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The Best of 2022!

In addition to Mike and my top picks for 2022, you can also read the top 5 picks from contributors Jez and Terry. Since we all have different tastes, it makes more sense to see different folks' opinions.

For each of us, the listing contains 3 parts:

  1. Top 5. Self-explanatory.
  2. Honorable Mentions. Very good releases for the year that either fell just short of the top 5, or had to be on the outside looking in due to the limit of 5.
  3. The Rest of the Field. There is nothing qualitative about this section; the releases may range from good to mediocre to complete and utter garbage. It only exists to show you what each of us considered in coming up with our Top 5 and Honorable Mentions. If an album isn't listed in our Top 5, Honorable Mentions, or Rest of the Field, it means we didn't get a chance to hear that album. We don't all listen to the same set of releases each year.

Contributing Reviewers:

Dan's Picks for the Best of 2022

The Also Rans

17 Crash — Stamina
ALTZI — All Eyes on Me
AOR — Journey to LA (Reissue)
AOR — L.A. Suspicion
AWOLNATION — My Echo, My Shadow, My Covers & Me
Aerial — Semangat Seigala
Aeveum — Glitch
Affection — Remnants
After Lapse — Face the Storm
Agathodaimon — The Seven
Alan Parsons — From the New World
Alcatrazz — The Official Bootleg Box Set, Vol. 2 (1983-1984)
Alicate — Butterfly
All The Damn Vampires — Synth City
AllenOlzon — Army of Dreamers
Alter Bridge — Pawns & Kings
Alvablot — Harmonic Dystopia
Amidst Dreams of Tomorrow — Memories of a Wandering Soul
Amon Amarth — The Great Heathen Army
Amorphis — Halo
Amoth — The Hour Of The Wolf
Amulett — Glassbreaker
Ancient Settlers — Our Last Eclipse
Andy McCoy — Jukebox Junkie
Angel Nation — Antares
Ann Wilson — Fierce Bliss
Annihilator — Metal II
Anniken — Climb Out of Hell
Anthea — Tales Untold
Anvil — Impact Is Imminent
Aquila — The Great Fire EP
Arc of Live — Don't Look Down
Arcade Fire — WE
Arch Enemy — Deceivers
Archaic — The Endgame Protocol
Arctic Monkeys — The Car
Ardours — Anatomy of a Moment
Arendia — A Radial to the Sea
Arjen Anthony Lucassen's Star One — Revel In Time
Ashes of Ares — Emperors and Fools
Astral Spectre — Phantom Nightmare & The Oath is Broken
Astronoid — Radiant Bloom
Atmahatya — Andhaarer Doshti Bochhor
Audio Reign — S/T
Autograph — Beyond
Autumn's Child — Zenith
Avantasia — A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society
Avatarium — Death, Where Is Your Sting
Axel Rudi Pell — Lost XXIII
Bad Baron — Ace of Hearts
Bad Influence — END7EIT
Bad Sister — Where Will You Go
Band of Horses — Things Are Great
Banks Arcade — Future Lovers
Bark — Rambler of Aeons
Battlelore — The Return of The Shadow
Becoming The Archetype — Children of the Great Extinction
Beriedir — AQVA
Bible Black — The Complete Recordings 1981–1983
BillyBio — Leaders and Liars
Binary Order — Dunes
Binary Order — Messages from the Deep
Black Anvil — Regenesis
Black Eye — S/T
Black Hole — Whirlwind of Mad Men
Black Mirrors — Tomorrow Will Be Without Us
Black River — Generation Axe
Black Swan — Generation Mind
Black Veil Brides — The Mourning EP
Blind Guardian — The God Machine
Bloody Heels — Rotten Romance
Blue Ruin — Hooligans Happy Hour
Bobby Stoker — Everglow
Boguslaw Balcerak's Crylord — Human Heredity
Booby Trap — The Hellzheimers
Borealis — Illusions
Buried Realm — S/T
Bush — The Art Of Survival
C.O.P. II — Enemy
Cabin Boy Jumped Ship — Sentiments
Candlemass — Sweet Evil Sun
Caravellus — Inter Mundos
Carpenter Brut — Leather Terror
Case 39 — Fucked Up Forever
Cave In — Songs of Townes Van Zandt Vol. III
Celestial Wizard — Winds of the Cosmos
Celtic Legacy — Redux
Chaos Magic — Emerge
Charles Sangnoir — Bunker
Chelsea Grin — Suffer in Hell
Chemicide — Common Sense
Cherry St. — S/T REISSUE
Cherry St. — Squeeze It Dry REISSUE
Child of Night — The Walls at Dawn
Chip Z'Nuff — Perfectly Imperfect
Chloe Trujillo & Rav Medic — Heavy Peace EP
Chronomancy — Shadows in Atlantis
Cinemascope — A Crack on the Wall
City Of Lights — Before the Sun Sets
Cleanbreak — Coming Home
Cobra the Impaler — Colossal Gods
Coheed and Cambria — Vaxis II A Window of the Waking Mind
Comeback Kid — Heavy Steps
Conan — Evidence of Immortality
Concrete Bastards — Closer to the End
Constellatia — Magisterial Romance EP
Crisix — Full HD
Crobot — Feel This
Crossing Rubicon — Perfect Storm
Crosson — Ready, Aim, Rock!!
Crowne — Live from Studio Grondahl EP
Crusade of Bards — Tales of the Seven Seas
Crystal Ball — Crysteria
Crystal Throne — S/T
Crystal Viper — The Last Axeman
Cult of Luna — The Long Road North
Cult of the Fox — Blood Omens
Cyanide 4 — Amalgama
Dagoba — By Night
Daidalos — The Expedition
Damn the Machine — The Last Man
Dance Gavin Dance — Jackpot Juicer
Dance With the Dead — Driven to Madness
Dare — Road To Eden
Darewolf — S/T
Darkane — Inhuman Spirits
David Judson Clemmons — Lights for the Living
David Paich — Forgotten Toys
David Readman — Medusa
Day of Departure — S/T
Days of Wine — S/T
DeVicious — Black Heart
Dead City Ruins — Shockwave
Death Dealer — Fuel Injected Suicide Machine EP
Deathwhite — Grey Everlasting
Decoy — Without Warning
Def Leppard — Diamond Star Halos
Defacing God — The Resurrection of Lilith
Deficiency — Warenta
Degreed — Are You Ready
Deus Omega — Among The Dreaming Dead
Devils Train — Ashes & Bones
Devin Townsend — Lightwork (Deluxe Edition)
DiGregorio — House of Gregory, Chapter 1
Diamond Chazer — Starriders
Diggeth — Zero Hour in Doomtown
Dirty Shirt — Get Your Dose Now!
Disturbed — Divisive
Dominoe — No Silence, No Lambs (Directors Cut)
Don Fernando — You Are My Blood
Dragonhammer — Second Life
Dragonland — The Power of the Nightstar
Dreamtide — Drama Dust Dream
Drive at Night — Echoes of an Era
Dropkick Murphys — This Machine Still Kills Fascists
Drowning Pool — Strike A Nerve
Dymytry — Revolt
Dynazty — Final Advent
Ear Danger — Still Going Strong
Edenbridge — Shangri-La
Edge of Forever — Seminole
Edge of Forever — The Days of Future Past — The Remasters
Electric Callboy — TEKKNO
Elegeion — Plight of the Heretic EP
Embryonic Autopsy — Prophecies of the Conjoined
Emissary — The Wretched Masquerade
Enemy Eyes — Historys Hand
Enuff Z'Nuff — Finer Than Sin
Epica — The Alchemy Project
Even Flow — Mediterraneo
Everfrost — Frostbites
Evergrey — Before the Aftermath (live)
Evil Invaders — Shattering Reflection
Evillution — Elements of Genocide
Excalibur — Volando Hacia el Infierno
Excurse — Sitra Ahra EP
Extinguish the Sun — Transformations
FM — Thirteen
Fall Of Carthage — Down Into Madness
Fall of Stasis — The Chronophagist
Fallen Sanctuary — Terranova
Fallujah — Empyrean
Fans Of The Dark — Suburbia
Far From Your Sun — The Origin of Suffering
Farazanwar — Tale of the Lunatics
Farewell to Fear — Polarity
Farzad Golpayegani — Nine
Fatal Vision — Once
Fate — Back to the Past (Rerecorded)
Feleth — Divine Blight
Fetal Blood Eagle — Indoctrinate
Find Me — Lightning in a Bottle
First Signal — Closer to the Edge
Five Finger Death Punch — AfterLife
Flames of Fire — S/T
Flickertail — Afterlife EP (Live in the Studio)
Flogging Molly — Anthem
Fortis Ventus — Vertalia
Fortune — Level Ground
Foxes on the Run — S/T
Fragmentum — Masters of Perplexity
Gathering of Kings — Enigmatic
Generation Radio — Generation Radio
Gerald Peter Project — Incremental Changes, Pt. 2
Ghosther — Immersion
Ghosts of Sunset — No Saints in the City
Giant — Shifting Time
Ginger Wildheart & The Sinners — ST
Girish & The Chronicles — Hail to the Heroes
Godless Angel — Year Ten
Goldsmith — Of Sound and Fury
Golgotha — Mors Diligentis
Gothminister — Pandemonium
Grace — Hope
Graham Bonnet Band — Day Out in Nowhere
Grand — S/T
Grave Digger — Symbol of Eternity
Graveshadow — The Uncertain Hour
Greyfade — Where Time Stood Still
Greyhawk — Call of the Hawk EP
Grim Justice — Justice in the Night
Guild of Others — S/T
Halestorm — Back From the Dead
Hallas — Isle of Wisdom
Hammer King — Kingdemonium
Hammerfall — Hammer of Dawn
Hangman's Chair — A Loner
Hardcore Superstar — Abrakadabra
Hardrocker — Rider of the Night
Hartmann — Get Over It
Hatriot — The Valley of Shadows
Heart Attack — Negative Sun
Heavy Baby Slugs — The Decline and Fall of Everything
Held Hostage — Great American Rock
Hell in the Club — Kamikaze EP — 10 Years in the Slums
Heterochrome — From The Ashes
Highlord — Freakin' Out Of Hell
Highway Queen — Bitter Soul
Highway Sentinels — The Waiting Fire
Hilltops Are For Dreamers — In Disbelief
Hit the Ground Runnin — Lost in Translation
Hit the Ground Runnin — Sudden Impact Reissue
Hollywood Undead — Hotel Kalifornia
Hong Faux — S/T
Horror Within — Awaiting Extinction
House Of Lords — Saints and Sinners
House of Shakira — Lint XXV
Hungry — Hungry for Your Love EP
Hunting Giants — Mythos
Hydra — Point Break
Hydra — Unknown Gods
Hyperia — Silhouettes of Horror
I Prevail — True Power
IVANDER — Inferno 1978
Iconic — Second Skin
Imagine Dragons — Mercury: Acts 1 & 2
Immolation — Acts of God
Immortal Synn — 7 Synns
Impact — The Lost Tapes
Impera — Torn Fabriks
Imperial Triumphant — Spirit Of Ecstasy
Imperium — Ex Mortis Gloria
Incite — Wake Up Dead
Infamous Stiffs — Lockdown Live EP
Infected Rain — Ecdysis
Infernal Tyrant — Fallen from Grace
Ingested — Ashes Lie Still
Inglorious — MMXXI (Live at the Phoenix)
Invaders — Beware of the Night
Iron Allies — Blood In Blood Out
Iron Kingdom — The Blood of Creation
Iron Savior — Reforged Ironbound Vol 2
Iron Wings — Ritual of Rage
Ironflame — Where Madness Dwells
JBO — Planet Pink
