s famous one-liner “How dare you!” and other parts of her speech during the UN climate summit in New York on September 23, 2019. After such bold and dense tune, Scott adds nuances of devilish Blackened Doom to his already scorching sonority in The Prelude Depression, where you can easily feel all the anguish and hatred flowing from his demented screams while the song’s keys and piano notes give the overall result a touch of finesse. And last but not least, more groovy and enraged sounds permeate the air in Accepting The End, with Scott going full Death Metal on vocals and firing crisp guitar riffs and solos. Moreover, its modern-day Black Metal-like drums are the ultimate proof that this incendiary song couldn’t have sounded more austere than what it already is.

You can follow Scoot and his very interesting Klendathu on Facebook, showing your appreciation not only for his music but also for his fight for animal rights and his efforts against all environmental issues we’ve been facing in the past few decades, and of course purchase his debut opus Ad Nauseam directly from his BandCamp page, as well as from Apple Music and from Amazon, or stream the EP in full on YouTube and on Spotify. In the end, as long as you bang your head to Klendathu’s flammable music while doing your part in trying to make this world a better place, I’m sure guys like Scott will feel utterly inspired to keep crafting meaningful heavy music for many years to come. That, of course, if the world as we know it doesn’t come to an end first.

Best moments of the album: Bargaining The New Revelation and Accepting The End.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Independent

Track listing
1. Denying The Birth 6:19
2. Anger Awakening 4:52
3. Bargaining The New Revelation 5:27
4. The Prelude Depression 5:52
5. Accepting The End 5:02

Band members
Scott Masson – vocals, all instruments