And here it is: Our Best Album 2022. After Grimner and Baldrs Draumar, Månegarm is the third band which manages to reach the top of this list for the second time. Predictable? No, not really our team has totally changed since 2015 when Månegarm reached the first place with their self-entitled album.
A small disclaimer for everyone who has counted the favourite albums. You will only find four favourite albums in this list. The fifth one was The Hu ‘Rumble of Thunder’, it ended up just outside this list, but an album to check out for sure.
But our undoubted winner of 2022 is:
1. Månegarm – ‘Ynglingaättens Öde’
A clear winner this year? Yes with 39 points Månegarm received the most points by far. Two times voted Best Album, so there is no doubt about it.
Matthew wrote: “Hard to believe these Swedish metal heads have been putting out music for nearly 25 years. Any fan can easily see the maturation of their music over the years, and ‘Ynglingaättens Öde’ is by far a reflection on how their concepts, song writing and music styles have matured over the years, in a great way.” “Many of the other tracks follow the same template giving us traditional folk melodies with heavy riffs and harsh but melodic vocals. It is apparent that Månegarm has put a lot of thought, emotion and pageantry into ‘Ynglingaättens Öde’ to create a successful record.”
2. Verikalpa – ‘Tunturihauta’
The favourite album of Jano. And with point from all the others, Verikalpa gathered 26 points which brought them to the 2nd place in our list. So, if you still don’t know them, go and check them out. Maybe not the most original folk-metalband, but when they do something, they do it very well. Well deserved 2nd place for Verikalpa.
Stu wrote: “Verikalpa are the next in a line of great Folk Metal bands from Finland, following in the footsteps of such luminaries as Moonsorrow, Finntroll, Korpiklaani, Ensiferum and Turisas. Lofty company indeed, but with this, their third album, Verikalpa have emphatically marked their territory and cemented their place in the upper echelons of Finnish Folk Metal.”
3/4. Saor – ‘Origins’
And the other band with 24 point is… Saor. Again the runner-up for one of us. Highly appreciated by some of us, respected by others. It received points from every voter. Deep respect for Saor.
Matthew wrote: “Andy Marshall is back, and the only word to describe his new release under the SAOR moniker is… genius! A unique and hybrid blend of atmospheric black and folk metal, ‘Origins’ is six tracks, composed and thoughtfully written to take the listener back to less modern times in ancient Scotland.”
3/4. Amorphis – ‘Halo’
Amorphis keeps on producing great albums. ‘Halo’ is once again a great one, maybe not always folky, but always nice. With 24 points they share the 3rd pace with another band. This one was the runner-up for one of us.
Matthew commented: “On several of the tracks, keyboardist Santeri Kallio uses some classical organ/Moog sounds to give the songs a 70’s retro feeling. Vocalist Tomi Joutsen’s growls sound more animalistic than “deathy”, giving the clean and growl dynamic a more organic sound. Guitarist, Esa Holopainen, fresh off a successful solo record with Silver Lake, brings his masterful style of riffs and solos to the record rounding out the signature Amorphis sound. “Halo” is the finishing piece, the master work of art and finale to the trilogy that began with “Under The Red Cloud” (2015) and continued with “Queen Of Time” in 2018.”
5. Vanaheim – ‘Een Verloren Verhaal’
Our Debut Album of this year made it into our Best Album list and in a glorious way. They even reached the upper half of this list. (22 points)
Juergen wrote: “Due the lyrics are kept in Dutch this time the vocals have a much more authentic touch and Zino (singer) is fully delivering growls on the highest level possible. Even that the compositions of Vanaheim are quite long, 4 tracks out of 6 are ranging from 7 to nearly 12 minutes, they are absolutely able to keep the level going throughout their songs. My big respect for the same, as I do not know a lot of bands who can keep such a quality over such long distances… … However I really need to state that I had seldom be convinced by a Debut album like in this case and can really recommend it to all fans of Ensiferum, Equillibrium or Heidevolk! Big congratulations to Vanaheim for such a great Debut!”
6. Wind Rose – ‘Warfront’
What I like the most about this list is it gives an inside in the opinions of our teammembers. And I can tell you, we’re not always on the same page. Often the points are rather equally spread, but sometimes…
Windrose managed to release an album which didn’t get points of three of our voters, but it was voted best album by one and 2nd by another. 19 Point for this one. An album which is not for everyone, but when you appreciate it, you will like it a lot!!!
Matthew loved it and wrote this: “Many of you may know WindRose for their Minecraft-themed song “Diggy, Diggy, Hole, which clocked over 30 million views on YouTube, however, WindRose is more than a novelty act. WindRose is truly epic power metal, done with craftsmanship. All ten tracks on Warfront bring plenty of powerful melody, majestic vocals, and catchy chorus which will make you sing along as you bang your head!”
7/8. Alvenrad – ‘Veluws IJzer’
Alvenrad found themselves on the 7th place on this list. They were even the runner-up in Stu’s opinion.
And Stu put the most hours in this record while writing his review I think. This is a piece of what he wrote on this album: “At its heart Alvenrad’s sound is a bombastic take on melodic blackened folk metal, but they enrich and elevate it with innovative prog flourishes, orchestral strings, wind instruments and vocals ranging from rasping black metal to soaring clean singing and choral chants. Ever interesting and exciting, now on album number three, Alvenrad continue to push themselves into ever more progressive and creative territory.”
7/8. Grimner – ‘Urfader’
On the shared 7th and 8th place we find Grimner’s new album ‘Urfader’. With 18 points a very nice effort. They managed to release the Album of the Year of Folk-metal.nl with ‘Frost Mot Eld’ in 2016 en ‘Vanadrottning’ in 2018. And now again in the top-10 with this album.
9. Bloodywood -‘Rakshak’
Here it is, the runner-up of our Best Debut Album list. With 16 points a very nice one on this list. An album which proves Folk-metal is not dead. The band gives it a different approach with their nu metal and Indian folk.
Juergen was overexited and wrote: “I just can say whatever Bloodywood do, they do it right! For me it is really incredible how the fusion of Indian Folklore and Metal is working out. The next song “Endurant” is just the next best example for this great combination… …While listening to this album the time is really flying by as every single song is exiting and the album had no weak points or album fillers.”
What a great album!
10. The Rumjacks – ‘Brass for Gold’
The Rumjacks found their way to our top 10 this year. With 14 out of 50 points they reached the 10th place. Very nice, we found them in this list last year too.
Doug wrote: “All eight songs on this E.P are highlights and can and should be played over and over to increase the length of this short Album. I’m impressed with the quality of this offering especially coming so close to Hestia, which was just about perfect. From the opening chords of” Bounding Main” to the final note of the singalong” Falling Back” there is not one note wasted. Do yourself a favor and get this to play on repeat this St Patricks day you wont regret it.”
Last year we had a clear winner of the title Best Album 2021 and this was Empyrium.
Which album will it be this year and how far will the debut-albums make it in this list? This year five our teammembers could find the time to judge’m’all. We gathered the votes from USA, UK, Brazil, Sweden and The Netherlands and created a top 10. A total of 50 points can be earned by an album.
Which albums were nominated? The albums with the highest ratings made it to the shortlist. But we should not overrate our ratings, they’re just opinions. Therefore we gave each teammember the opportunity to nominate one other album as well. Afther this we scored them all.