Jack White — Entering Heaven Alive
Jack White — Fear Of The Dawn
Jaded Heart — Heart Attack
Jeff Scott Soto — Complicated
Jizzy Pearl's Love Hate — Hell, CA
John Elefante — The Amazing Grace
Johnny Casino — 5X7 — The Days of Wine and Cola
Jorn — Over the Horizon Radar
Journey — Freedom
Kaledon — Legend of the Forgotten Reign — Chapter VII Evil Awakens
Kandia — Quaternary
Kardashev — Liminal Rite
Karl Sanders — Saurian Apocalypse
Keldian — The Bloodwater Rebellion
Kerion — Cloudriders--Age of Cyborgs
Kilfeather — Armchair Revolutionaries
Kill Ritual — Kill Star Black Mark Dead Hand Pierced Heart
Killer Kings — Burn for Love
King Bastard — It Came from the Void
King's X — Three Sides of One
Kingsphere — Enigmatic
Kiss of the Gypsy — Unfinished Business
Kontact — First Contact
Korn — Requiem
Kraemer — All the Way
Kreator — Hate Uber Alles
Krisiun — Mortem Solis
L.A. Cobra — Superstition
L.S. Dunes — Past Lives
Lacuna Coil — Comalies XX
Lana Lane — Neptune Blue
Landfall — Elevate
Last in Line — A Day in the Life EP
Lastworld — Escape the Eclipse
Lazarus Dream — Lifeline
Leadfinger — Silver and Black
Leash Eye — Busy Nights, Hazy Days
Legions of the Night — Hell
Lessmann-Voss — Rock Is Our Religion
Leviathan — Mischief of Malcontent EP
Like A Storm — Okura
LionSoul — A Pledge To Darkness
Lionheart — Welcome to the West Coast III
Lionville — So Close to Heaven
Lonely Robot — A Model Life
Lord Vigo — We Shall Overcome
Lorna Shore — Pain Remains
Lost Society — If The Sky Came Down
Love and War — Edge of the World REISSUE
Lovells Blade — Deadly Nightshade
Lucius — Second Nature
Lugnet — Tales from the Great Beyond
Luzifer — Iron Shackles
Lyzzard — The Abyss
MECCA — 20 Years
MMXX — Sacred Cargo
Machine Gun Kelly — Mainstream Sellout
Madman's Lullaby — Nocturnal Overdrive Part 2
Majesty of Revival — Pinnacle
Manic Sinners — King of the Badlands
Mantric Momentum — Trial by Fire
Masser — Chain Of Gifts EP
Mean to You — Strong
Medusa Touch — Insaniteyes
Megadeth — The Sick, The Dying. And The Dead!
Memphis May Fire — Remade In Misery
Mentalist — Empires Falling
Mezzoa — Dunes of Mars
Michael Bormann's Jaded Hard — Power to Win
Michael Monroe — I Live Too Fast to Die Young
Midnight — Let There Be Witchery
MindAHead — 6119 — Part I
Moonshade — As We Set the Skies Ablaze
Mors Principium Est — Liberate the Unborn Inhumanity
Motionless In White — Scoring The End Of The World
My Sleeping Karma — Atma
Mystic Circle — S/T
NWOTHM — New Age of Steel Vol. 1
Nagual — Too Far Gone EP
Nasson — Scars
Near Dusk — Through the Cosmic Fog
Neptune — The Rebirth EP
Nerv — We're All Patients Here
Nevena — S/T
Nickelback — Get Rollin'
Nicolas Cage Fighter — The Bones That Grew from Pain
Night Demon — Year Of The Demon
Nordic Union — Animalistic
Nothing More — SPIRITS
Nova Luna — Nova Vita
ONELEGMAN — Event Horizon
OU — One
Oath Sc — Hallowed Illusions
Oceans Of Slumber — Starlight And Ash
Officer X — Hell Is Coming
Onyria — Feed the Monster
Opus Arise — The Network
Orden Ogan — Final Days (Orden Ogan and Friends)
Orianthi — Live from Hollywood
Orianthi — Rock Candy
Origin — Chaosmos
Orthodox — Learning To Dissolve
Our Dying World — Hymns of Blinding Darkness
Outshine — The Awakening
Ozzy Osbourne — Patient Number 9
Palace — One 4 the Road
Palace — Retrospection — The Covers EP
Pale Waves — Unwanted
Palisades — Reaching Hypercritical
Papa Roach — Ego Trip
Parkway Drive — Darker Still
Patriarchs In Black — Reach for the Scars
Pearls & Flames — Reliance
Perfect Plan — Brace for Impact
Peterson — Metallophobia
Phil Stiles vs. Shane Aungst — The Anchorhold Dissolution
Planeswalker — Tales of Magic
Poets Of The Fall — Ghostlight
Poison Rose — Little Bang Theory
Power Paladin — With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel
Powerhill — Bunnies & Eggs EP
Praying Mantis — Katharsis
Pressure — In A Dark Heart We Trust
Primatron — Night Falls Heavy EP
Protector — Excessive Outburst of Depravity
Pulse — Dragonfly
Pure Reason Revolution — Above Cirrus
Push — Bad Intentions
Queensryche — Digital Noise Alliance
Quickstrike — None of a Kind
ROT — Yomi No Kuni
Radiant — Written by Life
Radioactive — X.X.X
Rainbow Death Rocket — A Thousand Words
Rancor — Bury the World
Re-Machined — Brain Dead
Rebel Priest — Lesson Love EP
Reckless — T.M.T.T.80
Redshark — Digital Race
Restless Spirits — Second to None
Retador — S/T
Reternity — Cosmic Dreams
Rick Reichert — Along a Path
Ring of Fire — Gravity
Rising Steel — Beyond the Gates of Hell
RivetSkull — Trail of Souls — Samsara
Rob Moratti — Epical
Ronnie Atkins — Symphomaniac EP
Ronnie Romero — Raised on Radio
Rosa Nocturna — Angels and Beasts
Ryo Okumoto — The Myth of the Mostrophus
SEPTEM — Pseudonica
Sabaton — The Symphony To End All Wars
Sabaton — The War to End All Wars
Sabu — Banshee
Saffire — Taming The Hurricane
Saints Trade — The Golden Cage
Sandness — Play Your Part
Santa Cruz — The Return of the Kings
Sartori — Dragon's Fire
Satin — Appetition
Saxon — Carpe Diem
Scaller — Noise & Clarity
Scar for Life — Sociophobia
Scattered Storm — In this Dying Sun
Scorpions — Rock Believer (Deluxe)
Sedate Illusion — Time Is Not the End + Black Untold EPs
Semblant — Vermilion — Eclipse
Serious Black — Vengeance Is Mine
Serpents In Paradise — Temptation
Seventh Station — Heal the Unhealed
Seventh Wonder — The Testament
Shameless — So Good, You Should
She Bites — Super Hero
SheWolf — S/T
Shinedown — Planet Zero
Shining Black — Postcards from the End of the World
Shiraz Lane — Forgotten Shades of Life
Sick n' beautiful — Starstruck
Sign X — Back to Eden
Signum Regis — Exodus (Remixed & Remastered)
Signum Regis — Made in Switzerland
SilentLie — Equilibrium
Silverstein — Misery Made Me
Silversun Pickups — Physical Thrills
Sinner — Brotherhood
Six by Six — S/T
Skid Row — The Gang's All Here
Skillet — Dominion
Skills — Different Worlds
Slanderous — Absorbing Infinity
Slanderus — Absorbing Infinity
Slash feat. Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators — 4
Slipknot — The End, So Far
Smashed Gladys — Raw
Soilwork — Overgivenheten
Sonata Arctica — Acoustic Adventures
Space Of Variations — IMAGO
Spirit Adrift — 20 Centuries Gone
Spirits of Fire — Embrace the Unknown
Stand Atlantic — f.e.a.r
Starchaser — S/T
Steve Dalton — Primitive
Stick To Your Guns — Spectre
StormbounD — December
Stormruler — Sacred Rites & Black Magick
Stranger Vision — Wasteland
Stratovarius — Survive
Stryper — The Final Battle
Sunstorm — Brothers in Arms
Sword — III
Sygnal to Noise — Human Condition
Syryn — Heads or Tails
SystemHouse33 — Salvation
Szabotage — Six-Pack
TRP (Thaen Rasmussen Project) — ST
Taboo — ST
Taipei Houston — Once Bit Never Bored
Tankard — Pavlov's Dawgs
Tarja — Best of — Living the Dream (Remastered)
Tarmat — Out of the Blue
Temple of Void — Summoning the Slayer
Ten — Here Be Monsters
Terra Atlantica — Beyond the Borders
The Alarm — Omega
The Big Deal — First Bite
The Birthday Massacre — Fascination
The Black Cheetahs — Slow Doomed Fever
The Cult — Under The Midnight Sun
The Dead Daisies — Radiance
The Design Abstract — Metemtechnosis
The Erinyes — S/T
The Ferrymen — One More River to Cross
The Gates — ... of Pandemonium
The Hellacopters — Eyes Of Oblivion
The Hu — Rumble Of Thunder
The Human Tornado — Love Is D‚mod‚
The Loyal Cheaters — Long Run All Dead
The Midnight — Heroes
The Mother Rockers — Kobra
The NEW Bardots — Singles Night EP
The New Roses — Sweet Poison
The Now — The Truth Always Comes Out in the End
The Oklahoma Kid — Tangerine Tragic
The Pretty Reckless — Other Worlds
The Silverblack — Judgment
The Tangent — Songs From The Hard Shoulder
Theigns & Thralls — S/T
Three Days Grace — Explosions
Threshold — Dividing Lines
Thunder — Dopamine
Thundermother — Black and Gold
Thunderor — Fire It Up
Titans Wrath — Will of the Beast EP
Tommy DeCarlo — Dancing in the Moonlight
Torben Enevoldsen — Transition
Torn Fabriks — Impera
Tough on Fridays — The Encore You Didnt Ask For
Toxik — Dis Morta
Trauma — Awakening
Trial (Swe) — Feed the Fire
Triskelyon — Downfall
Tristan Harders Twilight Theatre — Drifting Into Insanity
Tubefreeks — Unhinged
Tungsten — Bliss
Turbo Lovers — Lettin' It Fly!
Twisted Mind — From Slave To Prophet
Ty Morn — Last Villain Testament
Tymo — The Art of a Maniac
Tyrants of Chaos — Relentless Thirst for Power
UDO — The Legacy [Best Of]
Ugly Kid Joe — Rad Wings of Destiny
Ultima Grace — S/T
Until I Wake — Inside My Head
Vanderlust — S/T
Vanilla Fudge — Vanilla Zeppelin [Remaster]
Vanquisher — An Age Undreamed of
Vante — S/T
Varials — Scars For You To Remember
Vasallo — Apophany
Vault — The Perfect Truth
Venus 5 — Venus 5
Veritates — Silent War
Vermilia — Ruska
Victoria K — Kore
Virgin Idol — S/T
Vis Mystica — Celestial Wisdom EP
Vollmer — Get Yer Hands Dirty
Voodoma — Hellbound
Voodoo Moonshine — Unplugged for You EP
Vypera — Eat Your Heart Out
Wake — Thought Form Descent
WarKings — Morgana
Waysted — Heroes Die Young Waysted Vol. 2 (2000-2007)
Wayward Sons — Score Settled
We Came As Romans — Darkbloom
We are Legend — Rise of the Legend
Weaponry — Everwinding Slaughter
Wednesday 13 — Horrifier
Whirlwind — 1714
White Skies — Black Tide
Wilderun — Epigone (Deluxe)
Wildness — Resurrection
Wind Rose — Warfront
Witch Fever — Congregation
Witchery — Nightside
Witches Coven — World on Fire
Wizzo — Most Severe Crisis
Wolf — Shadowland
Wolves At The Gate — Eulogies
Wolves Until — S/T
Xentrix — Seven Words
Yelawolf — Sometimes
ZZ Top — RAW
Zadra — Guiding Star
Zeke Sky — Intergalactic Demon King
Zero Hour — Agenda 21

