2022 Listening Roundup + Recent Purchases

It isn’t quite the end of 2022, but close enough, and I’ve been taking a moment to reflect back upon the year. I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts or reading a lot of articles rounding up 2022 recently, and its inspired me to look back on my own year.

According to LastFM, these are my most listened-to artists, songs and albums of the past 12 months:




Its a mix of mostly old-favourites (Clutch, Slipknot, Machine Head, Pantera), but a little bit of trying some prog bands I hadn’t gotten into before this year (Focus, Banco, PFM), C-list Thrash bands (Hallows Eve, Sanctuary) to expand my Thrash knowledge, and trying out some Emo bands I was too snobby to listen to when they were new, but reunions have had be curious (Paramore, MCR). My biggest discovery of the year has been Fate’s Warning, an American Prog Metal band who have a varied and interesting career, starting off as Maiden clones, turning a bit Power Metal, then sounding like Empire-era Queensryche, then going down and industrial route, then going a bit Dream Theater-meets-Tool-but-AOR. Something for every mood really. They’ve become my main bed-time band, and work-background-music band. Not one of the prog bands where you have to pay vivid attention to every single note (altough you totally can if you want to and would get extra) but who work really well as an easy low-attention listen too. Perfect, essentially you get two albums in one, the face-value one and then the deep attention one. Kind of like a Metal version of Smashing Pumpkin’s level of depth and complexity yet easy listening initial appearance.




Mostly newer AC/DC albums I hadn’t collected yet before this year, then new releases from 2022, and albums generally from my top artists of the year.

Because one of them was just children’s music, here is the real number 50:




Not much in terms of surprises there, if you looked at the artists and albums lists first, just sort of confirmation really. I would just like to say though, that those top two songs, the two best songs off the new Clutch album, are two of my favourite songs of my whole life now, I will listen to them forevermore as long as I live. Absolutely all timers those two!



Perspective is interesting though, if you had asked me without statistics to back it up, I would have guessed my most listened-to album was Ghost’s Impera, and would have thought my most-listened to band was Amon Amarth. I am not sure, but I also probably would’ve guesed my most listened to song would’ve been something by Smashing Pumpkins, possibly even mega-hit “Tonight, Tonight.”

Also, althoguh I really like it, I had no idea I had listened to Coheed & Cambria’s Vaxis 2 so much, and I could’ve sworn I listened to Korn’s Requiem about twice that much! I also would’ve figured there would be at least one Italian prog band, album and song in each of the top 5’s but I guess because that’s a more recent discovery it wouldn’t add up across the whole of 2022.




In addition, I’ve been doing this through the year already anyway, but I’ll just do another little recent buying round-up. (The Taylor Swift albums are my wife’s xmas present, so I haven’t actually heard those yet). One last set of albums bought before the new year:

Mostly finishing off collections of artists I already had most of the albums from (Motorhead, Orange Goblin, King Diamond), and then further exploration on Italian ’70s prog. Also, when writing my Manowar list for the last blog post, I remembered there was still one random EP I hadn’t bought back in the day. The new Smashing Pumpkins album release schedule is a bit weird, as it is only a third of the album, with the next two thirds being released on two separate dates in the future, even though you buy it in one go and just get the next parts deleivered later.



Ok, well, those were the stats, I’ll be back later in the month with the rankings, for end of the year list purposes. See you soon!

2021 Listening Round-Up:

Here are my top-40 most listened-to bands of 2021:

(Ignore the crossed out one, its just children’s music).

Should’ve listened to King Diamond two more times for thematic resonance.

Nice mixture of basic and complex

Nice mixture of heavy and soft, silly and serious, modern and classic.

I guess the bands with the longer songs get less listens, because each listen is longer. I feel like I’ve spent way more time listening to Opeth than Hatebreed, but then some of Opeth’s songs are quite long and a lot of Hatebreed (especially the early stuff) is quite short. I also would have expected Van Halen to be a lot, lot higher. I would’ve expected them to be equal with Kiss. I felt like I alternated between Van Hagar and ’80s Kiss all summer. I guess all the usual non-80s Kiss listening boosted the new yorkers much higher than the LA guys. I guess I wasn’t listening to enough Roth era Van Halen this year. I blame it on listening to Sammy Hagar’s autobiography audiobook right before moving house. If Roth had a biography audiobook available on Audible, then it probably would have made me go more in that direction.

I knew Smashing Pumkins would be number one, I definitely felt like I listened to them the most, but I didn’t realise it would be by litteraly over double the nearest competitor. Afterall, my number one album of the year (discounting children’s music) was Gojira’s Fortitude, and the first Smashing Pumpkins album on my most-listened to albums list doesn’t appear until number ten! (But I guess Smashing Pumpkins have a hell of a lot more albums than Gojira).

