Acknowledging that we couldn’t possibly have heard every single power metal album released this year, these are our 5 Greatest Power Metal Albums of 2022.
These are the 5 power metal albums that blew us away, the albums that warranted endless spins, the albums that prompted involuntarily head-banging and generally put a big fuckin’ smile on our grumpy ol’ faces!
5. Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel [Iceland]
Released: January 7th, 2022 via Atomic Fire Records
When Power Paladin‘s debut, With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel, was released back in early January we were still pumped up on a particularly powerful batch of aged brie we scoffed over Christmas, and in dire need of a musical outlet to purge the whiffy cheese from our veins? Which is thankfully where Power Paladin‘s outrageous With The Magic of Windfyre Steel came in!
An absolute joy of an album, With The Magic of Windfyre Steel was a high-energy blast through every facet of power metal’s wondrous oeuvre and, frankly, Iceland’s Power Paladin had no right sounding this self-assured on just their debut album. With sound and aesthetic already perfectly aligned it was a case of just sitting back and soaking up the madness….and the hyper-speed of the Helloween-esque “Righteous Fury” was just the ticket (replete with some surprising death metal vocals which came out of chuffin’ nowhere).
Absolutely, magnificently, power-metally fantastic!
4. Freternia – The Final Stand [Sweden]
Released: November 18th, 2022 via Rock Of Angels Records
Freternia released a damn fine slab of quintessentially traditional power fuckin’ metal last monthand it swiftly rose up our ranks to nick a spot in this particular countdown.
Many will no doubt bemoan the lack of Sabaton and Wind Rose in this list and with Freternia following a similar path to those bands’ often more ‘traditional’ sounds it may come as a surprise (or annoyance) to find Freternia in their place. However, we maintain that these Swede’s offered a more succinct and concise collection of ultra-crunchy riffs and highly melodic sounds with their 4th album, The Final Stand.
This band believe in sounding perpetually massive at all times. They also appreciate crunchy as fuck riffs and The Final Stand is full of ’em! The pace rarely faltered as the towering tunes kept on comin’ and the likes of “Guardians Of Time” often hit light-speed, highlighting the fact that Freternia clearly know how to deliver some of the best power metal songs around!
3. Imperial Circus Dead Decadence – 殯――死へ耽る想いは戮辱すら喰らい、彼方の生を愛する為に命を讃える――。[Japan]
Released: June 1st, 2022 via Radtone Music
Admittedly, there was a ton of melodic (often brutal) death metal contained within Imperial Circus Dead Decadence‘s 3rd full length album, but there was also enough power metal pomposity to warrant inclusion here…. and when the band did segue from ultra-brutal death metal into operatic power metal mode (which they did, often), they soared!
Trying to put this craziness into words is maddening as we simply can’t do the chaos justice. Suffice to say, this was the kind of schizophrenic extreme metal flamboyance that can only come from Japan. Theatrical and untethered from anything remotely approaching accessible, we simply had to sit back and marvel as the likes of “獄” unfolded.
Absolute mind-frazzling madness!
2. Blind Guardian – The God Machine [Germany]
Released: September 2nd, 2022 via Nuclear Blast
These gods of the power metal scene returned BIG in 2022 with album number 12, The God Machine, providing everything we want from these stalwarts of the scene.
Blind Guardian have always been the band to set the standard for power metal and The God Machine played like a tutorial in how to do this shit, and how to do it right! Hansi Kürsch and co. weren’t just on top form, they were taking the piss out of 99% of the bands who followed in their wake and they simply let their music do the talking (no highbrow concepts here).
Seemingly unshackled and rejuvenated, Blind Guardian kept things lean and mean and ferociously heavy, with The God Machine proving to be a gleaming modernised take on the more streamlined work found on their 90s triumphs. The results were spectacular.
Greatest. Of. All. Time.
1. Fellowship – The Saberlight Chronicles [UK]
Released: July 13th, 2022 via Avalon
Where to start with Fellowship‘s The Saberlight Chronicles? This album was beyond cheese (even die hard cheese lovers dry-heaved upon getting a whiff of its uber-cheesy stench) and even Disney wouldn’t be brave enough to pop this in their latest saccharine-soaked venture into the kingdom of Arendelle (or wherever). An yet, here we are placing The Sabrelight Chronicles at number 1. No nepotism involved, British or not this album was simply one of the most joyous and empowering things to come out of 2022.
Us Brits aren’t particularly renowned for this kind of Euro-pomp (blame our weather) but we’ll be damned if Fellowship didn’t put a mile wide grin on our sour ol’ faces upon first hearing it…..and we found ourselves coming back for more and more too!
Ridiculously talented and 100% committed to lifting the mood of a nation (no matter where you may reside), Fellowship didn’t falter for 12 straight tracks. This was a perfectly balanced exercise in both wonderment and gluttonous overabundance and anyone doubting The Sabrelight Chronicles‘ authenticity needs to just give in to its power….you Scrooge’s you!
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