Honorable Mentions

Amberian Dawn — Take A Chance (A Metal Tribute to Abba). I remember when listening to their last album, thinking "they should do an entire album of ABBA songs"... Voila! And it works.

Bloodywood — Rakshak. Not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but a very interesting blend of metal and rapcore overlaid with traditional Indian instrumentation and some of the vocals sung on Hindi and Punjabi.

Chez Kane — Powerzone. Straight ahead female-fronted hard rock in the vein of classic Vixen, Lee Aaron, etc. Extremely well executed, with great choruses and power ballands.

Dan Reed Network — Lets Hear It for the King. I was never really a fan of the early DRN albums as there was a bit too much funk for my taste, and while this still retains a bit of that characteristic, it's much more traditional hard rock.

Dorothy — Gifts From The Holy Ghost. What Lizzy Hale used to be, actually better.

Fozzy — Boombox. Who knew that a former pro wrestler turned rock musician would have this much staying power? A superb slice of modern hard rock!

Ghost — Impera. Gone are the vestiges of their early metal vibes and they have fully embraced melodic rock, albeit quirky. This album flirted with my top 5 for the year.

Ginevra — We Belong to the Stars. Yet another Frontiers ADV project, although this one is quite pleasing to the ear.

H.E.A.T — Force Majeure. I'll admit, I had my trepidation when the band switched lead vocalists (again), but this turned out to be much better than expected... if only the production wasn't completely brickwalled.

Jani Liimatainen — My Father's Son. I don't typically care for albums where every song features a different vocalist, as it normally seems hodge-podge, but this is an extremely enjoyable and varied selection of styles.

Jonas Lindberg & The Other Side — Miles From Nowhere. Very enjoyable melodic prog, with great arrangements... retro '70s/'80s feel in places.

Lalu — Paint the Sky. Another prog album, this one featuring former Threshold vocalist Damian Wilson. It plays to the lighter side of prog rock, with a very '70s Yes/ELP sound.

Memoremains — Pop Metal. Female-fronted electronica-laden metal ala Amaranthe or Delain, but with the keyboard/pop elements more front and center IMO. Very enjoyable.

Michael Romeo — War Of The Worlds, Pt. 2. This is such an oddball release, part power-prog metal album, and seemingly part movie soundtrack (think Two Steps from Hell projects). Both elements succeed though. Vocalist Dino Jelusick is a powerhouse.

Muse — Will Of The People. Phenomenal album that flirted with my top 5 for the year. Not only musically enjoyable, but the anti-governmental COVID-lockdown theme resonates.

New Horizon — Gate of the Gods. One of Eric Gronwall's new efforts, sticking squarely in the power metal space rather than attempting to straddle the melrock boundary, and it works very well!

Rust n' Rage — One for the Road. I actually wasn't familiar with their first two albums, so this one came as a bit of a revelation to me. Extremely solid melodic hard rock with great choruses and vocal harmonies.

Stone Broken — Revelation. Very melodic and polished modern hard rock, kinda like Nickelback just better. Not revolutionary by any means, just enjoyable.

Treat — The Endgame. The new-era Treat albums are all quite anjoyable, although I felt that things trailed off a bit with their last effort, whereas I think this album is an actual worthy successor to 2010's Coup de Grace and 2016's Ghost of Graceland.

Ultraboss — Yachtmaster. If you're into vintage westcoast AOR at all, you owe yourself to give this one a listen. Sadly, no physical media release on this one.

Dan's Winners

5th Place

cover Crashdiet — Automaton (Crusader Records). Is this album revolutionary? No, it's just f*cking excellent. Great energy, solid production, good hooks, it all clicks. This album is incredibly consistent start to finish. There aren't many bands still carrying the sleaze glam flag, but Crashdiet waves it loudly and proudly. Having been 17 years since their first album, I was actually surprised to realize this is only their 6th album in that period. For some reason, I thought there were more... go figure.

