Six months down, another six to go… but what did Sentinel Daily’s readers enjoy most, album wise, over the first half of 2022? Have a look at this top twenty chart and find out!
20. SartoriDragon’s Fire (Rockshots Records)

“Every year we get a few of these Strat-wielding madmen making a tilt at the Malmsteen crown, and every year we recoil in horror, shaking our heads at the tedious predictability of it all.

Until now.

Joking aside, this is seriously good stuff – Earlier this year I berated another Malmsteen accolyte for attempting nothing but imitation on his record despite clearly possessing the talent to make important music in his own right; Here, with the aid of a superb group of musicians (rounded out by drummer Dino Castano and bassist Rod Viquez), Andy Sartori does just that, with epic trad metal like Through The Eyes of My Soul proving that it is indeed possible to harness one’s influences for the good of all rather than mere self aggrandisement” – Gavin Strickmann, 30/12/21

19. DampfThe Arrival (Gramophone Records)

“Our hero runs the full gamut of everything that’s selling well in modern metal, from Rammstein to Ghost and back again. It’s a pleasing mashup of styles and moods, but, for all the mixing and matching that’s going on the listener never feels they are being made to listen to something that’s contrived or forced. Hence at one moment you’re wallowing in the film noire soundtrackery of Goie Mie, a tale of nefarious activities on the Amsterdam waterfront and a song that wouldn’t go amiss on a Dark Sarah album, the next banging your head enthusiastically to the Johan Hegg-assisted power metal mayhem of From The E-ternity“. – Ferry Templeton, 30/05/22

18. VeonityElements of Power (Scarlet Records)

“Whilst ‘return to form’ is perhaps pushing it a bit, I’m sure the decision to return to a sci-fi/concept/storytelling format will please fans who may not have been sure of the apparent change of direction evident on Sorrows; This new album probably won’t attract too many new followers to the fold – you either love this style of music or you don’t like it at all, really – it’s going to keep those that do love Veonity very happily engaged indeed”. – FT, 21/01/22

17. PowertrypMidnight Marauder (Rafchild Records)

“Hotter Than Hellfire pushes the envelope just a little, and features a great vocal from Johannes Korda; it’s here that you get the sense that, having now established themselves, there is room for the band to expand their horizons into more progressive territory. Cole Stabler and Stefan Dziallas trade solos nicely, and the resultant noise created- not too far away from latterday Metal Church – points to a bright future if the band consider this direction a viable one”. – GS, 07/01/22

16. Diamond DogsSlap Bang Blue Rendezvous (Wild Kingdom)

“I love the Diamond Dogs; If there’s a band that’s done more to keep the flame alive for true, honking, barroom boogie over the last twenty years then they’re unfamiliar to me; And in frontman Sören “Sulo” Karlsson they possess one of the last great, full-force rock n’rollers to walk the face of our increasingly benighted planet. If you love whiskey-soaked, seventies flavoured hedonism but haven’t yet come across the ‘Dogs, then Slap Bang Blue Rendezvous is the perfect place to set that grave mistake right…” – Scott Adams, 18/01/22

15. GiantShifting Time (Frontiers Music)

“But is it really Giant without the band’s former leading light Dann Huff out front and centre?
The pumping, strutting Standing Tall is perhaps where the band get closest to recreating the full spectrum of Giant’s halcyon side, but I honestly don’t think they were overly worried about currying favour with the past too much here. Giant v.2022 is very much it’s own master, and should be approached as such. And, on those terms, Shifting Time is an unmitigated success”. – SA, 12/01/22

14. Girish and the ChroniclesHail To The Heroes (Frontiers Music)

“A lot of good metal has emerged from the Indian subcontinent over the last couple of years, with names like Kryptos and Against Evil cropping up regularly in Sentinel Daily dispatches; but this is another beast altogether, an album that manages to mesh the trad metal heaviness of those two names with titanic melodic rock choruses with what would have been called ‘stadium-levelling efficiency’ back in the day. The heyday of this kind of music may be long gone, but luckily nobody told Girish and his chroniclers; is it too much to hope for that songs like this album’s staggering title track might usher in a new golden age of hair metal? Probably, but an eyelinered and aquanetted man can dream, can’t he?”- GS, 03/02/22

