BravePicks 2022 - STRATOVARIUS' Survive #11
December 21, 2022, 12 months ago
Where does the time go? 2022 can be called the comeback year of all time, with virtually every band on the planet getting back on track post-COVID. So it was one helluva year for heavy metal as the releases started to pour in and the bands started to hit your town after nearly three years of madness. It is time to unveil our annual BravePicks countdown, where the devout scribes at BraveWords cast their votes at the hits and misses of the year! So who will be our #1? You’ll find out as we count down the BravePick Of 2022 each day in December!
Everybody has an opinion and it’s time for ours! And stay tuned in January for the writers’ individual Top 20s (new studio albums ONLY), Top 5 Brave Embarrassments (a fan favorite!), What/Who Needs To Stop In 2022? and Metal Predictions For 2022. All will be showcased come the New Year!
First up, the best of the best for 2022 begins NOW! And we begin with the six releases bubbling under our top 30.
11) STRATOVARIUS - Survive (earMUSIC)
Only the strong will Survive indeed. Stratovarius has enjoyed a career renaissance since longstanding guitarist/founder Timo Tolkki left the band in 2008. The Finns have been consistently producing high quality melodic power metal. Sure, some were better than others – 2013’s Nemesis was a masterclass in songwriting. Now 7 years after 2015’s Eternal, Stratovarius didn’t forget how to compose catchy tunes with Survive. The performances are tight with progressive and speedy flourishes as Timo Kotipelto’s unique vocals stand out once again.
Survive is a power metal beast and climbs out of the rubble to #11 on our list.
Scribe Rich Catino penned in his review:
The music also is often more progressive, less predictable within a song. Kotipelto not singing as high as he used to. Bassist Lauri Porra's bass more defined and heard in the mix. "Demand" one of those steadfast riff rockers in "Against The Wind" vein, drums and riff begins "Broken" as keys are fed in, not a traditional chorus section as keyboards segue out to the verse. "Firefly" a catchy single and melody like "Dragons", and "Fantasy". "We Are Not Alone" hits punchy, guitars briefly drop out during the verses. Epic keys/intro to six plus minutes "Frozen In Time" sets up for the song's singalong flow. I really like the accenting keyboards too, very classic Strato in that great chorus like something from Dreamscape or Fourth Dimension. Probably my favorite song.
"World On Fire" is a good choice for a single as it kicks off the second half of the album keeping up with the energy; lyrics giving something to think about. "Glory Days" a Tolkki-ish riff and rhythm drive without sounding redundant like any past faster power metal songs in the cannon post Episode album.
BravePicks 2022 Top 30
12) OZZY OSBOURNE - Patient Number 9 (Epic)
13) DECAPITATED - Cancer Culture (Nuclear Blast)
14) EVIL INVADERS - Shattering Reflection (Napalm)
15) AMORPHIS - Halo (Atomic Fire)
16) ARCH ENEMY - Deceivers (Century Media)
17) WEDNESDAY 13 - Horrifier (Napalm)
18) WHITESPADE - Whitespade (Independent)
19) MISERY INDEX - Complete Control (Century Media)
20) KRISIUN - Mortem Solis (Century Media)
21) RAZOR - Cycle Of Contempt (Relapse)
22) MEGADETH - The Sick, The Dying...And The Dead! (Universal Music Group)
23) TONY MARTIN - Thorns (Dark Star)
24) UGLY KID JOE - Rad Wings Of Destiny (Metalville / UKJ)
25) TRIAL (SWE) - Feed The Fire (Metal Blade)
26) SABATON - The War To End All Wars (Nuclear Blast)
27) SCORPIONS - Rock Believer (Vertigo)
28) CORPSEGRINDER - Corpsegrinder (Perseverance)
29) SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY & THE CONSPIRATORS - 4 (Gibson / BMG)
30) NORDJEVEL - Gnavhòl (Indie)
31) WITCHERY – Nightside (Century Media)
32) ABBATH - Dread Reaver (Season of Mist)
33) AMON AMARTH - The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade)
34) RECKLESS LOVE – Turbo Rider (AFM)
35) GOATWHORE – Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven (Metal Blade)
36) CAVE IN – Heavy Pendulum (Relapse)