Best of 2021: Angela’s List

Best of 2021

2021 was…. a bit much.  We will take each day at a time cautiously in 2022 and try not to spook it.  While 2021 brought a hefty amount of unpredictability and chaos, some wonderful things were forged in the turmoil.  This was a really great year for music, and I have many albums that I want to shout about from the rooftop, but I am keeping it concise and calling out my Nine Circles nine (we love a good theme).  Once again, I am one of the last of the bunch of wonderful writers here to post my year end list as my indecisiveness and overthinking ruined the party again.  However, I did participate in the group list (though my albums have shifted a bit…) and also the Best of 2021 Audio Thing (which was a blast).

Here are my top nine personal favorites as well as a list of honorable mentions and non-metal albums that brought me some joy this past year.

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Album Review:  Monolord — “Your Time to Shine”

Monolord - Your Time To Shine

Masters of riffs and doomy goodness, Monolord have emerged from the smoke after two years with their latest full-length release Your Time to Shine.  This is most certainly a Monolord album, however, there is some fine-tuning and added finesse making it a unique addition to the band’s discography.  It may even be the best album by the Swedish trio to date.  This dynamic album has everything fans love about Monolord—amazing riffs, sludge distortion, hypnotic doom metal vocals—with added dramatics and wrapped in a crisp production.  Your Time to Shine was created with “liters of coffee, cinnamon buns, and good bad jokes” which can be felt in these five tracks.  Who knew that was the perfect formula for creating stellar doom metal?

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Album Review:  DROTT — “Orcus”

Ready for something different, otherworldly, fresh and new?  Let me tell you about DROTT and this three-man band’s first full length release Orcus.  The band hails from Bergen in the west coast of Norway and is inspired by nature, superstition, and spirituality.  The album title is after Orcus, god of the underworld, punisher of broken oaths.  While this namesake brings dark themes and undertones, the feel of the album is not as heavy as one might think.  Musical style influences include metal, progressive rock, jazz, folk, classical and each influence can be detected throughout these compositions.  This makes it hard to classify the release, but I think part of the beauty of the album is that it does not NEED to be classified since it does not fit perfectly into any box and brings a little something for everyone.

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Album Review: Wolves in the Throne Room — “Primordial Arcana”

Wolves in the Throne Room - Primordial Arcana

The essence of the landscape of the Pacific Northwest has always been one that is deeply romantic, in the traditional sense.  Intense emotions and deep wonder often leave one changed after visiting those wilds, and that is exactly why we fell in love with both the place and the musical scene that emerged from the area.  We adore the folky, atmospheric and entrancing black metal of Cascadia, and fortunately the masters of the style are back with another choice offering.  Grab your cleansing herbs and bottle of red wine, it is time to ready the stage for Wolves in the Throne Room and their latest release Primordial Arcana

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