Tuonela Magazine’s Annual Staff Picks 2022: Bear Wiseman’s Edition


Now that the year 2022 is coming to a close, we at Tuonela Magazine want to share the releases we enjoyed the most. Each of our staff members will share their own lists, so here is the list of our Editor, Bear Wiseman

This was a rather unusual year, with surprisingly few new releases (at least from the local scene), as most bands were more focused on touring their pandemic albums, rather than producing new music. On a personal note, I didn’t end up finding a lot of albums that I really loved this year (largely because, as much as I love a good prog album, I don’t tend to want to put them on repeat very much). That said, there were a few tried and true awesome albums this year that really hit home. I would like to shout out a few artists like SUPERSONIC BLUES MACHINE, Walter Trout, and Kenny Wayne Shephard who all released (or re-released) great albums this year that I didn’t include because they weren’t in keeping with my heavy theme.

Interestingly, if you read my last year’s list, you’ll note that all of my most-expected releases for this year held up to my expectations – you’ll find each one of them in this article somewhere!

Top 10 International albums

10. Asking Alexandria – See What’s on the Inside

9. Retro Future – Blue Toybox

8. Guilhem Desq – STORMS

7. The Butterfly Effect – IV

6. The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost

5. Star One – Revel in Time

4. Andy Gillion – Arcade Metal

3. Ghost – Impera

2. Shaman’s Harvest – Rebelator

1. Classless Act – Welcome to the Show

As mentioned, Supersonic Blues Machine and Walter Trout would’ve made this list, but I wanted to stick to the heavier acts.

Read more: REVIEW: Blind Guardian – The God Machine — REVIEW: Retro Future – Blue Toybox — REVIEW: The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost — REVIEW: Arjen Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time — REVIEW: The Butterfly Effect – IV — REVIEW: Andy Gillion – Arcade Metal — REVIEW: Ghost – Impera — REVIEW: Shaman’s Harvest – Rebelator — REVIEW: Classless Act – Welcome to the Show

Top 10 Finnish albums

10. Amorphis – Halo

9. Frozen Factory – Of Pearls and Perils

8. Somehow Jo – Scales and Details

7. Rioghan – Different Kinds of Losses

6. Spiritraiser – Ciklos

5. Eye of Melian* – Legends of Light

4. From Grotto – Noita Official Soundtrack vol. 3

3. Mr. Fastfinger – Flight Mode

2. Oddland – Vermillion

1. Dirt – Deadbeat

*Eye of Melian is only half-Finnish, but there were fewer Finnish albums this year on my list than international albums

Read more: REVIEW: Amorphis – Halo — REVIEW: Frozen Factory – Of Pearls & Perils — REVIEW: Somehow Jo! – Tusk — REVIEW: Rioghan – Different Kinds of Losses — REVIEW: Spiritraiser – Ciklos — REVIEW: Eye of Melian – Legends of Light — REVIEW: From Grotto – Noita (Official Soundtrack), vol. 3 — REVIEW: Mr. Fastfinger – Flight Mode — REVIEW: Dirt – Deadbeat — REVIEW: Oddland – Vermilion

Top 3 EPs

3. Wheel – Rumination

2. Where’s My Bible – Circle

1. Within Temptation – Don’t Pray for Me

I’d like to shout-out Pihka is My Name’s EP, “Dance Forbidden,” since it also didn’t make the list due only to a lack of heaviness.

Read more: REVIEW: Wheel – EP: Rumination

Most promising act

Where’s My Bible

Top 5 international songs

5. The Butterfly Effect – Start Again

4. Shaman’s Harvest – Toe the Line (or anything else of “Rebelator”)

3. Asking Alexandria – Faded Out ft. Sharon den Adel

2. The Halo Effect – Shadowminds

1. Classless Act – Circles (or anything else off their debut)

Here’s another shout-out, this time to “Blood Upon the Snow” by Bear Mcreary and Hozier, from the God of War Ragnarok soundtrack, because it’s really good, but as mentioned, I tried to keep the list heavier this year.

Read more: REVIEW: The Butterfly Effect – IV — REVIEW: Shaman’s Harvest – Rebelator — REVIEW: The Halo Effect – Days of the Lost — REVIEW: Classless Act – Welcome to the Show

Top 5 Finnish songs

5. Luna Kills – Bullet

4. Olli Helenius – Syy

3. Dirt – Circles

2. Burning Holes in Time – Self Titled

1. Eye of Melian – Everstrong

Read more: REVIEW: Dirt – Deadbeat — REVIEW: Eye of Melian – Legends of Light

Top 5 Album Covers

5. Somehow Jo – Scales and Details

Somehow Jo - Scales and Details

4. Everfrost – Frostbites

3. From Grotto – Noita (Official Soundtrack), vol. 3

2. Andy Gillian – Arcade Metal

  1. Avantasia – A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society

Read more: REVIEW: Somehow Jo! – Tusk — REVIEW: From Grotto – Noita (Official Soundtrack), vol. 3 — REVIEW: Everfrost – EP: Frostbites — REVIEW: Andy Gillion – Arcade Metal — REVIEW: Avantasia – A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society

Best collaboration

Asking Alexandria featuring Sharon Den Adel – Faded Out

Best concert

Metal (club): Ember Falls & Ikinä – Ruins album release show @ Olympia-kortteli, Tampere

Metal (festival): Sonata Arctica @ Tuska Festival, Suvilahti, Helsinki

Other: SCORE – Orchestral Game Music @ Musiikkitalo, Helsinki

Special mention goes to every time I saw Where’s My Bible throughout the year (opening for Machinae Supremacy in Lahti in March, at both Saarihelvetti and Dark River Festival, and in the Come to Latin America finalists show in Helsinki this fall), since they were the first band to get me hyped on extreme metal… ever!

Read more: 9.4.2022 Ikinä & Ember Falls @ Olympia-kortteli, Tampere — 3.7.2022 Tuska Festival – Day 3 @ Suvilahti, Helsinki — 1.10.2022 SCORE: Orchestra Game Music @ Musiikkitalo, Helsinki

Top 5 most anticipated releases of 2023

5. Judas Priest – TBA

4. Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars

3. Within Temptation – TBA

2. Floor Jansen – Paragon

1. Oceanhoarse – Heads Will Roll

Want to share your lists with us? Comment below with your lists.

The whole Tuonela Magazine team wishes you an inspirational 2023 filled with a lot of new music to discover. We hope to see you back next year!