To break into the Rushonrock Top 40 in 2022 our favourite bands had to be at the top of their game and going places.
But with the gauntlet well and truly thrown down, some of the biggest names in rock and metal met the challenge full on.
Look out for some arena-busting behemoths and a bunch of bullish rising stars as we count down to Rushonrock’s Best Album Of 2022.

20. Dream Unending – Song Of Salvation (20 Buck Spin)

Dream Unending transformed death doom’s DNA on Tide Turns Eternal.

Just a year later, Derrick Vella and Justin DeTore made a return journey to the astral plane, thanks to this remarkable album.

Song Of Salvation drifted into the subconscious, painting exquisite pictures with each ethereal movement.

And while there were moments of Floyd-like bliss, these merged seamlessly with the weightiest doom, to create sonic monoliths of breathtaking proportions.

Explorative and immersive, Song Of Salvation was a near spiritual experience. Rich Holmes

19. Nikki Lane – Denim & Diamonds (New West Records)

Country roads and rootsy tracks: everything led back to Nikki Lane in 2022.

One of the finest voices of a generation made Americana cool with a standout collection of gritty rockers and bittersweet ballads.

With Joshua Homme at the helm the production values were sky high.

And Lane sounded like she loved every minute making the deliciously dark Denim & Diamonds.

Topping Rushonrock’s Best Country Albums Of 2022 list, this was all killer and no filler.

Lane’s first record in five years proved to be her best yet. Simon Rushworth

18. Strigoi – Viscera (Season Of Mist)

Greg Mackintosh is one of the most revered architects of death doom. So it’s no surprise that the Paradise Lost guitarist – along with co-writer Chris Casket, drummer Guido Zima and six stringer Ben Ash – could birth a record like Viscera.

Strigoi’s second full-length was a suffocating shroud of sonic misery that crystallised the band’s pitch-black sound.

The flecks of crust that covered Mackintosh’s Vallenfyre project remained, up to a point.

There was even a grind inferno in the shape of Napalm Frost.

But the darkness ran deeper than ever through Viscera.

And it claimed many a soul. RH

Read the full review here.

17. Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado – Navigation Blues (Provogue/Mascot)

According to Rushonrock’s resident blues brother John Burrows, there was only contender for this year’s Best Blues Album Of 2022.

And not for the first time the big man was right on the button.

Risager and his gang of nutty Danes ripped up the blues rulebook to breathe new life into the genre’s increasingly broad church.

Fusing horns with slide guitar and strings with pumping rhythms, Navigation Blues was a journey into the unknown.

Quite why it’s taken the world so long to latch on to The Black Tornado is anyone’s guess.

But Risager and his crew are kicking up a blues storm right now. SR

16. Wiegedood – There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road (Century Media)

With the De doden hebben het goed trilogy, Wiegedood established themselves as a potent new force in black metal.

The Belgian act’s epic, evocative songs were tapestries of twilight melodies and otherworldly ferocity.

Wiegedood sounded like no one else out there.

They still don’t.

And with There’s Always Blood At The End Of The Road, Wiegedood moved far away from any comfort zone they’d established by De doden hebben het goed III’s release in 2018.

The band’s fourth full-length was unnerving, disorientating and antagonistic. It jabbed and stabbed at the senses.

Challenging? Yes.

But There’s Always Blood… was a stunning piece of dark art. RH

Check out the full album review here.

15. Kreator – Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast)

That Kreator topped our Best Thrash Metal Albums Of 2022 list was hardly a surprise.

This high-octane blast of Teutonic angst caught the mood of the post-pandemic era.

And it propelled Mille Petrozza and co. back into the metal mainstream five years after Gods Of Violence delivered a gut-wrenching sucker punch.

Tracks like the crushing Conquer And Destroy aped the band’s classic mid 80s canon.

But Kreator isn’t a band in thrall to the past.

Hate Über Alles pointed towards an Indian Summer for one of thrash metal’s most enduring — and explosive — standard bearers. SR

14. As The World Dies – Agonist (Transcending Obscurity Records)

Memoriam guitarist Scott Fairfax and Notts crew Pemphigoid tore the Earth’s crust asunder with this surprise attack, and on the likes of Desolate and Dawn Of Terror, the devastating combo showed an innate grasp of DM dynamics.

We all know Fairfax is one the UK’s finest riff writers, but by Christ, he excelled himself here… and there was no hint that As The World Dies was an after-hours afterthought.

Yes, there were guest appearances from Memoriam and Bolt Thrower legend Karl Willetts, Benediction frontman David Ingram and Massacre’s Kam Lee, but Agonist confidently stood on its own two feet.