4th Place

cover Reckless Love — Turborider (AFM Records). After a considerable hiatus since their last album, Reckless Love returns! I know that some will roll their eyes at yet another band jumping on the retrowave '80s synth bandwagon, and I've read more than one longtime Reckless Love fan poohpoohing this latest effort, but the neon colors and unapologetically mid'80s sound works IMO. Some may find the sound a bit too syrupy, with the emphasis more on the synth than their hair band roots, and there are times I wish there were more songs with a bit harder edge like the opener. The cover of Ozzy's Bark at the Moon is a polarizing one; you either love it or you hate it. The album closes on a strong note with Prodigal Son. Great replay potential over the course the past year. It just doesn't get old.

3rd Place

cover Battle Beast — Circus of Doom (Nuclear Blast). Finnish female-fronted (say that 5 times fast!) symphonic power metal but with a decidedly melodic bend, and heavy use of guitars and keyboards throughout. At times bombastic and over-the-top with a theatrical flair, yet always rifftastic, the melodies and hooks are catchy and infectious. Interestingly, there are no ballads on the album to slow things down... which I actually like. Keeping things up-tempo works throughout. Intimidating not only physically but vocally, Noora Louhimo can belt it out with the best of 'em... no timid wallflower this one.

2nd Place

cover Lords of the Trident — The Offering (Self-Released). Take some neoclassical shred, mix it with some prog metal, and put some extremely melodic vocals over the top, and you have a recipe for pure audio bliss. While I had heard the previous efforts (5 full-length albums and 3 EPs since 2011) from this Wisconsin USA independent act in passing, none of them quite resonated with me until this album. The production and polish appears to have been ratcheted up a notch. The guitar work is excellent, but what really strikes me about this album vs. prior albums is that the timbre and characteristics of the lead vocalist are extremely reminiscent of one of my favorite prog vocalists, Andrew "Mac" McDermott from Threshold (R.I.P.). While metal at its core, it's at the same time extremly melodic.

Dan's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2022 CD of the Year

cover Kissin' Dynamite — Not the End of the Road (Napalm Records). For the first time ever, an album captured the #1 spot in my play list in January and never relinquished it throughout the year. Kissin' Dynamite has seemingly been climbing my annual lists with their releases over the last 8 years: Megalomania was my #5 in 2014, Ecastasy was my #2 in 2018, and now they reach the top in 2022. This album hits on all cylinders, capturing the very essence of hair bands from the 1990s. The replayability of this album is stellar, with plenty of "ear worms" with respect to choruses and lyrical content. Surprisingly, my favorite song on the album is one that didn't get an official music video leading up to releas; the lyrics are just so on point: "No one dies a virgin, in the very end life fucks us all."

Mike's Picks for the Best of 2022

The Also Rans

2 A.M. — When Every Second Counts
Anthrax — XL
A Rising Force — Eclipse
A Rising Force — Undertow
A-Z — A-Z
A.Z.R.O. — Rock in a Hard Place
ALTZI — All Eyes on Me
Bryan Adams — So Happy It Hurts
All I Know — Vanity Kills (Deluxe Edition)
Ronnie Atkins — Make It Count
Audrey Horne — Devil's Bell
Autograph — Beyond
B.O.W — A Dump Of Twisted Destinies
Bad Sister — Where Will You Go
Bangalore Choir — Beyond Target
The Black Crowes — 1972
Black Stone Cherry — Live From The Royal Albert Hall... Y'All!
Bloody Heels — Rotten Romance
The Brave — Gravedigger
Carr Jam 21 — Carr Jam 21
Cats In Space — Kickstart The Sun
Charlotte — Charlotte
Chuck Wright's Sheltering Sky — Chuck Wright's Sheltering Sky
Collective Soul — Vibrating
Compilations — Bound For Hell: On The Sunset Strip
Alice Cooper — Live From The Astroturf
CoreLeoni — III
Crashdiet — Automaton
The Cult — Under The Midnight Sun
The Dead Daisies — Radiance
Deraps — Deraps
Devil's Train — Ashes and Bones
Dirkschneider — My Way
Durty Triix — Crackin' Skulls And Crushin' Bones
Dynazty — Final Advent
Ellefson-Soto — Vacation in the Underworld
Enuff Z'Nuff — Finer Than Sin
Fear Not — Fields of Sorrow
First Signal — Closer To The Edge
Galleyboyz — Galleyboyz
Generation Radio — Generation Radio
Giant — Shifting Time
Peter Goalby — I Will Come Runnin'
Goodbye June — See Where The Night Goes
Goo Goo Dolls — Grounded With the Goo Goo Dolls (Virtual Rock Show)
Guns N' Roses — Hard Skool
Kirk Hammett — Portals
H.E.A.T. — Force Majeure
Hit The Ground Runnin' — Lost in Translation
The Hot Summers — S/T
Iconic — Second Skin
Billy Idol — The Cage EP
Inglorious — MMXXI Live at the Phoenix
The Jokers — Rock and Roll Bones
Jaded Heart — Heart Attack
Jimi Jamison — Rock Hard
Jizzy Pearl's Love/Hate — Hell, CA
Journey — Freedom
Journey — Live in Concert at Lollapalooza
Kid Rock — Bad Reputation
KISS — Off The Soundboard: Virginia Beach 2004
KISS — Off the Sounboard: Live at Donnington (Monsters of Rock)
KISS — Off the Soundboard: Veterans Memorial Auditorium Des Moines November 29 1977
Chez Kane — Powerzone
Klassik '78 — Phantoms
Lillian Axe — Psalms For Eternity
Lips Turn Blue — Lips Turn Blue
Lonerider — Sundown
Love Stallion — Hot to Trot
Love/Hate — Best Of Re-Cut
Love in Chains — Everyday Heroes
Richard Marx — Songwriter
Metal Church — The Best of Mike Howe 2016–2021
Michael Bormann's Jaded Hard — Power to Win
The Michael Schenker Group — Universal
Mirrors Image — Run Through the Night
Rob Moratti — Epical
Motor Sister — Get Off
Nazareth — Surviving The Law
Nelson — A Nelson Family Christmas
Nelson — Greatest Hits (And Near Misses)
Nordic Union — Animalistic
Aldo Nova — 2.0 Reloaded
Aldo Nova — The Life and Times of Eddie Gage: A Little Preview (10 Song EP)
Ted Nugent — Detroit Muscle
Oslo — Don't Turn Your Back
Out of This World — Out of This World
Page 99 — For Imagination's Sake
Papa Roach — Ego Trip
Alan Parsons — One Note Symphony: Live In Tel Aviv
Axel Rudi Pell — Lost XXIII
Platinum Overdose — Covered In Leather
Raider — Runaway
Restless Spirits — Second To None
Ronnie Romero — Raised On Radio
Ron Keel Band — Keeled
Sammy Hagar and The Circle — Crazy Times
Saxon — Carpe Diem
Scarlet Rebels — See Through Blue
Slash — 4
Smith/Kotzen — Better Days... and Nights
Jeff Scott Soto — Complicated
Squared — Strange Affairs
Stages — Stages EP
Sunstorm — Brothers In Arms
Talas — 1985
Toy Cannon — Forever One
Tyler Bryant and The Shakedown — Shake The Roots
UDO — The Legacy
White Tyger — This Is The Life
Wings of Steel — S/T
Ann Wilson — Fierce Bliss
ZZ Top — Raw — That Little Ol' Band From Texas Original Soundtrack
Zinny J. Zan — Lullabies For The Masses

Honorable Mentions

Black Swan — Generation Mind. Robin McAuley and Co return with their follow up to 2020's excellent "Shake the World". While I prefer the debut, this one is a solid follow-up, and hopefully we will hear more from them in the future.

Tommy DeCarlo — Dancing in the Moonlight. This one came out very late in the year, which is a shame, as it kinda got lost during the holidays. A much better effort than the self titled Decarlo release from 2020; you can hear the wonderful vocal melodies and singing prowess that earned Tommy the gig with Boston. AOR/melodic rock lovers should definitely check this one out.

Fozzy — Boombox. "Sane" and "I Still Burn"; what an awesome one-two punch to open up this killer album. Jericho and crew have another winner here.

Ghost — Impera. Worth picking up just for "Spillways" and "Call Me Little Sunshine", but the rest of the album is pretty damn good too! One of my favorite bands of the last decade.

Girish and the Chronicles — Hail to the Heroes. Killer release from India's GatC. "Love's Damnation" and the title cut are worth the price of admission alone.

House of Lords — Saints and Sinners. House of Lords are one of my perrenial favorites, and that continues with this disc. Not up to the levels of some of their previous albums, but still one that I've returned to many times this year.

Misery — Misery Loves Company. Great archive release from Eonian Records originally recorded back in 1991, with "Hit n Run Lover" and "She Likes It" being standouts. These guys came along about 2-3 years too late to capitalize on the "hair metal" boom of the 80s, which is unfortunate, as they had the chops!

Nickelback — Get Rollin'. Nickelback return after 5 years between releases, with another slab of killer modern hard rock. First single "San Quentin" and the follow up ballad "Those Days" are standouts.

David Paich — Forgotten Toys. Nice little EP from Toto's David Paich, which features one of my favorite songs of the year, "Spirit of the Moonrise".

