2022 Best of Metal: #1 Zeal & Ardor-Zeal & Ardor

Release date: 2/11/2022

Origin: Basel, Switzerland

Personnel: Manuel Gagneaux-vox/guitar/bass/synths, Marco Von Allman-drums

Well, here we are. The view from the top this year belongs to avant-garde metal dudes Zeal & Ardor. They end up with the top spot even though they broke my rule of not having a self-titled release that isn’t a debut album. They do so simply because, in my opinion, this is the only perfect 5 out of 5 flips flops album of the year. This has definitely been the album I have spun the most over the past year. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure that these guys would have staying power. I was a big fan of Stanger Fruit and was intrigued by their dedication to the idea of combining slave-era spirituals with black metal. I was kind of concerned that this very niche genre would end up limiting their growth and end up being more gimmick than anything. I think this latest release has pushed those concerns aside. This is such a far reaching and forward-thinking release. It expands the areas in which metal can go. More than anything, this one gets high marks for swinging for the fences and absolutely crushing it in its execution. I am a convert and I worship in the halls of Zeal & Ardor.

Thank you, readers, for following me once again in a little journey looking back at what was good about 2022. Have a lovely new year and I hope to see you more often in 2023. Stay heavy and crank that shit loud!

5 flip flops out of 5

The list so far:

  1. Zeal & Ardor-Zeal & Ardor
  2. Cave In-Heavy Pendulum
  3. Porcupine Tree-Closure/Continuation
  4. Megadeth-The Sick, The Dying…and The Dead!
  5. Amon Amarth-The Great Heathen Army
  6. Elder-Innate Passage
  7. King’s X-Three Sides of One
  8. Psychonaut-Violate Consensus Reality
  9. Eric Wagner-In The Lonely Light of Mourning
  10. SpiritWorld-Deathwestern
  11. Psycroptic-Divine Council
  12. My Diligence-The Shape, Matter and Power
  13. Blind Guardian-The God Machine
  14. Ghost-Impera
  15. Jungle Rot-A Call To Arms
  16. High Command-Eclipse of the Dual Moons
  17. Soilwork-Overgivenheten
  18. Messa-Close
  19. Ty Tabor-Shades
  20. Lamb of God-Omens