A planet killer of a record, make no mistake… RH

Read the full review here

13. Chez Kane – Powerzone (Frontiers)

It’s two years running for Chez Kane on our Best Melodic Rock Albums list.

But this year the rising star of throwback 80s metal made it all the way to the top.

Powerzone was the party zone for anyone who still harks back to an era when Vixen, Pat Benatar and Femme Fatale put female rockers up front and centre.

Kane proved she had the full package with another pin-sharp Danny Rexon production complementing retro artwork, cheesy vids and that trademark vocal.

Rock You Up was late 80s hair metal shamelessly reinvented and epic set closer Guilty Of Love could give Meat Loaf a run for his money. SR

12. Arð – Take Up My Bones (Prophecy Productions)

This majestic tapestry of ‘monastic doom’ told the story of Saint Cuthbert, a seventh century monk and the patron saint of Northumbria.

The work of musical director, composer, pianist and Winterfylleth member Mark Deeks, Take Up My Bones took doom to an ancient land… and you could almost feel the freezing North Sea as Burden Foretold wove its magic.

Arð’s windswept debut was a deeply personal record for its Northumbrian creator.

A true labour of love.

And with Take Up My Bones, he realised his vision in the most dramatic fashion. RH

11. Tuk Smith & The Restless Hearts – Ballad Of A Misspent Youth (MRG)

It was a long time coming.

And poor old Tuk fought and lost a few frustrating battles along the way.

But by the time Ballad Of A Misspent Youth did see the light of day it was well worth the wait.

On this short and snappy fusion of glam, punk and indie rock, Smith sneered and snarled his way through a bittersweet record rich in reflective soul.

Everybody Loves You When You’re Dead was representative of the overall mood.

And the gnarly title track was a genuine grower.

Could 2023 finally be the year that this criminally underrated and hitherto underground rock star finally breaks into the big leagues? SR

Read the full Rushonrock review here 

10. Immolation – Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast)

Immolation had nothing left to prove after decades on death metal’s frontline.

The Yonkers act have influenced countless bands.

Yet their passion for innovation remains undiminished, their unholy vision undimmed.

Rivalling 2000’s Close To A World Below in its ingenuity, Acts Of God brought us 15 moments of divine death metal, where nuclear winds blew across hellish landscapes, and hulking leviathans like Immoral Stain and Shed The Light vied for supremacy.

It was bordering on overwhelming.

But Immolation kept us at the heat of their maelstrom throughout Acts of God. RH

Dig deeper with the full review

9. Def Leppard – Diamond Star Halos (UMC/Mercury)

Hysteria would be like an Albatross around the neck of most bands.

But Def Leppard aren’t most bands.

And that iconic 80s record still drives Joe and co. to be the very best version of themselves.

There have been bumps along the way but Diamond Star Halos was a late career gem.

Its canny mix of Mutt-era pzazz and forward-thinking thrust made for a surprisingly refreshing listen.

Alison Krauss dropped in to duet on a couple of über cool collabs.

And in singles Kick, Take What You Want and Fire It Up, Sheffield’s finest reminded the masses (who packed the band’s Stadium Tour dates) that this is the Leppard least likely to change its spots. SR

Read the full Rushonrock review here 

8. Clutch – Sunrise On Slaughter Beach (Weathermaker Music)

Grab a beer.

Light a spliff.

And get ready to party…

Yep, Clutch rip-roared back into action with their 13th album.

And they followed up 2018’s Book Of Bad Decisions with a typically exuberant set of crowd pleasers.

Over a 30-year plus career, the Maryland outfit have barely put a foot wrong.

And they’re in no mood to power down.

We Strive For Excellence? Clutch didn’t just strive for it on this raucous rock ‘n’ roller, they delivered it in spades.

Nosferatu Madre gave us a gargantuan chorus, sung with typical gusto by the livewire Neil Fallon.

Three Golden Horns was impeccably stylish and painfully cool.

You should have the picture by now… RH

7. Massive Wagons – Triggered! (Earache)

When Gene Simmons declared rock was dead he didn’t see Massive Wagons in the rearview mirror.

And if the Kiss man still has a blind spot when it comes to noticing new talent, he needs to make a beeline for Lancaster asap.

Baz Mills and the boys smashed it out of the park with the utterly bonkers Triggered!

But there was plenty of serious stuff buried beneath the trademark laddish veneer.

2022 was the year the Wagons added yacht rock and podcasting to their increasingly varied repertoire.

And then there was that spectacular headline show at Call Of The Wild Festival.

