The anti-summary of 2022

When I wrote my first anti-summary last year, I hoped 2022 would be better than 2021. I think we all had hoped for that. But after hell broke loose in Ukraine, I found myself in the abysmal vortex again. The profound effect of Russian aggression on our everyday lives changed the game again. But amidst that suffering and sorrow that has become part of everyday life in Ukraine, life had to prevail. And so another tough year has passed (third in a row), and it calls for a summary. This one will be a little different than the last year’s. This time I will focus more on myself. I hate to read all those pseudo-objectified summaries delivered by self-proclaimed taste-makers. My article will be subjective as much as possible. To prove that, I will start with a little recap of my activity in 2022.

I had big plans for 2022. Most of them went to shit when the first bombs hit Kyiv. The war caught me while recording Nocturnal Avenue, the follow-up to my 2021 record Vertigo. I couldn’t focus on writing the album and paused for a month or so, spending almost every morning reading about the war. When I came to my senses, I wrote Mariupol, a homage to the defenders of the city brought to naught by Russians. I also finished writing Nocturnal Avenue and released it on November 18. I performed live as Moloch playing my tracks dating back to 2008. I also resurrected my old dungeon synth music project. I also finished the fourth Zorormr album that’s still waiting to be released. But I wasn’t able to do much more. Lesson learned? Don’t make plans. Just keep calm, and carry on. No matter how silly it sounds. It’s what kept me going this year.

Apart from all-time lows, I married my love Diana, and Via Nocturna had a nice run in 2022. You can read more about it here. One of the high notes of 2022 was seeing Mercyful Fate live in Gdańsk for the first time. But I guess you came here not to read about me but about music. If so, then brace yourself. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I’ve been following the evolution of In Twilight’s Embrace since their 2015 output The Grim Muse. They’ve never been exactly my cup of tea, but their latest album, Lifeblood, caught me by surprise. The band’s new black metal sound and Cyprian’s charismatic vocals hit the right notes and made this record one of my favs of 2022.

Krüller, the brainchild of Author & Punisher‘s Tristan Shone is one of those “certified fresh” records of 2022. The genuine sound and honest songwriting combined with the fancy way to synthesize it all is something that made me hit that repeat button many times. This album proves that electronic music can be heavy, like metal.

Gnome‘s King was the album that surprised me the most this year. It’s punchy and funny and yet stays true to its stoner doom roots. Solid songwriting and heavy made me listen to this record many times this year. And the lyrics are hilarious. If you are a fantasy fan you should dig this record from the start.

Speaking of funny things, though Zeit is a serious record I can’t say that Rammstein is too serious about themselves. Their latest output (is it their last ever?) doesn’t have the impact of the previous record but still delivers what those Germans are best at: quality industrial metal with a ton of memorable riffs.

Frayle is a relatively new band, but Gwyn, Sean, and the rest of the squad have already made a name for themselves. Their second album, Skin & Sorrow, only confirms their capability of engaging the listener in their witchy doom music. For me, it’s one of the most interesting new doom acts out there.

Ukraine’s own White Ward has released their third album False Light this year. It’s not only their best to date but also one of those post-black metal records that we will remember for a long time. Excellent musicianship and imagination put together into a record that must be appreciated.

Next up, we have the American duo Boy Harsher with their soundtrack to The Runner. Their hit single Machina featuring Mariana Saldaña (from BOAN) was one of the favorites (with Diana) this year. Energetic and soothing, the perfect escape from the struggles of everyday life in this cursed year of 2022.

When Plague God came out, I was stunned. Absent in Body‘s record was dark, damp, and aggressive. Slow riffs, low growls, high-quality production, and stunning visuals made this debut album something I couldn’t resist playing on repeat this year. Something fresh while rotten to the core.

Oh, Lord! Hath‘s second album, All That Was Promised, is probably the heaviest and most aggressive stuff I listened to this year. Crushing guitar work, thunderous drums, and stunning vocals. All done with that ease only Americans have while playing death metal. I think it’s my ex aequo number one this year.

Finally, the album I played the most this year was Lustmord‘s The Others. It’s a compilation of covers and remixes by independent scene’s greats like Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Jay Jayle, Mono, and so on. All paying homage to the godfather of dark ambient. In their distinct style. The 16 tracks (2 hours of music) sound like one enormous musical piece. You can’t get anything better than this.

Overall, 2022 was a bad year. I would gladly forget about it. What I learned is that I hope for nothing. And I don’t care about what happens in 2023. I will make the best of it. No plans, no expectations. Maybe that’s not such a bad idea after all.

Fabian Filiks
Opole, 31.12.2022

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