JRO’s Community Best of 2022 🎆

JRO’s Community Best of 2022

It’s that time of the year again, where everyone posts some “best of 2022”.
We do have already done threads regarding this year from Best Bands of 2022 to Releases from 2022 that are worth checking out.

So, why am I opening another thread you might wonder. Well i want to see everyones Top 5 releases of this year.

Your top 5 will be turned into playlists on Spotify and YouTube.
So let me add some slight guidelines here:

  • You can include any release from 2022. It doesn’t matter if single, album, compilation or mini-album, the only condition is that it was released in 2022.

  • It doesn’t matter if the release is Visual Kei, JRock or JPop, the only limit is, that it must be a japanese release.

  • Please include the name of the release and artist, a sentence or two on why you like it so much, and maybe a music video or a song.

  • If you have a album or mini-album in your top 5 please highlight a song that stuck out to you.
    (If you won’t highlight a song, i will add a song at random to the playlists later)

  • Feel free to make a “Worst 5” release list too.

I can’t promise you that the releases you will post will be on either Spotify or YouTube. But i want to provide others with the chance to dig through everyone’s music taste and see if there is something they like for themselves.

9 Likes

1 sukekiyo — 「AMOR」

For years now sukekiyo has been the prime example of a band somewhat transcending the confines of visual kei and expanding into the avant-garde. After a rather slow series of releases including a couple of demos and SALUS in 2021—which I’ve warmed up to quite a bit but still think is rather mediocre as a whole—AMOR is a refreshing return to form with a tight, refined and more grandiose iteration of their recent 80s pop sensibilities × neon-infused art-rock sound. Every track’s a banger. Solid A tier (so is the plate). Favorite(s): 夢見ドロ

2 DIR EN GREY — 「PHALARIS」

I had zero expectations going into this and that’s probably what made DEG’s 2022 album quite enjoyable for me. I find their particular flavor of metal very hit and miss… annoyingly pretentious, dull and corny at times but with spurs of brilliance and true inventiveness at others. There were few of the latter on The Insulated World which made PHALARIS all the more entertaining. Favorite(s): Schadenfreude, Perfume of Sins, 御伽, カムイ

3 La’veil MizeriA — 「十字架に捧ぐ惨劇のマリア」

I’m a bit of a sucker for the kote kei revivalism in recent years and La’veil MizeriA is one of those bands that does it best. Solid album, the tracklist could use a little more flavor and variation but decent overall. Favorite(s): Décadence, Lost Eternal

4 deadman — 「I am here」

The deadman reboot was certainly among the more exciting news in the past year or two and I quite enjoyed their 2022 compilation of re-recordings. Even though it’s quite a delicate topic when a band re-records old tracks or albums (cough MUCC cough), especially after such a long time, deadman accomplished it quite tastefully, although I still feel that some of the spark and magic got lost in the process. Favorite(s): 向日葵, monster tree, ドリスからの手紙

5 Kaya — 「Rose」

I’ve run out of vk releases for 2022, so this is my wild card pick. Even though I haven’t listened to this album a lot I love Kaya, what he does and that he’s still thriving and killing it! Favorite(s): 禁色

10 Likes

グラビティ - 電撃衝撃ライトニング

Super fun release, and my kirakira favorite of the year.


0.1gの誤算 - 叛逆の三原色~甘い香りと×の予感~

This is cheating, lmao. Desire and VITAL are some of my favorite LucaRia tracks, and they’re excellent remakes. vo.You is a jackass, but one of my favorite sounding ones.


THE MADNA - CREAM SODA

Oshare throwback anthem, what’s not to love.


RAYMEI - サースティ・レイディ

I’m not usually a fan of hot jazz/swing-infused visual kei tracks, but this one surprised me (especially with the second verse.) RAYMEI, having only debuted at the beginning of this year, have already released five singles (if you count the release of the “RONCE” MV.) My personal band of the year, and the spiritual continuation of what I liked so much in HAKLO.