Palace — One 4 The Road. 2022 brings another standout effort from Sweden's Michael Palace. I particularly enjoy the opener "Fifteen Minutes" and "Time Crisis".

Perfect Plan — Brace For Impact. Kent Hilli and gang return with their 3rd studio release, and it's another corker. Solid from start to finish, with "Gotta Slow Me Down" and "Devil's Got the Blues" being personal faves.

Queensryche — Digital Noise Alliance. Easily the Ryche's best release featuring Todd La Torre; I'm sure this one will feature highly on many Best of 2022 lists.

David Readman — Medusa. Killer melodic metal release from the Pink Cream 69 frontman; I've returned to this one quite a bit since it's release. The opener "Madame Medusa" is a particular fave!

Treat — The Endgame. While still a little short of the excellence that was 2010's "Coup De Grace" and 2016's "Ghost of Graceland", "The Endgame" is a wonderful addition to the Treat discography, and should be a must own if you're already a fan!

Stryper — The Final Battle. One of my usual top 5 favorites, Stryper are one of the only bands who emerged in the 80s whose current output actually eclipses what they released back in the day. While this one doesn't quite live up to "No More Hell to Pay" or "God Damn Evil" in my opinion, it's still an excellent release, with "Transgressor", "Rise to the Call", and "Ashes to Ashes" being faves.

Scorpions — Rock Believer. Wow, I was not expecting this from the Scorps. "Rock Believer" is easily their best work of the 21st century, supplanting 2007's "Humanity Hour 1" as my favorite "recent" release from the band. Other than the annoying chorus to "Roots in My Boots", this one is quite good from start to finish.

Shinedown — Planet Zero. After several subpar releases, Shinedown return with an excellent platter of modern hard rock. The title track, "Dysfunctional You", "Dead Don't Die" are all killer, but it's "A Symptom of Being Human" that steals the show; easily one of the best songs of the year. Nice return to form.

Ozzy Osbourne — Patient Number 9. Rock solid follow-up to 2020's "Ordinary Man", which I prefer just a bit to this one, but there are several excellent tracks here. The opening trio of the title track, "Immortal", and "Parasite" are all killer tracks, along with "One of Those Days", and "Degradation Rules" as well. Great back to back releases from the Prince of Darkness!

Storace — Live and Let Live. Solo release from Krokus frontman Marc Storace, and a damn fine release it is! Overall, just a bit "lighter" than recent Krokus releases, this one should still appeal to fans of his long time band, or anyone who simply enjoys good melodic rock. The title track, "Carry the Burden", "Broken Wings", "Lady of the Night", and "High on Love" are all personal faves. Check this one out if you haven't already done so! Just missed my top 5.

Dorothy — Gifts From the Holy Ghost. Absolutely excellent female fronted hard rock, which has graced my CD player over and over again throughout the year. "A Beautiful Life", "Rest in Peace", "Black Sheep", the title track, and "Close to Me Always (one of 2022's best songs period!) are faves, but the entire disc is solid from start to finish. Another that just barely missed my top 5. Highly recommended!

Mike's Winners

5th Place

cover Kissin' Dynamite — Not the End of the Road (Napalm Records). Can I tell you a secret? Prior to the release of this album back in January 2022, I didn't own a single Kissin' Dynamite CD. After owning this one for about a week, I picked up their "Best Of" release from 2021, and that led to me going back and picking up their entire discography. That speaks to how impressed I was and still am with "Not the End of the Road". It may sound cliche', but there's not a bad song on offer here, with the title track, "Only the Dead", "What Goes Up", "Good Life" , "No One Dies a Virgin" (love those lyrics!) , and "Defeat It!" being personal faves. Just an absolutely incredible effort from these German rockers; I now look forward to hearing what comes next!

4th Place

cover Reckless Love — Turborider (AFM Records). Reckless Love have always released good to above average albums, particularly their 2010 debut, but with the AOR/hard rock/synthwave amalgam that is 2022's "Turborider", they have found an amazing sound that works perfectly for them! From the excellent opening title track to "Outrun" , "Kids of the Arcade" , "For the Love of Good Times"... heck, I even enjoy their cover of Ozzy's "Bark at The Moon", which I know quite a few folks do NOT like, this one has made its way back to my CD player over and over again. Most people seem to either love or hate this one; count me solidly in the LOVE column. I wholeheartedly hope they stick with this sound for any future releases; well done chaps!

3rd Place

cover Gunshine — ST (Self-Released). The big surprise of 2022 has been these hard rockers from Pensacola, Florida; man what an ass kicking debut they've released! Appealing to fans of gritty hard rock ala AC/DC, GnR, and Tora Tora, Gunshine have put together 10 sizzling tracks for you to enjoy. Check out the opening double dose of "Loud" and "Daylight" to hear exactly what these boys are all about. Just a monster of an album that I can not recommend highly enough to anyone who frequents Heavy Harmonies! I await a follow-up with baited breath; bring it!

2nd Place

cover Skid Row — The Gang's All Here (EarMusic). After 8 long years, Skid Row are back! And not only are they back, they've returned with new vocalist Erik Gronwall (of H.e.a.t fame), and produced one of the best albums of the year. To say I wasn't expecting this one to be this good would be an understatement. From the opening salvo of "Hell or High Water" and "The Gang's All Here", to the infectious "Time Bomb" and "When the Lights Come On", to possibly my favorite song of the year "Tear It Down", this one just kicks constant ass! Erik's vocals have brought a renewed energy to the band which will hopefully carry over to their live performances, and eventually a follow-up to this excellent disc! Bravo!

Mike's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2022 CD of the Year

cover Def Leppard — Diamond Star Halos (UMe). If there is one positive that came out of the pandemic, it was that the time away from touring allowed some bands to work on new music, and that's exactly how Def Leppard's "Diamond Star Halos" came to be. With the band members spread across the globe, they shared musical ideas back and forth online, and pieced together the 15 songs that make up this excellent release. Not going to lie, it took me a little bit to warm up to some of the songs on offer, particularly "This Guitar" and "Open Your Eyes", but the more I listened, the more it all fell into place, and the more I loved it! The opening trio of "Take What You Want" (which fit seamlessly into their live show), "Kick", and "Fire It Up" all hearken back to the "Hysteria" and "Adrenalize" days, while "Liquid Dust" and "All We Need" wouldn't sound out of place amongst the "Slang" tracks. The big surprise for me is "Lifeless", a country flavored duet between Joe and bluegrass songstress Alison Krauss which is just a beautiful song! The overall vibe of the album honors the glam bands that the Leps grew up listening to, while maintaining a sound unmistakably their own. In my opinion, their best work since 2002's "X", and probably their most overall consistent release of the last 30 years. Easily my number one album of 2022; the mighty Def Leppard are back!

Contributor Picks

Jez's Picks for the Best of 2022

The Also Rans

Lee Aaron — Elevate
About Us — About Us
Bryan Adams — So Happy It Hurts
Anvil — Impact Is Imminent
Arc Of Life — Don't Look Down
Autograph — Beyond
The Big Deal — First Bite
Bite The Bullet — The End Of The Line
Tim Bowness — Butterfly Mind
Burnt Out Wreck — Stand And Fight
Chicago — Born For This Moment
Circle Of Friends — The Garden
Cleanbreak — Coming Home
Collage — Over And Out
CoreLeoni — III
Crashdiet — Automaton
Crossing Rubicon — Perfect Storm
Dare — Road To Eden
Def Leppard — Diamond Star Halos
Tom DeLuca — Street Rock
Dynazty — Final Advent
Electric Callboy — Tekkno
Enuff Z'Nuff — Finer Than Sin
Envy Of None — Envy Of None
Epica — The Alchemy Project
The Erinyes — The Erinyes
The Ferrymen — One More River To Cross
Find Me — Lightning In a Bottle
First Signal — Closer To The Edge
The Flower Kings — Royal Decree
FM — Thirteen
Forget-Me-Not — Forget Me Not (Featuring Jane Gould)
Fortune — Level Ground
GUN — The Carlton Songs
Giant — Shifting Time
Girish And The Chronicles — Hail To The Heroes
Girl — Tokyo Tease — First Japan Tour 1980
Peter Goalby — I Will Come Runnin'
Graham Bonnet Band — Day Out In Nowhere
Hardcore Superstar — Abrakadabra
Hydra — Point Break
House Of Lords — Saints And Sinners
Journey — Live In Concert At Lollapalooza
Keldian — The Bloodwater Rebellion
Jaime Kyle — Wild One
Lacuna Coil — Comilies XX
Lalu — Paint The Sky
Lionville — So Close To Heaven
Lonerider — Sundown
Magnum — The Monster Roars
Megadeth — The Sick, The Dying... And The Dead
The Michael Schenker Group — Universal
Moonlight Haze — Animus
Rob Moratti — Epical
Nasson — Scars
Nevena — Nevena
Nickelback — Get Rollin'
Aldo Nova — 2.0 Reloaded
Aldo Nova — The Life And Times Of Eddie Gage EP.
Ted Nugent — Detroit Muscle
Ousey/Mann — Is Anybody Listening
Out Of This World — Out Of This World
Pale Waves — Unwanted
Alan Parsons — From The New World
Pearls And Flames — Reliance
PG Roxette — Pop-Up Dynamo
Porcupine Tree — Closure/ Continuation
Praying Mantis — Katharsis
Radioactive — X.X.X
The Rasmus — Rise
Sabaton — War To End All Wars
Sabu — Banshee
Sarayasign — Throne Of Gold
Satin — Appetition
Joe Satriani — The Elephants Of Mars
Serious Black — Vengeance Is Mine
SheWolf — SheWolf
Shinedown — Planet Zero
Sick N'Beautiful — Starstruck
Skid Row — The Gang's All Here
Skills — Different Worlds
Slash Feat. Myles Kennedy — 4
Smith/ Kotzen — Better Days... And Nights
Jeff Scott Soto — Complicated
Storace — Live And Let Live
Strategy — Secrets
Stryper — The Final Battle
Sunstorm — Brothers In Arms
Tarja — Best Of: Living The Dream
Ten — Here Be Monsters
Thunder — Dopamine
Turkish Delight — Volume 1.
Tygers Of Pan Tang — A New Heartbeat
Venus 5 — Venus 5
Von Hertzen Brothers — Red Alert In The Blue Forest
Charlotte Wessels — Tales From Six Feet Under Vol 1 & 2
White Skies — Black TIde
Wildness — Resurrection
Ann Wilson — Fierce Bliss

