BravePicks 2022 - The Scribes Speak! Sephora Henderson

January 9, 2023, 2 months ago

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BravePicks 2022 - The Scribes Speak! Sephora Henderson

BravePicks 2022 - The Scribes Speak!
Sephora Henderson

Top 20 Of 2022
1) BLOODBATH - Survival Of The Sickest (Napalm)
2) WATAIN - The Agony & Ecstasy of Watain (Nuclear Blast)
3) CANDLEMASS - Sweet Evil Sun (Napalm)
4) AMORPHIS - Halo (Atomic Fire)
5) KRISIUN - Mortem Solis (Century Media)
6) NORDJEVEL - Gnavhòl (Indie)
7) DESTRUCTION - Diabolical (Napalm)
8) VENOM INC. - There’s Only Black (Nuclear Blast)
9) WITCHERY - Nightside (Century Media)
10) DARKTHRONE - Astral Fortress (Peaceville)
11) IBARAKI - Rashomon (Nuclear Blast)
12) KREATOR - Hate Über Alles (Nuclear Blast)
13) IMMOLATION - Acts Of God (Nuclear Blast)
14) VOIVOD - Syncro Anarchy (Century Media)
15) AMON AMARTH - The Great Heathen Army (Metal Blade)
16) WOLF - Shadowland (Century Media)
17) DECAPITATED - Cancer Culture (Nuclear Blast)
18) ALLEGAEON - Damnum (Metal Blade)
19) FALLUJAH - Empyrean (Nuclear Blast)
20) GOATWHORE - Angels Hung From The Arches Of Heaven (Metal Blade)

Top 5 Concerts

METALLICA - Hard Rock Live, Seminole FL. 
Can you believe this girl has NEVER seen Metallica live prior? As one of my friends put it, by attending this once-in-a-lifetime performance, I have effectively raised the bar so high that I will never be able to see one of their shows in future without comparing to to this one. Probably true. But hey, go big or go home, right? To say this concert was impressive would be an understatement. The band was clearly having the time of their lives, and the fact that it was a tribute to the Zazulas (May they rest) made it such a special moment. Memories mixed with images and songs and the deafening, die-hard appreciation of fans singing at the top of our collective lungs made for a truly electrifying evening. 

BENEDICTION - Summer Breeze Festival, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria.
Another band I have never seen live until now, and I was blown away by their set. I watched many bands over the course of the fest, and this one was a favourite. My neck hurt like hell later, but it was so worth it! Dave Ingram is an absolute beast.   

THE CULT - Casino Rama, Orillia, Ontario
Ian Astbury was on fire. I've seen this band many times over the years, including the Love Album live at Massey Hall, a performance I never thought they could out-do. He sounds amazing, and his energy is infectious. He never stops moving and dancing. The set was long and full of favourites, and for a long-time fan it was a dream of a set list. And I have to say, Billy Duffy still plays the biggest guitar I've ever seen.  

DESTRUCTION - Lee's Palace, Toronto, Ontario
Those opening notes to Curse The Gods made me lose my mind. I wanted to run straight for the pit! This was the first live show we were able to attend after things finally opened up again in the city - the first one without all the distancing and mask rules, and it felt amazing. 

HYPOCRISY - Lee's Palace, Toronto, Ontario
Summer Breeze Festival, Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, DE. 
How lucky am I that I got to see one of my favourite bands twice in one year, and in two countries? I also got to hear my favourite song in each set (“Fractured Millennium”). Peter Tägtgren is an unstoppable creative force. Like the name of their latest album release, I absolutely Worship this band. 

Top 5 Brave Embarrassments

MEGADETH - The Sick, The Dying...And The Dead! (Universal)
The guitar riffs are haunting and beautiful, but then the lyrics kick in. I'd enjoy this album if all of the vocals disappeared (maybe except for Sammy).

XCIII - Void (My Kingdom Music)
At least the name of the album makes sense - the perfect description for something so utterly boring. Trying way too hard to be avant garde. 

NASSON - Scars (Frontiers)
Just add boy-band sounding vocals and a splash of heavy-ish music. Stir in some soft melodies and heaping amounts of programmed effects. The result will be nothing short of mysterious. I mean, I don't know what's going on here. I do know I don't like it.