SUGAR IN THE CLOSET - You don’t know yet how to taste seasonal change.

Late-'90s jangle pop/“If early-John Mayer was a vk band”. This album was a breath of fresh air, but I’m not sure about this band’s future with KAI’s departure.


Dark Horse of the Year

洗脳Tokyo - おニャンコポン!

Everything they produce sounds like it’s recorded from a bathroom, but some of their music is actually pretty decent.

6 Likes
  1. Marvelous Cruelty - 素晴ラシキ残酷 -完売音源集-
    A fantastic 90s worship VK album. As cool as live limited cassettes are, the improved sound quality really elevates the material here. The songs are all short and sweet and very catchy. There’s basically no filler. Highlights: basically the whole thing.
  1. Kessoku Band - Kessoku Band
    The spiritual successor to K-ON but with better music. Really great indie rock with some slight emo/post hardcore inflience on some songs. A lot of great musiscians were involved in this album like 中嶋イッキュウ from Tricot, 三井律郎 from la la larks, and others. Highlights: あのバンド (That band) and カラカラ (Kara Kara).
  1. Nazare - COMMON ERA
    They’ve still got it.
    Highlights: 蘇生 (Sosei) (VK SOTY) and far away.
  1. LIPHLICH - EPILOGUE 0
    As a VK double album, naturally there’s a fair bit of filler here but a lot of this stuff is killer too. LIPHLICH brings their signature mixture of atmospheric jazzy and showtimey tunes, and the songwriting stands out in a lot of these songs. Highlights: 11月の雨, 墜落艶歌, オディセイ, 魔旋律
  1. 苺りなはむ - 存分 (ICHIGORINAHAMU - ZONE BRRN) produced by Giga & TeddyLoid
    Debut single for ICHIGORINAHAMU (member of CY8ER & BPM15Q). Giga & TeddyLoid are two of the best producers in Japan and this song in particular is the best example of gangsta moe I’ve ever heard. ICHIGORINAHAMU oozes so much style here it’s infectious. This trio released another single this year (RAKUEN) which is also fantastic.

Honourable mentions:
ARTiCLEAR: 灰色の人間 - not as good as last year’s one though.
deadman: I am here - Kein and deadman comebacks in the same year is too good.
DIMLIM: DIMLIM - best ‘best of’ this year
Dir an grey: PHALARIS - good stuff
inabakumori: Weather Station - listen to Lag Train but it’s all good.
kein: Uso - one of the best rerecordings I’ve ever heard. Really need more.
Kizu: リトルガールは病んでいる title track. Last minute is a little boring though.
sukekiyo: AMOR - maybe their best single yet.
The THIRTEEN: Glitter - they went for a softer style but for this EP at least I think it really works. Highlights: Tokyo Sympathy, Focus.
Various Artists: トライアングルデカダンス - mainly for Misanthrope’s (spiritual successor to Crucifixion) song.
Virge: Mother title track - this band still comes out with bangers om the regular.

7 Likes

Rather than try and come up with a list, I’m going to listen to facts and reason and just let my playcounts speak for themselves. Data driven insights or whatever they say these days.

1 - Dir en grey - Phalaris
Not sure what to say that hasn’t already been said, but as per usual with DEG releases, it’s a solid effort. The tracks are varied enough that there’s fun for the whole family and the songwriting is nuanced enough that it doesn’t get old for a while, even if you listen to it too much in quick succession like I did.
I’m interested in seeing how bull album will be remembered in the coming years.

Key Track: 御伽

2 - deadman - I am here
I listened to a decent amount of deadman back in the day. Not enough to get obsessed with them, but enough to make these rerecordings feel deeply nostalgic. deadman finally clicked for me thanks to this album, which led me to give their discography the attention it deserves. A good number of these tracks are straight upgrades over their originals, while others provide interesting alternate versions.

