BravePicks 2022 - TONY MARTIN's Thorns #23
December 9, 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.
23) TONY MARTIN - Thorns (Dark Star)
2022 began with a bang when Tony Martin issued his first solo album in 17 years. The simply titled Thorns showcased the former Black Sabbath frontman’s talent with vintage heavy metal combined with unexpected instrumentation. The result – a diverse record with hammering guitars, acoustic blues, synth use, and even the violin makes its way in. It’s a fresh sounding record with just enough reminders of his days with Tony Iommi.
The inspired songwriting combined with Martin’s still powerful vocals made this the surprise of 2022 – not sure if anyone thought this record would be this good. Thorns deservedly takes its place at #23 on our list.
Scribe Nick Balazs wrote in his review:
Martin was smart to nab guitarist Scott McClellan who pulls out a multitude of riffs that punctuate hard-hitting heavy metal. “Book Of Shadows” holds a USPM vibe with a trembling, prodding bass line greeted by choral vocals before Martin crashes in with his superb vocal delivery. This 6 minute journey is the most epic of the cuts that morphs into a chilling acoustic passage backed into a synth solo. One of the best tracks he’s ever performed on! The surprises aren’t over as “Crying Wolf” is an acoustic journey embedded with the Hammond organ complete with solo while “Damned By You” opens with a violin. It’s totally unexpected, but fits in with the devious lyricism and naughty riffing that reminds of Whitesnake. Love that he’s not playing it safe and taking chances.
“I met the devil and he tried to take my wings.” This lyric greets the dreary “Nowhere To Fly”, which starts slow and kicks it into gear in the chorus lines. The closer and acoustic begun title track is a duet with Pamela Moore (Sister Mary from Queensrÿche’s Operation: Mindcrime). Martin and Moore combine for wonderful, thoughtful vocal harmonies in a track that’s the most progressive of the bunch and stands as another highlight.
BravePicks 2022 Top 30
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)