13. GalaxyRunaway Men (Shaded Moon Entertainment)

Bart Schwertmann possesses an easy-on-the-appeal vocally; although the band frequently bring to mind names like Marillion and maybe It Bites (guitarist Niels Lingbeek solos like an incendiary mix of Steve Hackett and Francis Dunnery), the singer’s classy transatlantic tone gives some of the material an almost AOR-sheen; In Her Head, especially, packs the sort of melodic punch of Saga in their prime, and it’s this delightfully beguiling mix of prog and pomp that gives the album much of it’s (not inconsiderable) appeal”.  – SA, 08/06/22

12. Connect The CircleMother of Evil (Own Label)

“Based around the twin peaks of Kenneth Brastad‘s six string bludgeon and the powerful vocals of Arild Fevang, the band, who take in subject matter as diverse as Evel Knievel, Spain’s conquest of Central America and the colonisation of Mars, are never less than engaging over the course of the eight tracks that make up Mother of EvilThe Shade and Evel Knievel keep the band’s momentum high (especially Brastad’s magnificent solo on the former track) before another highlight, When The King Cried, rounds things out in, well, majestic style. Here the band further underline that they can cover all the metal bases comfortably; and here they leave off with a strong sense that there’s plenty more left where this came from for future releases…” – SA, 14/02/22

11. Jizzy Pearl’s Love/HateHell, CA (Golden Robot Records)

“For many, this reviewer included, it’s not the soujourns in Ratt or Quiet Riot that get the goosebumps interested, it’s when the singer turns back into a full-force rock n’roller under his own (black) flag; and on Hell, CA – the title itself even draws a clarion line back to the band’s fabled 1990 debut – we find the man in fine old form… This really is as good as Pearl has sounded since his ‘glory’ days; vocally he’s in great shape, rattling the listener’s malleus and, indeed incus with some righteous power, whilst guitarists Darren Householder – he of 1993’s Let’s Rumble – and Britain’s fave hooligan Stevie R Pearce churn out the riffs in time honoured low-slung fashion. It’s a joy to behold – especially Pearce’s squalling axe slinging on Bruised and Battered – and if straight-ahead, honest, no-holds barred rock n’roll still gets your juices flowing in 2022, then you’re gonna want to get at least two lugfuls of this album as soon as possible” – SA, 11/02/22.

10. Dead HeadSlave Driver (Hammerheart Records)

“On first listen it’s tempting to glibly write off Dead Head‘s new offering, Slave Driver, as another on the ever growing list of eighties-inspired thrash releases; then you remember these grumpy Dutchmen have been doing this for almost as long as thrash metal has been a thing… and then you remember they’ve as much right to sound like an utterly vicious mashup of Slayer and Kreator‘s greatest bits and just just get down to the job in hand, which in this case is thrashing like a maniac…” – Michael Stronge, 12/04/22

9. Taliesin Faceless (Own Label)

“Eight years in the making, apparently, thanks to an unimaginable run of bad luck that included self-defecating computers, studio fires and, of course, savage government-sponsored lockdowns, Faceless is the sort of smorgasbord that prog metal fans are going to soil themselves over. Happily… Repeated exposure to Faceless will reveal the album to be almost completely bereft of any weak point whatsoever, and if this album catches a wave in the world’s metal media it’s easy to see Taliesin going on to bigger and better things in the prog metal arena. Let’s hope the next one doesn’t take quite so long to make it into the public’s consciousness…” – SA 05/04/22

8. Praying MantisKatharsis (Frontiers Music)

“NWoBHM legends Praying Mantis have rarely, if ever, released a duff album, but in Katharsis they’ve put something out that’s truly fit to sit at the top table of their output over the last forty-odd years. More power to them, and long may they continue in this rich vein of form…” – GS, 09/03/22

7. StönerTotally… (Heavy Psych Sounds)

“Halfway through second track A Million Beers, just as Brant Bjork‘s sleekly multitracked axes take to the wing for one of a number of captivating wigouts to be found over the course of new album Totally…, your ears hone in on the bone-rattling funk being played by drummer Ryan Gut; Y’see, for all their smirk-laden Cheech & Chong wittiness, at the root of Stöner‘s latest bout of reefer madness is staggeringly good musicianship…” – GS, 05/05/22