Key Track: 向日葵

3 - Petit Brabancon - Fetish
Wait, I listened to dog album this much? This was a funny one for me because I was really looking forward to it, but my expectations for it were incredibly low. I was hoping for a dumb nu-metal worship album and that’s exactly what we got for the most part. It’s not entirely lowbrow though, and there are some moments that hint at a promising future for this group. At least I hope.

Key Track: Pull the trigger

4 - ATLUS Sound Team - Shin Megami Tensei V Original Soundtrack
This one honestly surprised me a little, but the scrobbles don’t lie. SMTV was a pleasure to play and I’ve always loved the music in these games—this one was no exception.

Key Track: Battle -dancing crazy murder-

5 - Sigh - Shiki
This has to be Sigh’s most thematically cohesive album since at least In Somniphobia, and possibly one of the best in their discography. Mirai’s assembled a lineup that can bring his vision to life while bringing forward their own strengths and creativity. This feels like a particularly reflective album, both in Mirai acknowledging his age and in how the songs often visit sounds from Sigh’s musical journey. And it never manages to feel derivative!

Key Track: Shikabane

Other Highlights
There are a few other releases from this year that got plenty of playtime but didn’t make it into my top five, so it’s only right to mention them:

  • cali≠gari - A.B.C. for busy people. (I still haven’t heard the full version)
  • sukekiyo - AMOR (top plate of 2022)
  • Boris - Heavy Rocks (statistically speaking we’re likely to get another one of these in 2032)
10 Likes

I will give this a try. My top 5 releases of this year.

  1. Asunojokei - Island

I believe this is my most played release that came out this year. It’s a great blend of Asunojokei’s post hardcore, post black metal sensibilities and just sheer passion in an accesible package. I believe this album is probably the best starting point for a new fan of this band.

One of my favorite songs on the record: Heavenward

  1. Sukekiyo - Amor

This single/mini album, audio/video collection whatever you want to call it sounds like natural evolution of Salus, their previous release. It once again showcases unique take on different genres mixed very well together while remaining coherent. This is musically one of the peaks that vk can offer despite not being the band’s best release

Favorite song: Mosaic Shoujo

  1. DÄLLE - CLASSIX MMXV to MMXXII

This might be a weird choice because it is a best of album but I found myself listening to it quite a bit at some points this year. This was one of the weirder and more original bands of the vk sphere. Ryo does great job on vocals as always and the famous bassist Atsushi Hatta, love him or hate him, does his weird house/edm/dance stuff. I think they chose great selection of tracks for this best of

One of my favorite songs: Witchcraft Pictures

  1. Dir En Grey - Phalaris

What is there to say. A welcome change after the conflicting The Insulated World. Solid album which shows our favorite vk veterans having fun while staying true to their sound. Unfortunately this album came out when I was shifting my focus elsewhere otherwise it would be higher on the list.

One of my favorite songs: Oboro

  1. ARTiCLEAR - Haiiro no Ningen

Probably my most favorite newer vk band. Their releases are really solid, their whole discog is coherent. This mini album is no exception. Jin really follows his vision through and delivers. Heavy, chaotic and yet melodic. One of the remnants of the dying breed that is art kei.

Favorite song: Another Mind

Honorable mentions:
Shiki by Sigh
I am here by Deadman

I need to spend more time with them to really create an opinion on those two

6 Likes
  1. David - 「Messiah -旧約主-」(Kyuuyakushu)

I love Sui both as singer and songwriter, and this release delivers on all fronts. It just solidified David as one of my favorite VK acts. The MV and the costumes are top notch too.

  1. のろゐみこ (Noroimico) - 「凶日」 (Onnen)

I absolutely love this band’s combination of heavier music with traditional elements and clean, eerie vocals. This was love at first listen. Bonus points for the cool album art. Highlight: 怨念

  1. Kaya - ROSE

Kaya is amazing, as always. I am a bit lukewarm about the remixes, but the new songs are all great, especially that one that’s basically a Femme Fatale song. That is my highlight: 弟切草

  1. DazzlingBAD - 『happy BIRTHDAY』

Yeah, I still think this band is cool. Production value isn’t always the best, but I love the atmosphere of the songs and they’re quite the characters IMO. This song was my favorite this year.

