Well I’m not the first to say this I guess, but I’m happy 2022 had more to offer than the two horror years before, mainly because of the live events happening again.
I visited two ‘new’ festivals this year, as in new/first visits ever for me; Inferno Festival and Midgardsblot, both in Norway. Especially Midgardsblot; the viking camping, the shows of Heilung, Myrkur, and Zeal & Ardor were a big highlight for me!
Another highlight show this year was Misthyrming during the Eindhoven Metal Meeting. I’ve only seen them once before, which wasn’t exactly a good show, but they made up for that a 100% during EMM.
Rotting Christ their show in Willemeen Arnhem was great as well, partly because it was the first club show after a long period of absence for me, but also Rotting Christ never disappoints. I’ve seen them multiple times this year, probably the band I’ve seen most in 2022, and I’ll never get tired of them.
When it comes to releases I haven’t paid the attention I should, as usual, to all releases that came out this year. I stayed in my bubble of personal taste and didn’t expend that much out of it.
It’s easy to name a few personal highlights though.
- Heilung – Drif
My number one album of 2022 is definitely “Drif” from Heilung. I’ll confess that I really had to grow into the band and their music. I don’t jump easily on the hype train, but during the year 2022 they finally convinced me and I got to appreciate their authenticity. “Drif” is an album that can easily calm me down, bring me to ease and clear my mind in stressful times.
- Misþyrming – Með hamri
I had to wait until the very last to complete this yearlist, because Misþyrming released their third full lenght “Með hamri” during the second half of December. I was already blown away by the song “Engin Miskunn” that they played during Eindhoven Metal Meeting (one week before the release) and the album lived up to my expectations. Straightforward black metal, with a little more variation than their previous release “Algleymi”. It took me a few spins to appreciate it/get used to it, but by now I admire the craftmanship they put into it.
- Zeal & Ardor – Zeal & Ardor
Surprisingly high on my list is Zeal & Ardor with their self-titled release “Zeal & Ardor.” When the album was released at the beginning of the year, I wasn’t in the right mindset at all to appreciate it. The huge wall of sound they deliver with this album, and the style and tempo switches were a bit too much at that point. Even though I admired their craftmanship of song writing, it was a bit too overwhelming. But later on in the year I started listening to it more often and I think it’s fair to say that it’s their best release so far.
- Kveld – Sunnasritual
An album I listened a lot to this year and that got released in the first week of 2022 is: “Sunnasritual” by Kveld. It hasn’t much to do with metal, but then again, a lot of metal lovers, myself included, do have an appreciation for folk music. It is entirely impossible to find anything about the artist online besides the uploads on Bandcamp and Spotify, so all I can do is tell you to just search for them there and give it a listen.
- Ultha – All That Has Never Been True
Next on my list is “All That Has Never Been True” by Ultha. I highly appreciate the atmosphere the band creates with this album. In some way it is straightforward black metal, but they manage to put an extra layer (or should I say layers) in it that let your mind drift away to other spheres and even give the album a hint of being haunted.
- Gaerea – Mirage
I always find it hard to describe why I find Gaerea such a good band, because they simply just deliver and everything seems to be right and perfect cohesive. No bullshit guitar lines, straightforward drums with perfect aligned vocals, simply a delight to listen to! “Mirage” is once again proof of this, maybe even their best so far!
- Kampfar – Til Klover Takt
Kampfar has been my favourite band for many years of the past decade. By now they got a lot of competition in my top list of favourite bands, but they are still standing strong. Their latest release “Til Klover Takt” isn’t my favourite album of them since I’m turning into this grumpy old person that ‘likes the old stuff most’, but it is certainly worth a mention in this list since it nevertheless is a proper and decent album and not the least of their releases. I really like the fact that I hear more ‘rawness’ on it than on some of the previous releases.