Honorable Mentions

A-Z — A-Z. Very solid debut from Fates Warning's Ray Alder and Mark Zonder. Highly sophisticated melodic metal with hooks galore.

Allen/ Olzon — Army Of Dreamers. Two great voices mixed with Magnus Karlsson's trademark symphonic metal sound, adding up to a very classy album.

Amberian Dawn — Take a Chance: A Metal Tribute To ABBA. An obvious path for the band to take after the previous 'Looking For You' album and a highly enjoyable disc of Abba covers, tastefully re-created.

Arena — The Theory Of Molecular Inheritance. Delayed by 3 years due to the pandemic, the new album finally sees the light of day and a sublime slice of Noe Progressive music it is. One of the best albums of their lengthy career.

At The Movies — The Soundtrack To Your Life Vol. 2. The Swedish all star band returns with more classy soundtrack covers. Not quite as good as Vol. 1 but a great, fun listen all the same.

Tobias Sammet's Avantasia — A Paranormal Evening With The Moonflower Society. The 9th Avantasia album which sticks mainly to the previously tried and tested formula. Excellent performances from Ronnie Atkins, Bob Catley, Geoff Tate, Michael Kiske, Jorn Lande and a host of others.

Ronnie Atkins — Make It Count. A Superb follow up to last years 'One Shot', once again written and produced by Chris Laney. If you loved the first, this is a no brainer and is of equal quality and one of the best of the year.

Kris Barras Band — Death Valley. Superb slice of muscular Blues rock and their best album to date.

Battle Beast — Circus Of Doom. The Band's sixth album of heavy metal with highly commercial, hooky songwriting.

The Birthday Massacre — Fascination. The band's signature Goth Synth Pop/Rock sound. beautiful melodies, crunchy guitars and some excellent songwriting.

Black Swan — Generation Mind. McAuley, Beach and Pilson return for another rock solid slice of hard rocking melodic goodness.

Captain Blackbeard — Neon Sunrise. A band that has gotten better and better with subsequent releases, with this one being their best yet. 80's style melodic rock, with infectious hooks and melodies.

Ole Borud — Soul Letters. A wonderfully written and produced album from one of Norway's best singer/ songwriters. Top class rock/ pop and soul.

Cardinal Black — January Came Close. Soulful vocals, fabulous guitar and an impressive set of songs on this very impressive debut album.

Cheap Trick — Live At The Whisky. A 4 disc set featuring 4 full shows highlighting the band at their early, raw, brilliant best. An absolute essential purchase for all CT fans.

The Dan Reed Network — Let's Hear It for The King. DRN hitting the sweet spot and right back on form with their 6th album of funky,hard rock.

Dawn Patrol — Bring On The Good Time. A top quality debut of west coast, soft rock and pop from this new Dutch band.

Degreed — Are You Ready. Already 6 albums in and one of the most consistent bands out there. Melodic, catchy songs, expertly played and produced.

Edenbridge — Shangri-La. Highly melodic and accessible symphonic rock from one of the longstanding bands of the genre. A must buy for fans of the bands previous work.

John Elefante — The Amazing Grace. The former Kansas/Mastedon singer returns with a new solo album which mixes prog/pop and praise music to perfection. Still one of the best voices out there.

Gathering Of Kings — Enigmatic. Up to the standards of the first 2 albums and another excellent set of highly melodic, bombastic hard rock.

Generation Radio — Generation Radio. A new 'Supergroup' centred around the talents of Jay DeMarcus, Deen Castronovo and Jason Scheff. Highly melodic rock with more than a hint of all the member's day jobs, especially the new country sound. Highly impressive.

Grand — Grand. Lush, keyboard friendly AOR featuring Jakob Svensson from Wigelius. Impressive songs, well played and produced. One of the better Frontiers releases of the year.

H.E.A.T — Force Majeure. Kenny Leckremo is back for the bands 7th album and whilst it sticks to the successful tried and tested formula of previous releases, it's not their best. Still worthy of recognition though with some rocking tracks.

Iconic — Second Skin. Hoekstra, Sweet , Aldridge, Mendoza and the ever impressive Nathan James team up for a mighty fine Whitesnke inspired debut album. Super stuff from beginning to end.

Billy Idol — The Cage EP. Pretty much a continuation from last year's excellent 'The Roadside' EP, with his ever-present sidekick Steve Stevens providing guitar duties.

Jimi Jamison — Rock Hard. Previously unreleased 1990 debut solo album ,which rocks harder than 'the eventual' When Love Comes Down' release. Jimi is in fine form vocally as always.

Journey — Freedom. It's overlong, and badly produced and mixed in places, but still features a host of good to great songs over all. Just enough to give it a recommendation, but approach with a little caution.

Chez Kane — Powerzone. The excellent debut last year, is followed quickly by an even better follow up here. Pure 80's melodic rock of quality and a really good album.

Kite Parade — The Way Home. A wonderful mix of prog and rock on this debut album from multi-instrumentalist Andy Foster. File under, Yes, Genesis and Supertramp.

James LaBrie — Beautiful Shade Of Grey. Tuneful and melodic lite prog rock from the Dream Theater vocalist, ably backed by Paul Logue (ex Eden's Curse).

Lonely Robot — A Model Life. Lush, melodic prog with some soaring guitar work. One if not THE best Lonely Robot (John Mitchell) album so far.

Clif Magness — Road To Gold: Official Collection Of Lost Demos. 60 tracks over 4 discs, eclectic in style and eras. but all featuring the exquisite talents of this gifted musician. A gem from the Melodicrock Classics label.

Marillion — An Hour Before It's Dark. One of the best Hogarth era Marillion albums by far. Powerful, uplifting and top quality in every aspect.

Richar Marx — Songwriter. 20 tracks showcasing the variation of RM's songwriting ability. Rock, pop, country and ballads are all featured on a highly enjoyable album,

The Midnight — Heroes. The 3rd full album from this excellent duo and another sublime mix of synthwave, pop/rock, with the 80's movie/nostalgia feel. Very highly recommended.

Monkey House — Remember The Audio. A first rate musical journey through rock, soul, jazz and pop, on one of the band's finest albums.

Muse — Will Of The People. Muse return with a big bang on their new album, which is a big return to form. All the typical classic Muse trademarks are present on a short (37 mins) but excellent album.

Nordic Union — Animalistic. Erik Martensson and Ronnie Atkins return with the 3rd Nordic Union album and the best one yet. Bombastic hard rock of the best calibre.

Ozzy Osbourne — Patient Number 9. Strong songwriting, outstanding playing from all involved, especially all the guest guitarists, Tony Iommi, Mike McCready, Jeff Beck, Zack Wylde and Eric Clapton and THE best Ozzy album in many many years. Fantastic stuff!

Page 99 — For Imagination's Sake. A continuation from the fabulous debut album and another slice of fantastic pure west coast music.

David Paich — Forgotten Toys. 7 track mini album from the Toto keyboardist and a great mix of styles, featuring most of the Toto guys. You know immediately where musically this is coming from and I would have loved more tracks, but the quality shines through. All Toto fans will have to have this in their collection.

Palace — One 4 The Road. Gifted multi-instrumentalist/producer and one of the leading lights of the melodic rock scene, returns with his 4th album of quality 80's inspired AOR.

Pattern Seeking Animals — Only Passing Through. 3rd album in 3 years from this impressive new progressive outfit, featuring members of Spock's Beard and instrumentalist/ producer John Boegehold.

Perfect Plan — Brace For Impact. The new album shows the band full of momentum, following on from their first 2 impressive albums. Slightly tougher in sound, but certainly no dip in quality.

Queensryche — Digital Noise Alliance. The 4th album with Todd LaTorre and their best yet. This is quintessential QR, whilst sounding fresh and up to date, with plenty to offer.

Rammstein — Zeit. Whilst not as heavy as some of their previous releases, this ticks all the boxes and delivers in spades. Accessible, melodic yet still offering the typical heavy bombast as well as lighter moments too.

Reckless Love — Turborider. The long awaited new album and a slight change in style with more of a synthwave element to some tracks, whilst retaining the bands knack for catchy, commercial melodic rock.