UDO DIRKSCHNEIDER - My Way (Atomic Fire)
No way! This was painful. An eclectic mix of cover songs with so many different vocal styles in the originals, and Udo manages to butcher all of them.

DEF LEPPARD - Diamond Star Halos (Mercury)
A safe, standard, radio-friendly sounding set of songs, with some nice cover art. The fire and edge is missing.   

Thoughts On 2022

Relief. That sums up all of my feelings in one word. After the nightmare conditions of the pandemic, which divided people in ways I never imagined, to have things open up again made me feel like I could breathe again. All of the people who make their living in the music industry were deeply affected, and it was heartbreaking to think about what they were going through and about the possibility that it could spell ruin for many. I was also amazed by the countless musicians who didn't let these conditions dim their spirit or stop them from creating, and once touring was a possibility again, the floodgates opened. There was no shortage of albums and live experiences, and I was happy to drown in it.

We inevitably lose people as time marches on, and this year losing the Zazulas was one of those great losses. Sometimes our heroes face adversity and manage to pull through and come back stronger than ever - I'm looking at you, Tom Hunting. I got to see Exodus live twice this year, what an absolute feast. May the beatings continue.

I was also lucky to leave the continent and attend the Summer Breeze Festival in Dinkelsbühl, Bavaria, and see a number of amazing bands (two of them are in my top concerts section). Standing in a crowd of tens of thousands of people, singing along to the same lyrics, banging our heads to the same beats, it is a feeling I wish I could capture in a bottle and drink it all day, every day. I got to watch Paradise Lost from the stage (thanks Mark!), and got to catch Arch Enemy, Dark Funeral, Testament, Amorphis, Combichrist, and more. Prost, Vielen Dank und Auf wiedersehen!  

And we were singing “O Canada” throughout the year with some truly unforgettable live shows from Anvil, Exciter, Voivod, Streetheart, and Coney Hatch.  

What/Who Needs To Stop In 2023

Drinking from the same old well. 
Everyone has their favourites, and that will never (and should never) change - but there is also a lot of great music that people haven't discovered yet because they keep going back to the same well. Stretch your musical limbs a little, and give something new a try. If you have a favourite album or artist, listen to their other albums and projects. Give those opening bands a listen and your support, too.  

Insane ticket prices.
This needs to stop!  I know people are making up for lost time, but some of the extravagant prices I've seen make it inaccessible for a lot of fans to experience their icons live. There are albums to buy, cool merch to collect, four thousand colours of vinyl to choose from, and fans do a lot to try and show their support by acquiring as much of it as they can. Setting unattainable ticket prices is just soulless. Fans come in all income brackets. 

This is annoying in any sphere, and the metal community is no exception. There is room for everyone.  

Metal Predictions For 2023
2022 was a year when our desperate hunger was finally fed, and in 2023 bands will continue to feed and fuel us. The fire that has been smouldering got stoked again, and this year will burn more fiercely than ever. Lots of music made during 2022 had post-apocalyptic themes given the state of things, and I think that will continue for some time to come. Everyone is taking a good hard look in the mirror and realizing that the time to do anything meaningful, daring, bold, epic, is NOW. There is an urgency to everything, and I think that will come blasting through in some of the heaviest and hardest moments we have seen in some time. We've been subjected to a long period of extreme political correctness, with people afraid to say what is on their mind, or speak their truth either for fear of reprisal or hurting someone's delicate sensibilities. Sorry snowflakes, but get ready for some heat - the pendulum is swinging the other way, and people are tired of walking on eggshells. Get ready for the mosh pit that will be 2023.    

Read our BravePicks 2022 countdown where Bloodbath’s Survival Of The Sickest reigned supreme at #1 here.

More Scribes Speak 2022:

Aaron Small
Greg Pratt
Mark Gromen
Carl Begai
Nick Balazs
James Garvin
Rich Catino

Featured Audio

OVERKILL – “The Surgeon” (Nuclear Blast)

OVERKILL – “The Surgeon” (Nuclear Blast)

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