6. FMThirteen (Frontiers Music)

” On Waiting on Love  the band roll back the years to around 1987 and a partial return to their old sound; not only do they do that – but they do it with such verve and style that you actually need to pinch yourself to believe you’ve not been bundled into some sort of time-travel device while you sleep, only to be deposited – in stonewashed denims and a satin dustcoat, obviously – back to the time when this sort of music ruled rock clubs up and down the nation. It’s giddy, life-affirming stuff as Steve Overland sings the absolute arse off of this wonderful song”. – GS, 02/03/22

5. Dying Light Far From Life (Own Label)

“Although they only formed in 2019, these guys have clearly been around the block a few times as evinced by the assured manner in which they’ve put this album together. Nothing has been left to chance here, with every last detail, every harmony, every roll around the kit from drummer Shaun Dilliplane placed in order to achieve maximum effect. Younger Sentinel Daily readers may find it a bit staid, but if you were around at the time from which these guys so clearly draw from for inspiration then there’s a fair chance this could be on heavy rotation on your playback device of choice pretty soon. And deservedly so”. – SA, 20/01/22

4. MagnumThe Monster Roars (SPV/Steamhammer)

“It’s forty years since Magnum made their breakthrough with the titanic Chase The Dragon album; Listening to tracks like Come Holy Men, a strident anthem that could easily have sat on Vigilante or On A Storyteller’s Night, that time melts away in an instant. For most bands a run of forty months is good. To still be churning out the good stuff seven decades in is nothing short of remarkable. And Magnum are nothing if not a remarkable, and much-treasured band. Long may they reign, and long may this Monster roar…” – GS, 22/12/21

3. Space ElevatorPersona Non Grata (Own Label/On Stage Records)

“…the band’s best sounding album to date, thanks to a fabulous production from Adam Vanryne that allows each instrument (and, of course, the sublime throat of The Duchess) to punch through the mix as required. This may well have been an album largely recorded to the cloud by artists in isolation; but close your eyes and you’re transported to one of the World’s great studios – The Record Plant in Sausalito, maybe, circa 1976 – such is the sumptuous soundscape your ears are treated to. It’s only early, of course, but I’ll hazard a guess that not many albums will sound better than Persona Non Grata in 2022″. – SA, 24/02/22

2. Symphony of Sweden Saints of Yesterday (Own Label)

“After just one cymbal stab/voice-box wahwah interface I was in, and, I’m pleased to report, the majesty of Saints of Yesterday barely lets up for the rest of the album’s duration… It’s pretty rare in this day an age that a band covers all the bases without leaving the listener feeling that they are trying just a bit too hard to please everybody, but on Saints of Yesterday that never happens. Instead you are left to marvel at a pair of musicians who have been able to gain complete mastery over whichever style they decide to turn their hands to; these men are frighteningly talented, and this is an album you must listen at least once before your ears give out”. – GS , 14/01/22

Which leads us to the best album of the first half of 2022 as decided by you, the readers of Sentinel Daily…

1. SaxonCarpe Diem (Silver Lining)

“Saxon: A venerable Brit metal institution of near-fifty year vintage. An adamantine bulwark of traditionalism in the face of ever-quickening change, a reminder of the true greatness of traditional heavy metal…

All this is true, of course, and all these facts are repeatedly underlined over the course of the band’s latest full-length album, Carpe Diem. And, as British fans of the band who saw the quintet’s triumphant stage return recently will attest, the band are as spritely now as ever they have been in the live arena. As their close associates Iron Maiden and Judas Priest both lurch towards the end of their respective (and more gilded) careers seemingly ever more bereft of ideas and inspiration, it would seem to be Saxon, the true purveyors of heavy metal thunder down the years, who have the most staying power… Of course, Saxon don’t really make bad albums, but this is certainly one of their best in recent memory and perhaps even going right back to those mid-eighties halcyon days. Seize the day indeed…” – SA, 08/02/22