Bjorn Riis — Everything To Everyone/A Fleeting Glimpse. The latest full album and new EP. from the highly talented Airbag guitarist and a collection of well crafted music with more than a nod to David Gilmour/Pink Floyd, beautifully played and executed.

Saxon — Carpe Diem. A powerhouse of an album, proving without doubt that Saxon are still one of the leading lights in the traditional metal scene.

Scorpions — Rock Believer. The legendary German rockers return with another album that sounds unsurprisingly like, err... The Scorpions. It's not their best release, but still contains enough quality material to satisfy most.

Six By Six — Six By Six. A new 'Supergroup' made up of Robert Berry, Saga's Ian Crichton and Saxon drummer Nigel Glockler. An interesting mix, which works really well, with some especially great guitar playing on the rockier progressive music presented. Takes a few spins to really appreciate, but a rewarding listen all the same.

Soilwork — Overgivenheten. A musically eclectic album, this has everything from the heaviness of former releases, to a more accessible, more commercial side, sounding not too dissimilar to Bjorn Strid's Night Flight Orchestra project on a couple of cuts. A brilliant album of melodic death metal, with the melody to the fore.

State Cows — High And Dry. Another of those top quality Swedish bands that does this pure west coast music so well. Album number 4 from them and of equal quality to what has gone before.

This House We Built — This House We Built. For a self released/produced debut, this is an outstanding effort. Classic rock at its best, with some excellent, varied songs and great performances.

Threshold — Dividing Lines. One of the big prog metal albums of the year, from one of the best bands of the genre and another fantastic album of unforgettable hooks and superb songs.

Devin Townsend — Lightwork. One of his most accessible, direct and also ambitious albums to date. The double CD version with the companion 'Nightwork' disc is recommended.

Steve Vai — Inviolate. More brilliant virtuoso guitar from the world's best guitar player. with some nice guests including Billy Sheehan, Terry Bozio, Vinny Colaiuta, as well as his stellar regular band.

Violet — Illusions. Very cool retro 80's style AOR, with some great, catchy songs from this new German band.

White Spirit — Right Or Wrong. Over 40 years in the making and finally a follow up th the brilliant S/T debut album. Only one original member remains, but the songs, whilst more melodic rock in feel than the pomp and Deep Purple Isms of the debut, certainly hit the mark. The late Brian Howe is also featured and puts in a memorable performance on several tracks.

Young Gun Silver Fox — Ticket To Shangri-La. The duo's 4th album and a lovely mix of retro pop,soul and west coast. Very classy indeed.

ZZ Top — Raw: The Little Ol' Band From Texas. Stripped back ZZ classics taken from the excellent documentary soundtrack.

Jez's Winners

5th Place

cover Ghost — Impera (Loma Vista Records). The sequel to Prequelle and whilst I personally think this falls a step short of that album, this really does firmly establish Ghost as leading lights in the rock world and another outstanding album of quality, great songs and most importantly, uniqueness, which makes this band standout from the rest. An album that I am sure will be high on many people's lists this year.

4th Place

cover Kissin' Dynamite — Not the End of the Road (Napalm Records). A band that has continued to grow over subsequent albums and has finally delivered their true potential in a truly great album. Track after track of really great arena rock anthems from start to finish, no weak links, hooks galore, fabulous production and an album that leaves you with a big smile on your face as you hit the repeat button.

3rd Place

cover Treat — The Endgame (Frontiers Records). The 4th of the new era of Treat albums and as expected, another winner. and without detriment to the others, I would put this as the best one yet. The quality of songs, although sticking to their 'formula', shines through yet again, proving once and for all the absolute quality music this band produces. Move this to the top of the pile, as it is one of the best the band have produced. Hopefully this is not The Endgame and will see the band producing more albums like this and the previous 3.

2nd Place

cover Cats In Space — Kickstart The Sun (Harmony Factory). For me, one of the best bands out there over the course of their incredibly consistent 5 album career so far. With their blend of great songs, musicianship and live performances, this seems to have truly won people over in general and this new album is no exception. 15 excellently written and produced tracks that encompass a rich tapestry of styles the band has become famous for. An epic album in all cases and a band absolutely firing on all cylinders.

Jez's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2022 CD of the Year

cover Poets Of The Fall — Ghostlight (Playground Music Scandinavia). The Poets have been one of my "go to" bands for a few years now and have never failed in delivering really great albums over the years. This, their 9th release, continues the quality and has been one of my most listened to albums this year and has really helped me over a few difficult times. Uplifting, beautiful songs with the magic voice of Marko Saaresto, Ghostlight is a truly brilliant album that reveals many layers and flavours and an album that gets better and better on repeated listens!

Terry's Picks for the Best of 2022

The Also Rans

Wednesday 13 — Horrifier
Ty Tabor — Shades
Kings X — Three Sides of One
Kissin' Dynamite — Not the End of the Road
Blackrain — Untamed
Nestor — Kids in a Ghosttown
Michael Moroe — I Live Too Fast To Die Young
Hairy Groupies — Glamnization

Honorable Mentions

Leather Boys — Born & Reborn in the 70's (The Fish Factory, May 2022). This is a glamorous and glorious "re-issue"/repackaging (brilliantly decadent) of this release and it is amazing. The band is as sleazy as all heck and I'm a fan from way back!

Wyld Ryde — Gasoline Alley (Self-Released, December 2021). This came out very late in 2021 so couldn't be properly appreciated by everyones, hence its inclusion here. This is sleazy hard rock well worth your attention.

The Midnight Devils — Never Beg For It (Pavement Entertainment , July 2022). Yet another independant sleazy hard rock glam band from the States. THey look as cool as they sound and this platter is really fun.

Imperial Circus Dead Decadence — Mogari (Radtone, June 2022). My son turned me onto this far too talented Japanese extreme metal band that's the fodder fuel for many anime and OSU fanboys alike. The band is far too talented to be ignored.

Santa Cruz — The Return of the Kings (M-Theory Audio, August 2022). Never followed the band to intently, and many "fans" poo poo this release as its "Not Santa Cruz", but Archie Cruz is a talent and this latest SC album is really really good, no matter what you say.

Terry's Winners

5th Place

cover Septik — Marked For Death (Self-Released, November 2022). This little known EP from these babies in Texas is what we as music fans get all spun up about. Now Septik is an old old old school thrash band in modern times. They are far too clued into what once was to be ignored as they are doing it better in 2022 then their idols did 35 years ago. Again this is very good trash metal and you should be paying attention.

4th Place

cover Iron Kingdom — The Blood of Creation (Self-Released, November 2022). To put a bow on Iron Kingdom's The Blood of Creation, its dang good, borderline perfect and any fan of hard rock and heavy metal that is slathered with soaring epic vocals, dual guitar rhythm and shredding solo's layed down on a feather bed of thunderous, galloping and filling chattering drums and bass then go go go get you some of this. A monster, thank you to Chris for taking the time to chat me up and gift me this glorious CD. A MUST for fans of metal that is inline with Malice's Against the Empire or the self titled Metal Church disc.

3rd Place

cover Warrior Soul — Out On Bail (Livewire/Cargo Records UK, March 2022). It goes without saying that we all get long in the tooth, some wear better than others and as the eletists of the world will immediately announce a particular band or artists weakness' when they show any faults or frailties that deviate from that 1 moment in time that in that elitists mind is the bar, and anything less is unlistenable and a bashing follows. Such has been the unfortunate mantra from those non fans at the mere mention of new music from Warrior Soul and Kory Clarke. There are a couple ways to look at this: one, you can light artists afire for no good reason and hide away behind your keyboard in your grandma's basement, cause you can (even though you shouldn't) and of course because you never had the gumption to stick your neck out and make art. The second is to take an honest, meaningful approach to the art and offer a more positive assertion on the blood, sweat, beers and tears of that performer. I prefer to assume positively as my glass is normally half full and then some.

As for Kory and his many prolific outings, solo, with Warrior Soul or otherwise, he has held the brass ring and then bopped that ring aside the heads of those that deserved it, emassed a discography to be rivaled by few and has done so for the past 30 some odd years, with his head held high, stiff middle finger at the ready and a chip the size of a Chrysler on his overburdened, but incredibly talented shoulders. Over those years the creativity hasn't faltered, whereas at times the voice may have. But again, when you leave it all on the stage (of life and otherwise), you'll get two fistfulls of battle scars.

Clocking in at a little over 30 minutes Out On Bail would never be accused of being a long play, but the methodology certainly holds strong to what once was, when we'd grab the latest cassette or album from the record store, of our heroes and blaze through the release, loving every second and then yearning for more, not unlike what Kory and Warrior Soul has done with Out On Bail. They got in, laid waste, got out and left us ears ringing, clamoring for our clothes and begging for more. In Conclusion (get it ;)) if you appreciate all things that are Warrior Soul and in particular the mad genius that is Kory Clarke Out On Bail will not disappoint as in this writer's opinion this has been as close to a vintage Warrior Soul as a hole as we have seen, sure we've gotten glimpses of it, but nothing this complete and again, Kory has his battle scars but still brings his A-game and I am grateful and appreciative of his tenacity and passion for continuing the legacy in any form. Thank you Kory!

