Heavy Metal in 2022 was packed with incredible albums and so many incredible gigs, including some big surprises, but here are some of my highlights, featuring Rammstein, Ghost, Metallica, Hellfest, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Dio: Dreamers Never Die.
Gigs of the year
Metallica at Hellfest.
The masters continue to be at the very peak of their game and are still a shining example for every other band. The same can be said for fellow Hellfest headliners Nine Inch Nails, who played an absolutely stunning gig in the pouring rain.
Seeing Papa Emeritus IV and his ghouls at London’s O2 Arena and Hellfest, I have to say that their shows are the most enjoyable and fun gigs you can see.
Finally, I got to see a few legends on their farewell tours, including Roxy Music, Genesis and Peter Frampton. Finally, seeing the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park was a lifelong ambition as a music lover that finally came true in 2022.
Top three albums of the year
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Unlimited Love
The return of John Frusciante to the Chilis was a minor miracle in itself. But what the runited band has produced with Unlimited Love is not only brilliant, but simply the best thing the band has done in over 20 years.
From the opening of Black Summer, the magic is there in every note. The upbeat, beat-box funk rock of Here Ever After, the beautiful bass heavy The Great Apes and the soft Bastards Of Light are highlights, but there are no dull tracks or filler here. With the familiar hand of Rick Rubin back behind the desk, the production is as warm and intoxicating as one could ever hope for.
An absolutely monumental achievement from a band that still has everything to give. It’s my album of the year and a truly superb album that sits alongside their best efforts.
Ghost – Impera
While it was hard to make a short-list of new releases that impressed this year, there are a handful that really stood out as modern classics.
Ghost had been teasing their fifth album since 2020 but that still didn’t prepare fans for Impera. A perfect marriage of skyscraper riffs and choruses so addictive you have to keep rewinding, Ghost have produced their masterpiece with Impera
Whether it’s the grandiose Respite On The Spitalfields or the ludicrously catchy hard rocker Griftwood, having been lucky enough to catch Ghost touring in support of Impera, the band manages to recreate that magic on stage too. A perfect album from the most exciting band in Metal – long may they haunt.
Rammstein – Zeit
The German heavyweights returned with what many have been touting as their farewell. A fantastic album with heavy and upbeat numbers like Zick Zack and the brilliantly tongue-in-cheek Dicke Titten. However, Zeit also has a real sense of melancholy and songs like Schwarz or the title track carry a weight far above your average Metal album.
While Rammstein’s music may always remain a divisive one, and one suspects they would have it no other way, there’s no denying Zeit is a work of art that cannot be ignored.
My MetalTalk highlights of the year
2022 was such a jam-packed and amazing year that it’s really difficult to choose, but interviewing the father of Heavy Metal, Tony Iommi was one I will never forget. With the help of my dear editor and partner, Steve Ritchie, we spoke to the Black Sabbath legend on the Dio: Dreamers Never Die documentary red carpet premiere in London.
Covering their special 15th anniversary, the double weekend extravaganza of Hellfest was another highlight.
My hopes for 2023
I hope that 2023 will be just as amazing as 2022, and with the tours like Metallica’s and Guns N’ Roses already booked, I have no doubt it will be.
I am hoping to travel more and see more gigs abroad, and I also hope to play more guitar and (hopefully!) improve. Watch this space and keep it MetalTalk.