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(By Stéphane Froidcoeur for Inferno Sound Diaries/Side-Line Reviews) 2022 has been once again a sad, bloody and terrible year. Living in a mad world music once more remains a true therapy to appease pain and frustration. Concerts and festivals came back; the perfect place to meet friends again. Artists remain prolific releasing great studio work. So I’m once more closing the year by a personal selection of my very own ‘best of’-albums of the year.

Over 700 productions have been selected while 540  reviews have been made all over the year. Some productions have been refused because the style of music didn’t fit, while other reviews will be postponed to 2023. I’m really grateful to all labels, bands and promoters considering my work and efforts and I hope you’ll go on providing me new promos next year.

I one again have to express my deepest gratitude to Rich Bova (NEIKKA RPM) who for years and years now is reading, correcting and improving my reviews. Without Rich there would be no reviews. I also want to thank Bernard Van Isacker – chief redactor Side-Line Music Magazine – for the successful collaboration. 

Up now to 2023. I already reduced my activities this year and will move on reducing it in 2023. I made my first reviews and interviews back in 1991 (!). Some of the readers and artists weren’t even born when I wrote my first review for Side-Line. So after more than 30 years non-stop activities I think it’s not that strange to move on slowly.

I also want to express a big ‘F*** you’ to so-called ‘artists’ and label owners who don’t realise and appreciate the work I’m doing by making reviews and preparing interviews to get them in the spotlights. The attitude and less of respect shown by those people – luckily a very few number – is just unacceptable… but I’m afraid it reflects the world we’re living in… Behind a genius artist is not always hiding a great person… It’s quite strange to realise the ’biggest’- and long-time established artists from this scene often are the most accessible ones.

Writing reviews remains very ‘subjective’ and always a source of discussion, but keep in mind it will be always the perception of the reviewer. I can assure you I’m always trying to argue my reviews the best as possible. A review will be never objective, but has to be honest!

Like every year I’ve made a selection from the best albums of the year. This ‘TOP 25’ covers different styles like EBM, Dark-Electro, IDM, Synth-Pop, Ethereal, Dark-Ambient, Industrial, Cinematographic, Gothic, Post-Punk, Cold/Dark-Wave, Dark-Techno and a few related genres. It remains an exciting but tough exercise.

This ‘TOP 25’ is taken from the promotional material I got while compilations, ‘best of’-productions, EP’s and singles were not considered.

So, here’s my ‘TOP 25’ from 2022 and don’t forget to share it with your friends….

Top 25 albums 2022

  1. IVARDENSPHERE: “Ragemaker” – Metropolis Records
  2. DIE ROBO SAPIENS : “Robo Sapien Race” – Alfa Matrix
  3. EBE04 : “Inrush – Give/Take
  4. CALDON GLOVER: “Labyrintia” – Cyclic Law
  5. ROME: “Hegemonikon” – Trisol
  6. NEIKKA RPM: “Scorpio In The Hourglass – Alfa Matrix
  7. VANGUARD: “Spectrum” – Infacted Recordings
  8. SUICIDE COMMANDO: “Goddestructor” – Out Of Line
  9. ELM: “Penetrator” – Alfa Matrix
  10. OBERER TOTPUNKT: “Totentanz” – Danse Macabre Records
  11. THE BIRTHDAY MASSACRE: “Fascination” – Metropolis Records
  12. BLACKBOOK: “Confessions Of The Innocent” – DarkTunes Music Group
  13. BEYOND THE GHOST: “Sundown” – Cryo Chamber
  14. THEN COMES SILENCE: “Hunger” – Metropolis Records
  15. PRINCIPE VALLIENTE: “Barricades” – Metropolis Records
  16. DAWN OF ASHES: “Scars Of The Broken” – Artoffact Records
  17. MONSTERGOD: “Ozymandias” – Space Race Records
  18. STATIQBLOOM: “Threat” – Sonic Groove Records
  19. AXIOME: “Field Guide To Alien Planets And Other Disco Balls – Audiophob
  20. REICHSFEIND: “Darken” – Alfa Matrix
  21. FIRST AID 4 SOULS: “I Am The Night” – Alfa Matrix
  22. ORDO ROSARIUS EQUILIBRIO: “Nihilist Notes And The Perputual Quest 4 Meaning In Nothing” – Out Of Line
  23. KILL SHELTER: “Asylum” – Manic Depression Records / Metropolis Records
  24. JAGATH: “Svapna” – Cold Spring Records
  25. KILL YOUR BOYFRIEND: “Voodoo” – Shyrec
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Inferno Sound Diaries
I have been working for over 30 years with Side-line as the main reviewer. My taste is eclectic, uncoventional and I prefer to look for the pearls, even if the bands are completely unknown, thus staying loyal to the Side-Line philosophy of nurturing new talents.

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