  1. ARTiCLEAR - 灰色の人間 (Haiiro no Ningen)

Musically one of the most interesting VK band for me. This release maybe isn’t as good as last year’s, but still solid. Highlight: Dear All Grey

Other stuff I liked:

GE+IM - マーヴェリックの医学 (Maverick no Igaku) - The MV for 病院の怪談 (Byouin no Kaidan) is their best so far, and a top tier hospital-kei video IMO
Unlucky Morpheus - evolution
NETH PRIERE CAIN - 約束の地にて、美しく舞う。(Yakusoku no Chi nite, Utsukushiku Mau) - This band is getting better and better, I especially love the costumes for the MV
Bue - it’s good to have Batsu back
ゼラ (ZERA) - I found this band this year, they’re fun
VIRGE - Mother
Jigsaw - HEX
XANVALA - joke
Kizu - リトルガールは病んでいる。(Little Girl wa Yandeiru)
蘭 (Ran) - the three singles were great, haven’t found the album online yet
蟻 (Ari) - 完全変躰 (Kanzen Hentai)
Ashmaze. - ジレンマ (DILEMMA)

Not Japanese but belong on my list:
AURAL COMA - ATAXIA
Madmans Esprit - 나는 나를 통해 우리를 보는 너를 통해 나를 본다

Edit: added some more honorable mentions

7 Likes
  1. SKY-HI - Bare-Bare (Single)
    Bare-Bare was co-written with Aile The Shota, one of the artists he signed from his boyband audition, and it captures a lot of things I like about SKY-HI. You can always feel how genuinely excited he is about each new experiment.
  1. G:nt - xday (EP)
    I really like his more pop punk/rock style songs, and he went pretty far in that direction with this EP, so I was very happy with it. I’m not that crazy about the title track, but he looks really good in the MV, at least.
  1. Dios - CASTLE (Album)
    It’s just got a nice balance of dark vibes and catchy songs.
4 Likes

Sigh’s latest album SHIKI was something else, God tier.

DEG’s PHALARIS was also spectacular.

Edit:

Oh I also really loved La’veil MizeriA’s second full album (technically third) 十字架に捧ぐ惨劇のマリア(Juujika ni Sasagu Sangeki no MARIA) my favorite of the three.

Oh and non-Japanese

Lorna Shore - Pain Remains

8 Likes

DaizyStripper - FUJIYAMA
I had stopped pre-ordering their albums at some point but already ordered the previous one while listening to the previews and with the development they had been doing throughout their 2020 album I was confident pre-ordering this one wouldn‘t be a waste.
When they released the PV I link I was even more certain.
It‘s a typical DaizyStripper album I‘d say because it‘s a mixture of dark/gloomy emotions and happy sounds.

Dir en grey - PHALARIS
There‘s not much to say for me about this, because this album made it to second best on my list of favorite Deg albums.

ムック - 新世界
I already had the feeling that I could like this album by the one time I listened to the previews and I felt the same about the album when it was out then. It‘s not their best one in my opinion but I like it a lot more than quite some other ones.

ナイトメア - NOX:LUX
It‘s been the first album I like in like a decade. I‘ve not been overly surprised about this since I enjoyed their last few singles but I liked it though spending attention to one of their albums again after all that time.

蟻 - 完全変躰
The previews were great, the PV was great so I pre-ordered and knew I‘d get something I would love.
But this band grew on me in general this year.
Picking one song gave me a hard time but in the end I decided on one.

6 Likes

There were 4 Japanese releases that caught my ears this year

1` Satoko Shibata - Bochi Bochi Galaxy (featured song “Bochi Bochi Galaxy”)

I’ve been really into this artist lately. Her compositions are very lush and layered, and her melodies are incredibly catchy. Her new album feels more refined and somber. This one’s been a comfort album for me all last year.


