2021 was a great year for metal music, with many bands having the first half of the year to do nothing but work on new music as countries continued to enforce nationwide lockdowns to stop the coronavirus spread. The abnormal amount of new music from bands who even released albums yesterday was highly enjoyable and made up for the lack of live shows. Here’s my top 10 albums of 2021:
10. Danko Jones – Power Trio
DANKO JONES is an icon in the Canadian hard rock music scene and their latest effort, Power Trio, proves that their a band with longevity. The core sound of DANKO JONES is straight up hard rock with sleazy lyrics and dirty riffs that would please any 80’s glam rock fan. While Power Trio doesn’t have the most imaginative songs, they’re certainly enjoyable and with things being the way they have since 2020, sometimes all you need is straight up hard rock is all you need.
9. Spiritbox – Eternal Blue
SPIRITBOX at one point were one of the most talked about bands in 2021 and with good reason. They released an incredible album rooted in metal core but experimented with lots of other sounds across the heavy metal spectrum. Eternal Blue is an album that you can listen to repeatedly and you’ll still notice new things. Perhaps the most iconic track of the record is Yellow Jacket, which blew up because it featured Sam Carter (of ARCHITECTS fame). Thankfully, this isn’t an album that rides of the back of its singles. Every song is well crafted with layers of synthetic music infused with metal core and post hardcore. If you’re looking for something different then Eternal Blue should be first on your bucket list.
8. The Pretty Reckless – Death By Rock and Roll
THE PRETTY RECKLESS have always been a big name in hard rock thanks to their lead vocalist, Taylor Momsen. Since the band’s inception no one has ever doubted Momsen and co’s song-writing skills, but in their latest offering Death By Rock And Roll, the band are on top form. The title track provided fans with a taste of the dirty riffs that they could expect from the grungy outlet, while Got So High starts to show the more emotive side to the band. Ultimately, it’s what you’d expect from the grunge inspired band at this point and that isn’t a bad thing. Sticking to their formula has helped them craft a timeless rock album.
Find THE PRETTY RECKLESS on Instagram.
7. Leaves’ Eyes – The Last Viking (Midsummer Edition)
LEAVES’ EYES have had a rocky road over the past few years but with last year’s release, The Last Viking, they showed that they were here to stay despite a significant change in their line-up. Sign of The Dragonhead was the first album to feature new vocalist, Elina Siirala, and was a strong effort but in The Last Viking, Siirala really comes into her own and blesses fans with stunning vocal performances. The Last Viking (Midsummer Edition) takes the magic on the first edition of the album one step further with a selection of whimsical instrumental editions of the album’s tracks. The album serves as the soundtrack for the Viking Spirit documentary which fans can access on YouTube and is highly recommended to fully immerse yourself in the Viking spirt.
6. Powerwolf – Call Of The Wild
POWERWOLF are one of the biggest names in power metal and this album needs no introduction. In Call Of The Wild the band have taken the classic power metal sound and gone one step further. Each track is power metal on steroids from Dance of The Dead to Undress to Confess, it’s all over the top power metal madness! Ultimately Call of the Wild takes a don’t fix what isn’t broken approach which is just how power metal should be.
Find POWERWOLF on Facebook.
5. Burning Point – Arsonist Of The Soul
BURNING POINT, Arsonist of The Soul was one of the first album’s I reviewed for Rock Out Stand Out and I still go back to listen to it even now. BURNING POINT have a unique sound that’s an interesting blend of hard rock and symphonic metal which makes for an epic listen! My favourite song must be Blast From The Past which has a classic galloping power metal riff running throughout it. If you’re into BLIND GUARDIAN and RHAPSODY OF FIRE, then you need to check these guys out.
4. Diamante – American Dream
DIAMANTE has been one of the strongest vocalist’s in hard rock and heavy metal for the past few years and her vocal range really shines in her latest album, American Dream. She’s also an incredible song writer with an ability to tell stories through her lyrics and cinematic music style. The production of the album has a lot to do with this as it’s cranked up to 11, allowing you to hear every layer of melody.
Find DIAMANTE on Instagram.
3. Gojira – Fortitude
French metal act GOJIRA have been making amazing albums since 2003, but their latest release, Fortitude is truly a landmark in their back catalogue. Like a lot of the albums on this list, Fortitude is driven by melody with an underlying heaviness. Some of the strongest tracks like Another World, Amazonia, and The Chant, all follow this formula, and it really works. As usual GOJIRA have gone full PINK FLOYLD and presented fans with, yet another strong concept album rooted in self growth while also still exploring themes of global warming. Fundamentally, Fortitude is a clever album with beautifully written riffs and haunting vocals and I’m confident it will remain a fan favourite for years to come.
2. Emigrate – The Persistence of Memory
I’ve already talked about this album twice in my original review and another time for ROSO’S album of the month last month, so I’ll keep this one short. Richard Z Kruspe, the mastermind behind EMIGRATE, has really shown his creative ability with The Persistence of Memory. While the last few EMIGRATE albums felt safe, EMIGRATE have brought in several musical influences from outside of the rock and metal world which makes The Persistence of Memory one of the most interesting listens of 2021.
NUMBER ONE: Trivium – In The Court Of The Dragon
TRIVIUM have always been a band with a lot of hope but their first album, Ascendency, wasn’t the strongest and doesn’t hold up so well. In The Court of The Dragon, however, shows TRIVIUM on top form, with solid tracks like No Way Back Just Through to Feast of Fire showing that they’re able to blend addictive melodies with the groove-laden chug you would expect form a modern metal band.
The title song is arguably the best track on the record with a spine-tingling main riff and an epic chorus which really does transport you to the court of the dragon. Overall, TRIVIUM have really delivered here and proven themselves worthy of being more than just an academy band. With their last few releases, they should be headlining arenas any time soon.