In the shuffle of breaking for the holiday, wrapping up the calendar year and compiling comprehensive best of lists, the reality about the month of December is that it often gets lost in the process. Between travel plans, holiday shopping and bustle of season, the media that is released throughout the month never really gets the kind of shine it deserves.
To better highlight some of the gems that landed last month and finished out 2022 strong, our editorial staff compiled their picks of music, art, film, television and more to ensure that some of what was missed gets the focus it deserves.
Check the Knotfest editorial picks from our team of contributors below.
BLOODCLOT - SOULS
All the fire and fury you would expect from an Upstate Records release, Bloodclot's "Souls" will have you smashing shit all throughout the new year. Hardcore, punk and thrash fuse together for one hell of a wild ride. Maybe remove your breakables from the room before playing.
GET THE ALBUM - HERE
CHECK THE KNOTFEST PREMIERE OF 'WAR CASTLES" FROM BLOODCLOT - HERE
THE PAINTINGS OF DHOMTH
Dhomth is an artist based out of Slovakia. Her haunting, surreal style immediately captured my attention. Her eldritch artwork is either the stuff of nightmares or biblically accurate angels. Her work was featured on the cover of Esoctrilihum's album Dy'th Requiem For The Serpent Telepath and she is one to watch for more badass album covers.
SEE THE ART NOF DHOMTH - HERE
WILLOW - SEASON ONE
The new Willow series on Disney+ takes place decades after the events of the 1988 film. Willow is now a honed wizard and must assist a new young group of heroes. The fantasy series is a great transition from the sci-fi and super hero shows we’ve been getting from Disney lately.
GUILLERMO DEL TORO's PINOCCHIO
Del Toro’s version of Pinocchio takes place in Italy as the country falls into Fascism. In true Del Toro fashion, the film is pretty dark. The movie was created using stop motion and stars Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Finn Wolfhard and Christoph Waltz. Whether you’re a fan of the characters or Del Toro like I am, you’re definitely going to love this reinvention of the classic story.
Misþyrming - Með hamri
This year's far too late to get onto any end of year lists highlight comes from Misþyrming, the black metal band who have long seemed like the head of the battering ram when it comes to the closely-knit Icelandic scene that produced an array of exciting artists during the last decade. Theirs is a sound that has shown itself to be impressively dexterous for a fairly orthodox black metal act, and yet highly recognisable. 2019's Algleymi felt like the point where that scene produced its next milestone, and yet on pressing play on Með hamri the stunning epic sense of melody that characterised that record is startlingly torched with a flamethrower. Með hamri is a violent, impassioned record, and with their name-checking of Manowar in recent interviews, they are an extreme metal band in which you can tell the empowering fist-raising spirit of heavy metal runs through and has made them an even more captivating act.
GET THE ALBUM Með hamri - HERE
BBC GHOST STORIES FOR CHRISTMAS
The art of the television ghost story broadcast on one of the coldest, potentially eeriest nights of the year is one that's given well overdue attention on this new release, salvaging some of the creepiest pieces of TV horror ever from obscurity and once again allowing their deathly chill to take hold. The BBC adaptations of the stories of legendary Edwardian ghost story writer M.R. James terrified British audiences during the 1970s, and the idea of content like this being showed over Christmas now feels like an insane quirk of a bygone era. Lost Hearts, A Warning to the Curious, and particularly the 1968 Whistle and I'll Come to You that paved the way for the series are utterly haunting pieces of work that turn their modest budgets and short runtimes into vice grips of nightmare imagery still tight half a century on, and for ghost story fans who have never heard of these due to their obscure British TV status, this release is a treasure trove of spectral glory.
THE RETURN OF PANTERA
My cultural moment in December is definitely the Pantera shows in South America. It felt very 2022 to be poring over cellphone footage of the first show from another continent and seeing if it lived up to the hype. I think it's taken people aback how good they sound. Have to single out Charlie Benante crushing it behind the kit.
Slipping out on Netflix on 30 December just before the year ends, I'm looking forward to the film of Don DeLillo's WHITE NOISE directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Adam Driver. COSMOPOLIS was a disappointing adaptation so I hope this fares better.
AMON AMARTH STORM THE FORUM
When the lords of Viking metal announced their Great Heathen Army Tour last year, the routing was punctuated with a finale that proved interesting.
The Kia Forum.
For those even vaguely familiar, The Forum is among one of the country's most storied venues - synonymous with historic shows and sporting events. The house that Magic and the Showtime Lakers built, the stage that hosted the likes of Prince, The Rolling Stones, Guns N Roses, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Depche Mode and David Bowie was now set to have their very first death metal headliner complete with the band's full European production.
Pyro, a full onstage viking ship, frontman Johnn Hegg wielding a mammoth sledgehammer and thousands of denim-clad heathens putting their back into the oar on same floor where Slayer played their last show ever in 2019 was truly a sight to behold. A true testament to the kind of year Amon Amarth had overall, the set was reiterated the band's enduring artistry and uncompromising approach to leaving everything onstage.
LAST FLIGHT HOME
Sundance award-winning director Ondi Timoner's incredibly intimate, often times emotionally intense portrayal of her father Eli Timoner and his decision to end his life via the California End of Life Option Act is a the kind of film that resonates a fundamentally human level. The story details the family patriarch who founded budget-friendly Air Florida in the 1970's and dedicated his life to balancing being a scrappy businessman, a selfless philanthropist and a earnest father and husband. At 53, Eli suffered a massive stroke which changed the trajectory of his life.
The film does an incredible job of conveying the humanity of such a finite decision. Treating the grief of saying goodbye to someone so essential can run afoul of being exploitive, yet Ondi's does a remarkable job of treating the story with a sense of reverence. This is an emotionally heavy film that taps into full spectrum of grief with grace.