2` Mass of the Fermenting Dregs - Awakening:Sleeping (featured song “Dramatic”)

Very fun album with catchy and warm melodies, laid-back grooves, and some hard-hitting surprises. It’s a very easy-going listen that ups my positivity.


3` Asunojokei - Island (featured song “Chimera”)

Asunojokei have gotten better with each release. Island is their fiercest effort yet but they still manage to weave in uplifting melodies and calming guitar phrases and it all sounds natural. Undoubtedly their strongest release to date.


4` downt - anthology (featured song “111511”)

A lowkey indie release that doesn’t redefine the genre in any new ways but is a solid enough release. What I really like about the album is the flow of the compositions. They just flow from section to section so smoothly. While not everything is a 5/5, there are some great songs hidden here.

5 Likes

Trying to write down my Top 5 releases of 2022 made me realize, there were far more releases i kept up with and i was interested in. So i decided to at least seperate my list into albums and singles.

Also @Ezra 's prediction

under the cut



My Top 5 Albums of 2022

1. Nevrness - Reorient


Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to find this album as my number one.
It’s 32 minutes and 13 seconda of only bass guitar and drums.
The initial spark for Bitokus project was a official demo for Ibanez, released in the beginning of 2022.
I remember actually playing exactly that demo whenever we hang out on turntable, because i liked it a lot, so getting a whole album like that was pretty amazing.
Even though it’s “just” bass and drums the songs don’t make you feel that anything is missing. Even with the bass he was able to draw beautiful melodies in the songs.

And if you don’t enjoy instrumental music that much, don’t worry, all song are pretty short and the can serve perfectly as SE’s in any playlist. :wink:

Highlights: Vengeance, Endleaf, Cloudscape

A little thought i wanted to add

From following the project pretty early on i noticed quiet often the “why you use pick? You have to slap the bass” complaints. And it’s THAT thing any bassist gets criticized for.
My personal thoughts on it is, that it makes Nevrness more unique. Any bassist would opt for using their hands nowadays to play bass for a solo project, so Bitoku staying loyal to his pick might just makes him stick outside from the majority.

2. Earthists. - Have A Good Cult

Earthists first album after leaving their label. There is a significant difference, musical wise, towards the two albums they released before.
From kind of classic metalcore (earthists were accounted as naturecore) to more pop infused and djenty Core (they went from naturecore to cultcore)
I had a bit mixed feelings seeing Sunblood on the album, a song released almost 2 years before the album, but the song fits perfectly well inside, so i am shaking the mixed feelings aside. :triumph:

The album has a nice pace allover and ends on a pretty poppy song, that let’s the guitarist and clean vocalist Yuto shine.
If you have heard any of their previous remixes you will know that these guys nail pop-rock based music pretty well.

Highlights: Lost Grace, Have a good Cult, Skywalker

3. Alphoenix - Evils Ways


Alphoenix’ second studio album consists of a well mix of harsh and clean vocals.
We have amazing guitar solos and a beautiful bass solo in ‘Refusion’. With a bit over 51 minutes it’s the longest album on my list.

Highlights: Refusion, Silver Lining,
BlaQ Road (would love to lay this song to the heart of VK fans, i think it has a familiar feeling)

4. Sable Hills - Duality

Sable Hills was that band that gave me the final kick to dig more into japanese metalcore. I am pretty glad i gave these guys a try.
Also they went their first time to Europe last year.
The album itself is a smooth ride. From Takuya’s harsh vocals to Rict’s guitar and clean vocals.

A little frustration is there unfortunately, the album seems to be not available as digital download. So all you can do is buy it physical or stream it.

Highlights: Messiah, Snake In The Grass, The Envy

5. The Cards I Play - Retrograde

The first album for The Cards I Play consists of a nice mix of heavier and softer songs. There is something for everyone, basically.
We also got some ballads, with ‘Wherever you are’ and a heavier one with ‘Shades of Gray’.
With around 42 minutes is has nice running time, not too long and not to short.