I am a bit surprised to see To Ride Shoot Straight And Speak The Truth so high in the list when Entombed themselves don’t even crack the top 40 (they’re 43 in case you were wondering).

It was a strange year, but lets hope we are all healthy and safe enough to be here nerding out about music this time next year. See you then!

Kingcrimsonprog’s Metal Nerd Blog Albums Of The Year 2021:

Its been a strange old year, but there’s been a lot of good music.



01. Gojira – Fortitude – The album that got me into Gojira at long last, the album I’ve listened to most out of anything this year, the album I knew would be my number one from the very first listen, and yet has still grown on me more with each listen. A straight up masterpiece in my eyes that will go down as an eternal classic album in my head-cannon. Beautifully melodic, deliciously groovy, and still some great heavy moments and masterful musicianship at times. I can’t recommend it enough.


02. Helloween – Self Titled – Well, I was never not going to like this. I love Helloween with Kai, I love Helloween with Kiske, and I love Helloween with Deris. The idea of all three coming together on one super-group-esque album bringing all the eras together (sometimes even within one song) with artwork evoking the band’s peak, but song-writing not too far away from the band’s modern style and not just a rehash of the past but also acknowledging all the progress they’ve made over the years, with tasteful tribute paid to late drummer Ingo, self-referential lyrics and yet the whole thing feeling like a proper album and not just a gimmicky cash-grab. Excellent.  


03. Trivium – In The Court Of The DragonTrivium have been on such a hot streak in the last half-decade, and this current line-up have released arguably their three best ever albums (or at a minimum, three of the best even if you disagree on the exact placement of the best) and ‘Dragon continues that fine formula of the last two albums while also leaning into the more expansive and technical direction of their Shogun record (one of their all time best records so a very good decision) and even reworking an old Shogun-era demo into an amazing album closer for this one. Great work.


04. Volbeat – Servant Of The Mind – A deliberate course-correct from the slightly disappointing over-polished, overly-commercial previous album. This album leans back into the band’s heavier (in relative terms, its still catchy radio music, its not exactly Alter Of Plagues or something) side, with some deliberate Sabbath tribute, a sneaky death metal riff once hidden in there, a lot more up tempo moments and a lot less bland American-sounding radio rock. They also took some lessons in diversity and stole the best parts from the previous record, making it a sort of best-of-both-worlds situation.


05. Rob Zombie – The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy – Probably his second or third best album to date, this record is fun, diverse, energised, eclectic, interesting and deeply memorable. They never lose the core sound, but there’s all sorts of fun diversion. Alright, there may be slightly too many interludes, but that’s always been a part of Rob Zombie, especially on the first two albums, and there’s still 11 real songs to sink your teeth into, from the catchy singles ‘King Freak & ‘Howling Man to the dance-able “Shake Your Ass, Smoke your Grass” and the unexpected country-tinged ‘Ghost Train.


06. Powerwolf – Call Of The Wild – Speaking of fun, Powerful are back, and don’t disappoint. This album is such a big-smiles good time barrel of fun. Imagine Sabaton covering Helloween’s  Latin-language “Lavadete Dominum” & Type O Negative’s “I Don’t Wanna Be Me” at the same time and you’re somewhere in the ballpark. Now imagine they’re dressed up as monks and singing about Warewolves.

In terms of stacking up against the rest of their discography, the band are so fiercely consistent that this is as good as any album you care to name in the whole catalogue.


07. Todd La Torre – Rejoice In The Suffering – Current Queensrÿche frontman (and sometimes drummer) releases a solo album with a childhood best friend on guitar, and the results are phenomenal. There’s a mixture of songs that could fit on recent ‘ryche albums, with branching out into more traditional metal territory, as well as branching out the other direction into heavier harsher realms. A brilliant debut from this act, and while I hope he never leaves, if ever Todd were to leave the ‘ryche I would dearly love him to continue releasing albums like this.


08. Exodus – Persona Non Grata – A very strong album, I confess I may not have listened to this album enough to really honestly select the appropriate position on this list, but if its anything like the last three Exodus albums, the fine first impressions it has created in me will stay forever, and only grow more over time. Already the pre-released songs like “Clickbait” and “The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves” are constantly stuck in my head and raise a huge smile in me whenever they come on, and “Lunatic Liar Lord” is so good it could have been on Tempo Of The Dammed. Last month I called this album “as good as, if not better than” any measure of expectation, and I’m sticking by that!


09. Angelus Apatrida – Self Titled – A new band to me, but this is actually the Spanish Thrash-revivalist’s 7th release. Bludgeoning, pummelling, furious… these are just some of the words to describe this beast of an album. There is also some serious groove on the album to break up the speed, but its thrash through and through. If you like bands like Evile, Dust Bolt or Power Trip, then you really need to get on board. Check out the opener “Indoctrinate” from this album for a Vulgar-Display’ album-cover style punch to the face (in musical form).


