TPM Top Keys 2022


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10. Matt Bellamy – Muse

Say what you will about Muse, Matt is a terrific writer and an accomplished performer. His keys on the new Muse album are flashy, heated, and spacious in all the right ways.

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9. Duncan Patterson

Duncan’s Grace Road album is an example of how less is often more. His cautious, illustrious piano sets the stage for plenty of emotion and reverence, and when I listen to the album now, it is his masterful playing that stands out for me.

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8. Loki – Nordic Giants

Speaking of piano, the Nordic Giants are more often known for searing synth lines and colorful keys, but Loki this time chose to utilize pure piano bliss for many passages. His style elates and engages my senses.

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7. Justin Pointer – Dance with the Dead

Searing synth lines are still a thing with Dance with the Dead, though. Justin’s riveting, energetic synth is full of horror vibes and Carpenter-esque melodies. I love the tone and the creativity he brings.

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6. Nachtzeit – Lustre

Nachtzeit is somewhere between energetic and cautious. Lustre’s new offering A Thirst for Summer Rain offers clever, calculated melodies that build in tension and in layering. I love how cerebral it can be, and yet how full of freedom and wonder, too.

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5. Velhon – Etrange

All the guitar work in the world doesn’t make Etrange what they are; it is the combination of Deadale’s guitars and Velhon’s soaring, spacey synth that truly creates the cosmic and science fiction atmosphere of their latest album. Velhon’s work is just as reserved as it is full of flourish. Either way, great passion is apparent.

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4. Diego Tejeida – Devin Townsend

I will miss Diego on keys for Haken. In all honesty, it feels like Haken made the decision to lean into djent and guitar fireworks for the last few albums anyways, so Diego had become lost in the mix. On Devin’s latest, however, he is allowed to breathe and to thrive, and I was reminded of how much I truly love his expert and signature style. Full of color and light, Diego’s work really spoke to me.

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3. Rikard Zander – Evergrey

I’ve been an Evergrey fan for many years, but I feel like Rikard is finally getting his due with the band. His work on the last few albums has been amazing, and the latest record featured plenty of vibrant leads from Rikard that truly sizzled, while his atmospheric work in other moments played up the emotions I so love in Evergrey. Over the years, he has become one of my favorite keyboardists.

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2. Michael Whalen

Over the last few years, I’ve come to love Michael Whalen’s illustrious style of electronic music. His homebrewed synth tones and infectious melodies drew me in, but his deep tracks, especially the spacey and complex ones, have kept me coming back for more. His latest, Imaginary Trains, has grown massively on me since it released; I still can’t get enough of his wizardry.

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1. Vikram Shankar

– Silent Skies/Borealis/Threads of Fate

I’ve talked about Vikram’s work for many years, and I realized that I had yet to put him at the top of this list. That is a disgrace. Vikram has become a mainstay in progressive music recently, and his work on Silent Skies, Threads of Fate, and Borealis pushed those sounds into completely new territories. That goes for both his keys and his orchestrations. His career is already bright, and I hope it gets brighter.

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