That, my friends, was a fucking ride.
Honestly, where do I even begin in recapping the year that was? Of course, all the global issues I lamented about at the end of last year are only getting worse, with a few new additions to the pile just for fucking fun. So to quickly catch everyone up, that doomsday clock is most definitely still ticking! But let’s narrow the scope a bit and make this all about me. That’s what we’re all really here for, right?
I’ll repeat: 2022 was a fucking ride. Challenges existed in seemingly every aspect of life in 2022 — perpetually dumb family drama, a complete collapse of job security (a situation that seems to be resolving itself, thankfully), an unexpected and subsequently chaotic move from the ocean to the mountains that has now been in process for four consecutive months (an overall positive development, but a challenge nonetheless), and, of course, the fact that costs are continuing to greatly outpace wages so being alive has become a massive financial burden on my life. You read that right. Yet, at the same time, 2022 was one of my best years. I can finally say I live among the mountains, even if that dust is still far from settling. I ran the Berlin Marathon and followed it up with a few days in Munich and Oktoberfest, two major bucket list items checked off. I photographed some of my favorite bands (twice, in the case of The Ocean), and had the privilege of shooting The Metal Tour of the Year, by far the largest show I’ve been fortunate enough to cover. And then, of course, Wyoming. A week of backpacking and exploring Yellowstone, followed by the return of Fire In The Mountains in the Tetons (the greatest festival on Earth, and one I am proud to say I was able to photograph as well) was probably the greatest single adventure I’ve experienced as an adult. The entire trip was a dream come true. So, yes, 2022 had its ups and downs, but when I look back on the year that was, it will be hard to do so with a negative perspective. And now that I’ve highlighted the last year of my life in a few sentences, let’s talk metal!
This was, without a doubt, the toughest EOY list I’ve ever had to assemble. I changed the order of my favorite albums dozens and dozens of times over the past couple of months. The difference between my favorite album and, say, my fifth favorite album is razor thin, and any of them could have ended at the top of this list. It was a great year, but when all was said and done, there was one that captivated me just a little more than the rest. Let’s stop the rambling here and finally get into it…
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