Kicking off Rock Sins End Of Year Awards for 2022 – it’s our news editor Kyle Dimond!
As a whole new year emerges, it’s time for the most stressful time of the year as a music fan, end of year lists. 2022 was a strange old year for alternative music. Whilst it wasn’t short on big marquee releases, album of the year lists have been largely dominated by newer/smaller bands. Most importantly though, live shows finally returned in full force with tours galore and some massive stadium events to make up for the lost time. Without further ado, here are my end of year awards for 2022.
Album of the year: Ghost – Impera
The conversation about a band writing their ‘Black Album’ can get very stale when talking about someone making that next jump. On Impera, GHOST might have come closer to this than any band in the past and it still feels like we haven’t reached their pinnacle. Tobias Forge and his ghoulish group, which seems to multiply in number every time you see them, have had an incredible year. Their stage show continues to get bigger and bolder, they’ve got a viral hit on their hands with a song they released three years ago but right at the centre of all of it, is a stellar body of work. Impera sees GHOST take elements of their previous albums Meliora and Prequelle and say, but what if it was bigger. This is GHOST sounding like arenas will only hold them for so long. This is GHOST at their most imperious.
Rammstein – Zeit
Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis – Act II: A Window of the Waking Mind
Ithaca – They Fear Us
Single of the year: Malevolence – On Broken Glass
2022 finally felt like the year that MALEVOLENCE got their dues but it wasn’t all about fans waking up to how great they’ve been for ages, they grabbed people’s attention. On Broken Glass is them at their peak, hitting the top corners of what they bring to the table with overhead kicks. Whilst they’ve always had some of the biggest and grooviest riffs in the game, they’ve added some incredible chest-beating choruses to their arsenal. Oh, and in case you’d forgotten what they’re all about, the breakdown has the same impact as the glass breaking when Stone Cold Steve Austin makes his entrance to the ring.
Zeal & Ardor – Götterdämmerung
Lorna Shore – Pain Remains I: Dancing Like Flames
Fit For An Autopsy – Two Towers
Ghost – Spillways
Music video of the year: Rammstein – Zeit
Frankly, RAMMSTEIN should have their own category here. With the release of their eighth studio album, any of the videos released alongside the record could’ve taken the award here. The title track’s video, which was released for the album’s announcement, is far more sombre than their other short films but it has some of their best imagery. Whilst it did put us through probably one too many scenes of reverse childbirth, watching the band go backwards in time was the perfect accompaniment for this Ramm-ballad that is absolutely gargantuan in size.
Spiritbox – Rotoscope
Malevolence – On Broken Glass
Polyphia – Ego Death
Gig of the year: Tool – Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Castle RAMMSTEIN descending on Coventry of all places really gave this one a run for its money. The spectacle of the physical citadel in front of you is incredible but the experience that echoed throughout the year, was TOOL’s UK arena tour. Whilst they also have their fair share of flashy toys and tricks, there’s an atmosphere that is created in those four walls that is unlike anything else. Despite being in a sold out arena filled with people, it still felt intimate and personal, like you needed to tap the shoulder of the person next to you and ask them if they’re seeing the same things that you are.
Rammstein – Coventry Building Society Arena
Ghost – Birmingham Resorts World Arena
Meshuggah – Bristol O2 Academy
Stray From The Path – The Fleece, Bristol
Festival performance of the year: Spiritbox – Download Festival
You could see it coming from a mile away. SPIRITBOX were going to steal the entire weekend at Download with their first ever UK show. With an absolutely rammed tent awaiting their arrival, they showed up like headliners and left the place in ruins. With the only complaint being that it was too short, this also meant that every song was cherished and each cut felt like a smash hit because of the anticipation. Every now and then you get a Download moment which people look back on and say yeah, I was there for that. 2022’s moment happened inside that tent on the last day of the festival with one of the most exciting bands in the world.
Bring Me The Horizon – Reading Festival
Knocked Loose – 2000Trees
Turnstile – 2000Trees
Creeper – 2000Trees
Most disappointing album of the year: Northlane – Obsidian
This is always a tough category to decide because it isn’t, what’s the worst album you’ve heard this year. Most disappointing doesn’t mean it is without merit and that’s true for NORTHLANE’S Obsidian, it just didn’t have the same level of highlights that kept me coming back to their 2019 release Alien over and over again. None of the singles really seemed to stick around for too long and the album’s release came and went without making too much noise. The other contenders for this slot were also not necessarily bad records, but they did have a highlight or two to remember them by.
Band of the year: Ithaca
GHOST have had one of the biggest years that any band has had in the last decade. LORNA SHORE delivered on the hype with a record that proves they aren’t a flash in the pan. Yet, it was one band that really felt like the people’s metal band this year and that’s ITHACA. With the release of their second album They Fear Us, they took a huge step forward. You don’t have to look long or far to find them near the top of an end of year list and whilst that is obviously important for the band of the year, it’s the way that people have rallied around them in 2022 that makes them this awards winner.
Hero of the year: Trevor Strnad
Trevor Strnad passing away was undoubtedly one of the lowest lows of the year for heavy music fans. Hero of the year is about making a difference and whilst Trevor left the world with a catalogue of incredible art that he had accumulated, it’s the person that he was that makes him a true hero. After his passing in May, Trevor’s presence in the alternative music world has been unwavering. Whether it’s the rest of his bandmates in THE BLACK DALHIA MURDER choosing to continue on and honour his legacy or the work that he did with other bands, the impact that he had lives on. Through his passion for this art form, he inspired countless musicians and helped to raise up those around him whenever possible. We only wish that we could’ve given him this award whilst he was still with us because Trevor Strnad deserved to be talked about as one of THE heroes in heavy music every year.