Always writing and rarely fighting, this crack unit is only just getting started. 

Who knows what 2023 will bring for the brightest prospects on the British rock scene? SR

Read the full Rushonrock review here 

6. Hangman’s Chair – A Loner (Nuclear Blast)

Ice cold, urban Gothic hymns from the streets of Paris… there was nothing quite like A Loner in 2022.

Yes, Type O Negative, Life Of Agony and Sisters Of Mercy were part of the album’s fabric, but it shone with a seductive beauty of its own.

A Loner proved that Hangman’s Chair could hone their songcraft to imperious levels: there were simply no weak points on the band’s sixth album, and singer Cédric Toufouti delivered a remarkable performance throughout.

Concluding with the colossal A Thousand Miles Away, this was a landmark opus for the French quartet. RH

5. Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown – Shake The Roots (Rattle Shake Records)

Top boy TB followed up a Rushonrock Red Hot Track Of The Week with a fully blown Record Of The Week during a late summer surge of activity.

And it sure was a treat to have The Shakedown mixing it up again in 2022.

A record that effortlessly switched from swampy blues to steel-toed Americana and high-brow bro-country never disappointed.

In fact, double the music and a double album wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Hard Learned was a career high and the garage rock power of Ghostrider was frighteningly good.

Bryant has long been a favourite of the Rushonrock team and Shake The Roots was never going to shake our belief in a bona fide rock and roll hero. SR

Read the full Rushonrock review here 

4. Undeath – It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave (Prosthetic Records)

It’s Time… to admit that Undeath are one of the most enthralling death metal acts of the 2020s.

A step up from their debut, Lesions Of A Different Kind, It’s Time… To Rise From The Grave represented a landmark moment for US death metal’s new wave.


Because the Rochester NY crew’s second opus was a masterclass in tight, pinpoint songwriting. Nothing too complicated. Nothing too hard to digest. Just 10 tracks of addictive, spine snapping death metal.

Infectious riffs poured from Kyle Beam and Jared Welch.

The grooves bored into your bone marrow.

And Undeath tapped straight into death metal’s DNA. RH

Check out the full review here

View our top 10 death metal albums of 2022 – featuring Undeath – here

3. Tedeschi Trucks Band – I Am The Moon: I-IV (Fantasy Records)

Not one but two slices of TTB’s four-part epic bagged Rushonrock Record Of The Week honours in 2022.

And all four chapters of the meandering I Am The Moon project could be Top 10 contenders in their own right.

Few bands could even conceive — let alone deliver — a creative vision on this scale.

But Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks have never done things by half.

I Am The Moon: I. Crescent’s bluesy Americana set the scene way back in June and another album followed every month for the next three months.

For true devotees of TTB it was like all of our Christmases coming at once.

And, in truth, a substantial body of work became almost overwhelming.

But I Am The Moon was far from bloated. Instead it shone an alluring light on one of the most creative, collaborative and compelling bands on the planet. SR

Read the full Rushonrock review here 

2. Satan – Earth Infernal (Metal Blade)

Satan have been on hot streak ever since they reignited in 2011.

Time after time, they have delivered exhilarating and inventive records that dazzled generations of NWOBHM fans.

But even dedicated Satan worshippers may have been surprised at Earth Infernal’s sheer majesty.

The Newcastle act pushed their writing into the stratosphere, crafting dramatic and incisive songs like Burning Portrait and The Blood Ran Deep, and turning their fourth post-reunion record into a modern-day masterpiece.

With guitarists Russ Tippins and Steve Ramsey raising their game even further, and singer Brian Ross in imperious form, Satan ruled in 2022. RH

Read the full review here.

Check out our Best Traditional Heavy Metal Albums of 2022 here

1. Ghost – Impera (Spinefarm)

In March we posed the question: ‘Has there ever been a more gripping Ghost story?’.

Nine months down the line and nothing comes close to the tangled tale that is Cardinal Copia’s unstoppable rise.

The ‘new’ figurehead of the world’s most talked about pomp rockers anchored the frankly peerless Impera with style and conviction.

And yet again a series of insatiable earworms infiltrated the minds of millions at the same time as a typically majestic marketing campaign hooked the previously uncommitted.

Pop metal has always served to provide an escape from reality and a window on myriad fantasy worlds.

Here Copia and his clan created a brand new narrative and a brave new realm by taking the very best of 70s occult, 80s AOR and 90s angst and unleashing a very modern rock record.

The turbo-charged Thin Lizzy-meets-Toto of Spillways was just the start. SR

Read the full Rushonrock review here