Brittany Barkasi Best of 2022

Thursday, 9th March 2023

Now for my top songs, I feel like I cheated a bit, but hey, it’s my list. I made it a point to not include any songs from my top albums because I wanted to share the love, and as I said earlier, there was so much good music this year.

10. Legions of the Night – Save Us (from Hell)
Upon hearing there was a band heavily influenced by Savatage, it was an absolute must listen. It was difficult to select which song to feature here, but in the end, “Save Us” won out (“Fury” was a close second, because who doesn’t love a Chris Caffery solo). This song has the perfect mix of that classic Savatage feel, while still absolutely being their own thing.

9. Sylvaine – Mono No Aware (from Nova)
Since COVID, we’ve seen a massive rise in one person projects. Granted, Sylvaine (Kathrine Shepard) released her first album in 2014, but it’s still amazing to see how talented one individual can be. She can go from beautiful clean vocals to a harsh demonic scream with expert proficiency. This is one of those projects that leaves one shocked to find out it’s one person.

8. Avatarium – Death, Where is Your Sting (from Death, Where is Your Sting)
This track is the perfect mix of a bit of doom, but really more of a progressive rock feel. Normally you wouldn’t think of that ranking so high on a list of mostly metal, but it works. It’s amazing to listen to their self-titled first album in 2013 when Leif Edling was still in the band and see how much they’ve evolved and progressed. There’s still several tracks that have that really Candlemass style doom feeling, but it’s really become it’s own thing combining so many other elements.

7. Amorphis – Seven Roads Come Together (from Halo)
The interludes are what really won this writer over, with this song having a splendid hint of a middle eastern folk sound. The riffs are heavy, the keyboard work pristine, the drums powerful and of course the vocals are on point in all respects. You’d expect nothing less from Amorphis, yet they still find a way to blow away the listener, but this track in particular does that superbly.

6. Sabaton – Lady of the Dark (from The War to End All Wars)
Not only is this song awesome, but the story behind it is even more amazing. Firstly, it was actually suggested by Serbian fans since the story isn’t that well known outside of Serbia. More importantly, though, Milunka Savić was a badass. Her brother was drafted, but had tuberculosis, so she went in his place and under his name. She’s the most decorated woman to serve in combat and it wasn’t until her 10th deployment that she was injured and the fact she was female was revealed. In classic Sabaton fashion, it’s fun, it’s fast, catchy as hell, and does a great job drawing attention to this hero many may have never heard of.

5. Selfgod – Born of Death (from Born of Death)
This was a favorite death metal debut from 2022. Picking one song was tough, but in the end, the title track came out on top. It’s absolutely crushing from the moment it starts and really is a great sign off to an amazing album. High anticipation to hear what comes next from Selfgod.

4. Carpenter Brut – Imaginary Fire (from Leather Terror)
Featuring Greg Puciato (probably best known for being the vocalist of The Dillinger Escape Plan) on vocals. This whole album includes several metal vocalists, and I for one am here for it. Carpenter Brut really knows how to crush you with synths, and it’s always amazing there’s no guitars on this release (although live there is a guitarist). It speaks to the true talent of this man and this song is a shining example of that pure talent.

3. The Halo Effect – In Broken Trust (from Days of the Lost)
It really really hurt not having this make the top 15 albums, but part of it is because while it’s amazingly enjoyable, it’s also not breaking any barriers down. This could easily be a Dark Tranquillity record (don’t get me wrong, yours truly loves Dark Tranquillity), and there’s a reason it gets a top songs spot. This is pure Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal, and it’s incredible. The track selected, In Broken Trust, feels a little different than the others, so it easily stands out. We also get Mikael’s clean vocals, which are always a pleasure to hear.

2. Fallen Sanctuary – Broken Dreams (from Terranova)
This song is unreasonably fun and enjoyable to listen to; an instant ear worm! It really pumps you up and makes you feel like you have sing along. Starting out with only vocals, but quickly transitioning into beautiful soaring guitars, a simple, but tasteful bass line, and then smashing you with remarkable drumming. We also can’t talk about this without mentioning Marco Pastorino & Georg Neuhauser vocals. Both have such an indelible vocal style, and coming together is perfection. This is how you do power metal right.

1. Avantasia – The Moonflower Society (from A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society)
This was a tough album to pick one song from, but The Moonflower Society is so catchy; how do you not immediately start singing along when Tobi starts singing “I see ghosts, spectres light around me”? The whole release is great, but this song is too much fun. It also really hurt not having this in the top 15, but it was so close this year.

Thoughts on 2023

2023 feels like it’s going to be another great year for music. There’s many amazing tours getting announced and some very exciting releases to look forward to. We already had Ahab and Obituary released on January 13th and Katatonia on January 20th. In February we have In Flames and Insomnium. March is going to be hectic in the best way with Enslaved, Isole, Narnia, Ne Obliviscaris and Ad Infinitum.

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