A Grande Finale…
…for our 2021 album reviews! That’s right! This is the last regular show for this year. We go out with a (head)bang too, featuring some heavy hitters who made late releases. So get listening, share your thoughts with us, then gear up for our regular year-end festivities.
Also, as much as we hate to admit it, Christmas is coming. You will probably be doing some shopping on Amazon. So do us a solid and go to Amazon by clicking any album art on our website so we can get the help to keep all this up and running. And whatever we have left, we will give to Crew Nation!
Obscura – A Valediction (Nuclear Blast)
Converge & Chelsea Wolfe– Bloodmoon: I (Epitaph)
Khemmis – Deceiver (Nuclear Blast)
I feel like I could write volumes about 2021, but without further ado here are my albums of the year:
1. Archspire – Bleed The Future
Before this album was released, there was no clear cut front runner for album of the year. Then Bleed The Future was released and removed all doubt. Where do I begin the superlatives? Unbelievably incredible vocals? “Drone Corpse Aviator” being one of the catchiest tech death songs ever? Might this be the best tech death album of all time?
2. Thy Catafalque – Vadak
Classified as “avant garde” on the Metal Archives, but is really a whole mix of things that appeal to me, including a lot of progressive aspects mixed with folk/black metal and some tasteful electronics that make for a unique and special album.
3. Ophidian I – Desolate
You want catchy, groovy, tech death? Look no further than Ophidian I.
4. Vola – Witness
Djenty, progressive goodness that sometimes leans on the lighter side of metal, with the song “Straight Lines” having the catchiest chorus of the year.
5. Rivers of Nihil – The Work
Not knowing how Rivers of Nihil would follow up their previous effort, Where Owls Know My Name, they chose the kitchen sink approach and for me, it “works” (I seriously didn’t realize the pun until I wrote it down).
6. First Fragment – Gloire Éternelle
Where Archspire is short, sweet, and right to the point, First Fragment is bloated tech death excess at its finest. 71 minutes of guitars, guitars, and more guitars doing everything you can think of that tech death guitars can do.
7. Kauan – Ice Fleet
Some albums just hit you at the right place at the right time. In late winter/early spring, I was reading a book called The Terror about a 19th Century sea voyage in which ships get frozen in ice. At the same time, Kauan released their post-rock/metal album Ice Fleet about a 19th Century sea voyage in which ships get frozen in ice.
8. Gojira – Fortitude
I cann’t help comparing Gojira’s career to Mastodon’s, and Fortitude shows what Mastodon should have done in 2021: take your best collection of songs and release a 50 minute album instead of releasing an 86 minute album of everything you’ve got.
9. Paranorm – Empyrean
Take the best riffs from trash, old school death metal, black metal, and classic metal and throw them all together in one album. That’s what Paranorm did on Empyrean and it worked wonders.
10. Nightshadow – Strike Them Dead
The debut album from this power metal band leans heavily on the traditional metal influences to make some incredibly fun and catchy songs to get your fists pumping.