2nd Place

cover Sometimes Y — Sometimes Y (Slumerican, March 2022). L.I.B. and sometimes y. L.I.B. being an old timey joke that translates to "well I'll be" and for those that aren't too far removed from primary school, sometimes y, was always the exception to the seemingly stringent (and equally befuddling) spelling rules. How does this pertain to Shooter Jennings and Yelawolf, a mashup of creativity that from across the street would be as confusing and complex as a Rubik's cube and at first, second and third glance shouldn't math, right? Well absolutely, positively and resoundingly, NO. This pairing, as we will soon find out, is as perfect as chocolate and peanut butter, cold pizza and warm beer, Hall & Oates or country, pop, synth wave and hip hop. Simply put,the exception to the rule, the statement that tosses logic to the wind, Sometimes Y.

This record is damn good, borderlining on great. Shooter and Yelawolf have created a near masterpiece that has more influences and nods to old, new, borrowed, and blue than should be allowed, yet the myriad of influences and musical stylings work quite well. I have to wonder what Sometimes Y album #2 might be like, fingers crossed they collaborate again as Yealwolf's voice along with Shooter's prowess needs to be continued. Of note, I must say as a Butch Walker fanboy (for those unfamiliar please make it your goal to change that), Shooter and Yelawolf are right there in his (imho) elite company as songwriters (song craftsman), musicians, producers and musical aficionados. Well done fellas, consider me floored, a fan and quite anxious for what's next.

Terry's Pick for Heavy Harmonies 2022 CD of the Year

cover Stabbing Westward — Chasing Ghosts (COP International, March 2022). Really no further explanation is necessary. If you had ears in 2022 and heard a note from Stabbing Westword's Chasing Ghosts you IMMEDIATELY fell hard, the disc is perfection on a silver platter and I triple dog dare anyone to conjure up an intelligent dispute otherwise. The lead off single "Ghost" is ridiculous. Pounding, anthemic, energetic, infectious and downright soul crushing. I simply love it and have to wonder whether Christopher Hall is as broken as he writes and sings about or the most well adjusted person in the room. Either way "Ghost" is a textbook example of not so subtle, yet brilliant song writing. I mean c'mon, "I'm just a ghost trapped in these memories" and that haunting xylaphone-esque rhythm with the keyboard overlay is magical as well as hammering home the entirety of the song. Chasing Ghosts is Stabbing Westwards comeback after a 21 year hiatus and if it takes another 20 years for the follow up, it will be sad, but if I wait as this record is well worth it.

Existing comments about Best of 2022

From: Auslander Date: January 31, 2023 at 12:12
Another year of fine releases. Favourite release: Fans of the Dark "Suburbia" Favourite debut: Vypera "Eat Your Heart Out" Favourite female-fronted album: Dorothy "Gifts from the Holy Ghost" Favourite "supergroup" release: Iconic "Second Skin" Favourite legacy band release: Skid Row "The Gang's All Here" Favourite retrowave release: Dance With the Dead "Driven to Madness" Favourite mainstream release: Muse "Will of the People" Favourite prog-rock release: Porcupine Tree "Closure/Continuation" Favourite single: Def Leppard "Take What You Want" Final Top 5: 1. Fans of the Dark - Suburbia 2. Crashdiet - Automaton 3. Skid Row - The Gang's All Here 4. Stryper - The Final Battle 5. Kissin' Dynamite - Not the End of the Road

From: Doghouse Reilly Date: January 31, 2023 at 16:48
1. Immolation—Acts Of God; 2. Thundermother—Black And Gold; 3. Clutch—Sunrise On Slaughter Beach; 4. Meshuggah—Immutable; 5. Skid Row—The Gang's All Here; 7. Midnight—Szex Witchery; 7. Crowbar—Zero And Below; 8. Evergrey—A Heart_ortrait (The Orphean Testament); 9. Arch Enemy—Deceivers; 10. Deathwhite—Grey Everlasting. Honorable Mentions: Slash—4; Kreator—Hate Uber Alles; Ghost—Impera; Lamb Of God—Omens. Biggest disappointment: Amon Amarth—The Great Heathen Army, not that it's bad, it just doesn't make me feel much of anything, for the third album in a row. Three's a trend, and a disturbing one.

From: Doghouse Reilly Date: January 31, 2023 at 16:50
That Evergrey title: A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament). Sorry.

From: CC Date: January 31, 2023 at 19:01
My top five can change positions at the drop of a hat, so defo not in order: Chez Kane - Powerzone, Scorpions - Rock Believer, Reckless Love - Turborider, Electric Callboy - Tekkno, Megadeth - The sick, the dying & the dead. Have to give props to a few others though. Fozzy - Boombox, Girish & The Chronicles - Hail to the heroes, Black Swan - Generation mind ... probably a few others, but don't spring to mind.

From: CC Date: January 31, 2023 at 19:02
Oh and Bloodywood - Rakshak (kicking myself for forgetting that)

From: Doug Date: January 31, 2023 at 22:00
First, a tip of the cap to Dan, Mike, Jez and Terry, wow the work you put into your lists is incredible. My favorites from 2022 - Def Leppard, "Diamond Star Halos," Skid Row, "The Gangs All Here," and Queensryche, "Digital Alliance." But my FAVORITE album? Easy pick, Dorothy, "Gifts From The Holy Ghost." A real breakthrough for Dorothy Martin and her band. Check it out, it's great.

From: 123charpenay Date: February 1, 2023 at 10:18
in france we says "tous les gouts sont dans la nature".(all the tastes are in the nature).like all years i m not agree with the others top ten for 2022 is: 1 CIRCLE OF FRIENDS "the garden" 2 FORTUNE "level ground" 3 ALLISON "they never come back" 4 VIOLET "illusions" 5 VICTORY gods of tomorrow"6 SUNSTORM "brothers in arms" 7 RICK ALTZI "all eyes on me" 8 RUST N RAGE "one for the road" 9 WILDNESS "ressurrection" 10 DEF LEPPARD "diamond star halo".

From: Planet Y Date: February 1, 2023 at 12:04
5. King's X - Three sides of one First album in a long long time, a warm bath of harmonic rock 4. Tony Martin - Thorns A surprise for me, starts modern heavy, but then goes all through the world of classic, melodic hardrock. 3. House of Lords - Saints & Sinners Mark Mangold as the new keyboard-player, a great new addition to this band. Classy seventies & eighties tinged rock anthems, maybe my favorite release by the band so far. 2. Queensr˙che - DNA Although I think The Verdict is even better as an album, you can hear that this is an album that has been made by people jamming together instead of sending eachother files. A grower. 1. Ghost - Impera Masterfully composed earworms chockfull with the spirit of rock.

From: Doghouse Reilly Date: February 1, 2023 at 13:55
Gotta say I'm quite surprised to see Stabbing Westward make someone's number-one. Not an HH band by any stretch, but I thought they were pretty cool in the late '90's. I'll have to check the new stuff out.

From: guitarrizer Date: February 2, 2023 at 9:35
1. Queensr˙che - Digital Noise Alliance; 2. H.e.a.t - Force Majeure; 3. Acid Witch - Rot Among Us; 4. Edge Of Forever - Seminole ;5. Skills - Different Worlds; 6. Seventh Wonder - The Testament; 7. Immolation - Acts Of God; 8. Simon Phillips - Protocol V; 9. Andy Timmons - Electric Truth; 10. King Buffalo - Regenerator. My full Top 50 2022 list is here:

From: NealWex Date: February 8, 2023 at 5:36
My top 10 1 Fury Born to Sin 2 Bomber Nocturnal Creatures 3 Crashdiet Automation 4 H.E.A.T. Force Majore 5 Motor Sister Get Off 6 Skid Row The Gang's All Here 7 Thundermother Black and Gold 8 Hell Fire Reckoning 9 Ironflame Where Madness Dwells 10 Dead City Ruins Shockwave

From: X-Rocketer Date: February 8, 2023 at 21:34
I will never understand what makes People like this boring Pop from Ghost. Anyway thanks for some tips here...

From: Planet Y Date: February 10, 2023 at 9:55
If pop sounded like Ghost, I'd listen to the radio all day.

From: Metal T Date: February 11, 2023 at 18:13
Always nice to see HH is still rolling down the track some 20+ years later.It continues to be a truly unique realm on the net even to this day.Good luck finding another resource like this online w/ the amount of Cds/rarites listed and comments and info on most.It just does not exist! -Metal T

From: Doug Date: February 14, 2023 at 16:07
"Metal T" is spot on! There is no better site for these musical genre's than this one, anywhere, period. The depth of knowledge, heck look at just Dan's list, is unbelievable. HH is the best!

From: Rockhunter666 Date: February 28, 2023 at 12:11
I think About Us should be in this list

From: Scandiman Date: April 5, 2023 at 17:47
Here is my top 10 for 2022: 1--> Reckless Love - Turborider 2--> Dynazty - Final Advent 3--> Ghost - Impera 4--> Nordic Union - Animalistic 5--> Treat - The Endgame 6--> Caught In Action - Devil's Tango 7--> Smash Into Pieces - Disconnect 8--> Perfect Plan - Brace For Impact 9--> Gathering of Kings - Enigmatic 10--> H.e.a.t - Force Majeure

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