Yearlist 2023 – Michael

I must be honest with you all. For me, 2023 has been a year in which I mostly listened to records released longer ago. Just like last year, the ‘ ‘Omega Alive’ album by Epica and the ‘Strata’ record by Remina have been my go to records. Nonetheless, 2023 had some decent records in my favourite genres, which I will summarize down below. 

In January, we were treated to ‘Sky Void of Stars‘ by Katatonia. ‘Sky Void of Stars‘ can’t measure up to other high hitters from Katatonia like “Night is the New Day” or “The Great Cold Distance”. Yet somehow Katatonia can’t seem to make a bad record. Before you know it, you’re at the last track, and all just flies by. 

Delain released their new record ‘Dark Waters’ in February. It’s the first record since the new line up and it sounds familiar, yet different. During the show I went to, it was clear that lead singer Diana Leah has a different style of singing for the old songs and the new material. 

A month later in March, Kamelot released ‘The Awakening’. It feels as if the old and the new combined. We got to listen to the ballad midsommer’s eve which feels a bit like the ‘Epica’ days. Next to that, some parts of ‘Opus of the Night‘ remind me of ‘Ghost Opera’. The Awakening feels like the best work Kamelot has delivered in a few years. 

The last one I want to mention, is Blackbriar’s ‘Dark Euphony’. To be fair, Blackbriar didn’t really hit the spot for me until their previous record, ‘The Cause of Shipwreck’. ‘Dark Euphony ‘means another step forward for the Dutchies. The record feels more consistent and has a few songs that have really grown on me, like ‘Far Distant Land‘ and ‘Forever and a Day’. 

There we have it. It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in recency bias and forget the good music that has been released earlier in the year. If you haven’t, go check these bands and records out, who knows if some of it will be to your liking. 

Happy Holidays and best of 2024 for you all  

Michael Brookhuis

Hi, my name is Michael, I'm from The Netherlands and next to writing here, I love writing about games, nature and art. My love for metal started around the age of sixteen, when the more mainstream bands like Evanescence, Within Temptation and Linkin Park were more of a thing and actually on the radio. Later on, my taste in music broadened and nowadays I listen to a lot of subgenres. From Power Metal like Sonata Arctica, symphonic like Ayreon, Doom like Draconian and more, I don’t think it would be easy to pin-point any specific sub-genre that would be my favorite. Lately my playlist consisted of Epica, Heilung, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity, Nightwish, Kamelot and more, it all depends on my mood. But I think a lot of us feel the same way. Metal-Exposure for me is a group of same-minded individuals that through music have found a connection which makes us friends.

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