Highlights: Take My Hand, Golden Age, Shades of Grey

Honorary mentions:
Prompts - Fracture
Take This To Heart - Hypernova


My Top 5 Singles of 2022

  1. Sailing Before The Wind - One Step Over, Rain or Shine, Neo Chronicle, Illuminator

I can see some you already telling me this is cheating… Yes it is.
But instead of making 1-4 with SBTW because i can’t decide, i just slap 4 singles at nr1 :laughing::laughing:
Each of those 4 songs has their own charme.
For One Step Over, there is this line in the lyrics “We’re rugged outlaws overseeing the plain, riding horse across the rocky terrain”
For weeks i was fighting each time i listened to the song the urge to draw the whole band sitting on some horses in some cowboy clothes :laughing: thankfully this goes past my actual drawing abilities
Rain or Shine was my most listened song on Spotify. I love the bass solo and the melody after it is just giving me the feels.
Neo Chronicle, just the beginning melody of the song already hits.
Illuminator it was a song i actually didn’t like in the beginning but i threw it on my playlists and it grew on me over time

For those who do not like screams or might not like Ryoichi’s voice, i can still recommend to listen to the instrumental versions of the songs, it’s still pretty awesome and worth it without vocals.

02. HIKAGE - Homesick
A good and decent hardcore release, it has beautiful guitar solo and the lyrics are quite :relieved::ok_hand:

03. The Local Pints - Pale Summer
A warm and nice summer bop, perfectly enjoyable even if you don’t drink beer :laughing:

04. One Eye Closed - Squall
I did listen to this song endless times without noticing that it was released only last year. So ya know… I gotta add it here because i listened to it too much :laughing:
They also released another song near the end of the year “Real Intent”, which is pretty cool too.

05. ovEnola - Doors
ovEnola released 3 singles in a row last year and Doors is one of them. I am bit sad because these guys popped up a bit late basically on my listening journey last year.


And a
Big shoutout goes to Lost In Again for releasing their first EP “The Cycle of Reincarnation

4 Likes
  1. Imperial Circus Dead Decadence - 殯――死へ耽る想いは戮辱すら喰らい、彼方の生を愛する為に命を讃える――。
    Thank fucking god i stumbled upon a random post in this forum about this release cause it has absolutely blasted everything else out of the water. Despite having given up on vk and assuming the scene will never have another worthwhile release ever again, music from japan is still incredible since regardless of having listened to around 150 albums in 2022, my top 3 are all out of Japan.
  1. Asunojokei - Island
    Words will never be enough to describe the sound these guys have managed to create but by their own description theyre a post black metal band with influences from hardcore, math rock, and shoegaze. it might not be your racist grandfather’s kind of black metal but its definitely better than anything from that and jrock as a whole.
  1. Dir en grey - Phalaris
    I’ll just be honest, this album hasnt left the strongest impression that i initially thought it did. i still regard it really highly and found it to be an excellent entry in the diru discog, but i guess with my first time discoveries of ICDD and Asunojokei who provided not only a more refreshing and unique sound but also created what imo are better albums, just left this slightly in the dust in comparison. but comparisons aside the package as a whole is excellent and is still Dir en grey at their best.

4 and 5 are both more obscure releases in the black metal world so i wont go into much details or links since i dont imagine many are interested but itll be

  1. Saidan - Onryō II: Her Spirit Eternal (dude is a fan of old school vk and you can hear it in the sound)
  2. Trhä - Vat gëlénva!!! (just some of the most unique modern black metal youll ever hear and all his releases are $1 each lol)
4 Likes

Everybody it’s time

We carefully selected your top 5 of 2022 and added some staff picks to make our JROCKONE - Best of 2022 on Spotify

I know that not everyone has Spotify and as i have said we made a playlist via YouTube too
The YouTube playlist is slightly simplified (no honorary mentions or staff picks were added)

8 Likes