10. Accept – Too Mean To Die – Much like Trivium, Accept are on a hot-streak right now (for about a decade this time, since their reformation and the introduction of Mark Tornillo on vocals… that’s Kreator-levels of hot streak!). They have a definite identifiable style and formula, which some people might feel is beginning to get a bit samey by now, but when the formula is this good, I can live with quite a few albums in that style. Alright, its not as good as my favourite, Stalingrad or its very strong follow-up Blind Rage, but I’ve listened to it a lot this year, and have enjoyed it every time.





Honourable Mentions:

Salem – Salem II EP – Wasn’t included because it is an EP, not an album, but probably would have been number 2 or 3 on the list if it did count. Really great fun, super catchy, super memorable, and my go-to car record this year.


Weezer – Van Weezer – I’ve only owned this a few days, so can’t objectively rate it against things I’ve had almost a whole year (eg. Todd La Torre and Accept), but I feel very positively towards it and just want to give it a little appreciative nod. Imagine if The Green Album had even better guitar solos and paid deliberate homage to some classic tracks like “Crazy Train,” “Girls Girls Girls” and “Panama.”



And just in case you want it, here’s my list from last year. See you again next year!

2021 New(ish) Releases Roundup:

I haven’t been blogging with as much regularity as I previously would in previous years, but I have never stopped listening to music.

Here is an overview of my thoughts on some albums that I probably would have blogged about already in previous years (and may still do so in the future) but haven’t had time to go into much detail on yet, a sort of mixture between a blog-digest, a preview of future blogs and a deleted scenes all rolled into one:

1. Iron Maiden – Senjitsu – 2021 – I have tried with this album, but at the end of the day it is just pretty dull, boring and forgettable. I love ’80s Maiden as much as the next guy, and I am partial to Brave New World and half of Dance Of Death (some of their all time best songs are on it, the album as a whole just isn’t as good as the best songs) and a few tracks here and there off every album since. However, this one just bores me. I don’t know why, Bruce is still a good singer, all three guitarists still make pleasant, impressive solos, Nicko is still Nicko. Its just that its incredibly unmemorable. I find myself tuning out. I can barely listen to it in one go, and if a track from it comes on when I’m listening to things on shuffle, its not like I dislike that song, but I would never go out of my way to put it on of my own volition. A perfectly fine album technically, but it just doesn’t excite me in any way.

2. Exodus – Persona Non Grata – 2021- I am an absolute mark for Exodus, always have been. This album is as good as, if not better than the last few. Exodus can just do no wrong in my eyes. That is not to say this is actually crap and I just rep for them blindly, this is a damn good album, as good as if not better than the last few Testament, Death Angel, Kreator and Annihilator albums that I’ve been drooling over. One of the true kings of Thrash, and still as good now, if not better than any ’80s band can reasonobly be expected to be in the modern age. Very much the theme here: “as good as, if not better than” any measure of expectation.

3. Limp Bizkit – Still Sucks – 2021- Fun for the first listen, but no real staying power. I’d advise one or two nostalgia listens, but its not really worth much time otherwise.

4. Mastodon – Hushed & Grim – 2021- A double album from one of my all-time favourite bands? What could go wrong. I usually adore Mastodon (its probably harder to find a picture of me between 2006-2012 without a Mastodon t-shirt than with them) but this album has left me a bit cold. Its a bit repetitive, uninspiring and forgettable. My feelings are very much in line with my feelings on Senjitsu – take any song in isolation and there’s nothing explicitly wrong with it, but the album just doesn’t stir any true excitment in me.

5. Deftones – Ohms – 2020 – Brilliant, but I need to listen to it more to articulate why.

6. Architects – For Those Who Wish To Exist – 20201- Not as good as the last 3 albums, but still pretty good. If I had one criticism, its maybe a bit too long, but unlike Senjitsu or Hushed & Grim it is at least memorable and not too repetitive. Its also a bit emotionally easier to listen to than their previous 2-3 albums as it doesn’t have all the impending death and post bereavement lyrics, so its a bit more cheery (apart from you know, the impending climate disaster) but then also, a lot less affecting. If you are in the mood for a less-grim Architects this is a nice change of pace, even if their emotionally devastating previous albums are technically better art.

7. Powerwolf – Call Of The Wild – 2021- just plain good fun. Silly, easy-going, enjoyable, tounge-in-cheek good-times Power Metal. If you’re having a stressful day, its nice to forget your problems and just sing dopey melodic bombastic nonsense like “Undress To Confess” and “Dancing With The Dead”

8. Hatebreed – Weight Of The False Self – 2020 – Pretty good, but more or less exactly the same as the last two albums. I could see some fans tuning out as its all got a bit formulaic at this point, but what a formula!

