Hello loyal readers and welcome! It is that time of the year again where we look back on what came before and look ahead to what we may expect. In 2022 we slowly left the pandemic behind us and finally ventured outside again and into concert halls, which means our list of favourite gigs can finally make a return. Of course, there was more than enough time throughout the year to check out new releases and share our thoughts about those as well, and as eclectic a blog as we try to be, there is bound to be something below that you like as well. Maybe you’ve missed something along the road, maybe there’s something you’ve been meaning to check out but haven’t come around to yet? Time then to check out our lists, let’s go.
Ralph’s 2022 list of mostly mean and heavy sounding stuff
For me, 2022 was mostly about things getting back to normal after two years of lockdowns and an emotionally rubbish rollercoaster that was 2021. It was great to finally experience live music again and just being able to head out and do stuff again. When it comes to new releases, there also was a lot to enjoy, which made it all the more difficult to distil the plethora of albums I’ve been enjoying down to just ten. Having said that, here’s a list of things I’ve liked more than other things this year:
10. Sakis Tolis – Among the Fires of Hell (SftDS Review)
9. Battle Beast – Circus of Doom (SftDS Review)
8. Wolf – Shadowland (SftDS Review)
7. Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel in Time (SftDS Review)
6. Sigh – Shiki (SftDS Review)
5. Visions of Atlantis – Pirates (SftDS Review)
4. Avantasia – A Paranormal Evening with the Moonflower Society
3. Sylvaine – Nova (SftDS Review)
Sylvaine‘s particular brand of black metal, ambient and shoegaze made for a pleasant surprise back in April. I marked it as a definite contender for my album of the year and whilst it didn’t quite make it, it’s pretty damned close.
2. Avatarium – Death Where Is Your Sting (SftDS Review)
The Swedes of Avatarium never disappoint, and their new opus is once again a mix of big, doomy riffs, dreamlike melodies and some quiet intimacy thrown in between. A wonderful collection of songs from a band that keeps getting better.
1. Stratovarius – Survive (SftDS Review)
If you had told me Stratovarius would spearhead this list I would have laughed straight in your face. Amazingly enough, Survive unexpectedly managed to make it to the top due to its top-class musicianship, larger than life melodies and absolutely engrossing songwriting. There’s some next-level power metal right here and the top spot is well, well deserved.
Best concerts of 2022:
- Midnight Oil – TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, 2-7-2022
- Steve Hackett, TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht, 7-3-2022 (SftDS Review)
- Deep Purple – Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam, 10-10-2022 (SftDS Review)
Anticipated for 2023:
- Uriah Heep – Chaos & Colour (Expected 27-1-2023)
- Lovebites – Judgment Day (Expected 22-2-2023)
- Jag Panzer – The Hallowed (Expected 2023)
Wander’s 2022 list of semi-intriguing sounds to do some hill running by
Indeed, in a manner of speaking I have been running up that hill in 2022. Luckily between the many busy and special moments I heard some great music. As an autodidact I can’t help browsing around so you will be bound to find something to your liking on this list. My tri-level podium consists of a exorbitantly noisy escapade, some complex heavy jazz-rock, and some intriguing slowcore. Obviously I also didn’t have enough time to throw shit at Harry Styles or visit a lot of other gigs. Luckily I am still able to duly note a couple of performances that impressed me. Check them out below. Now that’s enough chit-chat it’s time to hand in the final results:
10. Mary Halvorson – Amaryllis/Belladonna
9. Horse Lords – Comradely Objects (SftDS Review)
8. Messa – Close (SftDS Review)
7. Kevin Morby – This Is A Photograph (SftDS Review)
6. Motorpsycho – Ancient Astronauts (SftDS Review)
5. Raum – Daughter
4. Caroline – Caroline (SftDS Review)
3. Gilla Band – Most Normal (SftDS Review)
Kiely et al make an art of destroying almost every pop song structure there is. Their third full album offers more deconstruction, more racket and above all: more anger. Not recommended for the faint-hearted.
2. Hedvig Mollestad & TJO – Maternity Beat (SftDS Review)
A conceptually and musically complex work that will appeal to jazz cats and headbangers alike. Mollestad, this time backed by the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, outdid herself once again!
1. Duster – Together (SftDS Review)
Duster’s second comeback album is an exceptional batch of work. Together’s fundamentals are built from slowcore riffs that scratch other genres like space rock, shoegaze and grunge. Just sit back, relax and, ugh…, sink your teeth into the dark experiences of someone else.
Best concerts of 2022:
- GNOD – Le Guess Who? TivoliVredenburg – Utrecht, 13-11-2022
- Abdullah Ibrahim – Le Guess Who? TivoliVredenburg – Utrecht, 13-11-2022
- Marcus King – North Sea Jazz. Ahoy, Rotterdam, 8-7-2022
Anticipated for 2023:
- Swans – Is There Really a Mind? (Expected early 2023)
- Yo La Tengo – This Stupid World (Expected 10-2-2023)
- Big Brave – Nature Morte (Expected 24-2-2023)
So there you have it, twenty things you might want to check out if you haven’t already. Now it’s time to retreat back to the ongoing holiday festivities that we managed to sneak out of for a bit, and wish you happy holidays and all the best for the coming year. Be sure to stop by now and again and see what we’re up to in 2023 and don’t forget to check out our Instagram once in a while. Cheers!
RP & WRM – 251222