9. Korn – The Nothing – 2019 – Born of bereavment, this is probably their most emotional and depressing album to date, and that’s saying something for a band made famous for litterally crying about actual childhood abuse on record. Its certainly a very interesting listen, even if it isn’t fun.

10. Harlott – Detritius Of The Final Age – 2020- an absolutely monsterous record. If you like modern day Kreator, this is essentially a straight up rip off of that sound (in the nicest possible way) but unlike some bands who steal other band’s homework, it isn’t just a pale immitation, this is genuinely great stuff.

Back From The Dead, On Halloween

I haven’t been blogging much in 2021. What with the pandemic, a new job, parenting a toddler, buying my first home and having another baby on the way, there’s not been much time for writing, only reading on my phone in between other tasks.

Here’s what I’ve been listening to in the past 6 months (and therefore, what I probably would have written about):

(Ignore the crossed out one, its just children’s music all grouped together under one fake artist name).

Salem, King Diamond, Cradle Of Filth & Helloween – pretty appropriate for halloween.

Never listened to Cinderella before this year, got into them when reading some LA Rock scene books this year.

Nice mix of new and old, heavy and soft, simple and proggy.
Could have sworn I listened to much more Gentle Giant than this, but there you go!

And here is a bit of a buyer’s roundup for what I’ve bought in the last few months. It mostly been digital, because when I moved house I had too many CDs/DVDs/Vinyl etc and in an effort to make room for my family to also live in my house alongside a mountain of plastic with music on it, I’ve been going mostly digital where possible (unless the price difference is crazy).

Some of em, like Skynyrd, Purple, Kreator, Korn and Kiss I have heard, streamed, or borrowed before but finally got around to getting my own copy. Keep Of Kalesin I bought for someone else a few years ago and accidentally deleted it, so its showing in this list when I riped the disc again when I noticed I’d deleted it.

The rest are either birthday gifts or self-purchased.

What I’ve Been Listening To Lately (Buying Round-Up):

I haven’t had much time for blogging recently due to buying my first home, getting a promotion at work, trying to loose weight and parenting a hyperactive toddler.
One thing I do have time for though is acquiring music. Since I bought my home instead of renting, I don’t have as much space for physical media anymore, so have been getting music from a mix of Bandcamp, Amazon mp3 and iTunes.
Here’s what I’ve been buying lately, mostly filling gaps in my existing collection, but a few new things as well (the live Volbeat album, Aerosmith albums 9-12, several of the Dream Theater albums, and  Smashing Pumkins’ Melon Coly’ were already in my collection, but I edited them in iTunes so they jumped forward in the list and it wasn’t worth editing the image):

Metal-Nerd Blog 2020 Round UP and AOTY list, part 2:

I know, I know, it is probably two weeks too early, but I’m in the middle of moving home and working 65 hours a week on top of that, so may as well get it in while I have the chance. It’s the tenth year of this blog, and I’d hate to miss out on what is now a yearly tradition.

Last week in part 1, I wrote a round-up of what I’d been buying and listening to this year, and links to reviews of the concerts I had been to prior to lockdown.

Next up;

Here are my most-listened-to artists of the past 12 months according to LastFM:

Quite a mix there; Classic Metal, Classic Rock, Metalcore, Thrash, Prog, Hair, Power, Groove, Death, even a bit of indie. Old favourites, new discoveries. Nicely balanced, didn’t even mean to.

And finally; since it is December now, here is the Metal-Nerd Blog Album Of The Year List, 2020:

Honourable Mention: Salem – S/T EP. – Creeper went from being a fun pop-punk band with some Halloweeny lyrics to a ‘90s Britrock band tapping into older American sounds. Afterwards, their singer has a side project basically making a fun pop-punk band with Halloweeny lyrics. Highly recommended to fans of early Creeper (or Alkaline Trio).

10. BMTH – Post Human Survival Horror – Review here.

09. Five Finger Death Punch – F8 – Review here.

08. Annihilator – Ballistic, Sadistic – Review here.

07. Creeper – Sex, Death & The Infinite Void – Review here.

06. Haken – Virus  – (Rhymes with Bacon, not Kraken) British prog metal wizards release a captivating sequel to their previous album and continue to escape comparisons to other bands and forge their own identity. Might have even been higher, but I came to it late and haven’t even fully unpacked all its hidden glories yet.

05. Lamb Of God – S/T – Review here.

04. Testament – Titans Of Creation – Review here.

03. Protest The Hero – Palimpsest – Review here.

02. Trivium – What The Dead Men Say – Review here.

01. Sepultura – Quadra – Review here.