We’re going to keep the intro brief on this one. Year after year I struggle to find the words to open this post, where I ostensibly count down my favorite 25 metal albums of the year. Typically the first thing I do is check out the previous year’s entry…read and see if the themes are still relevant, if there’s anything I want to refine or emphasize for the current year. And for the first time, I didn’t find anything worth changing. Yes…I may have finally nailed it with my 2021 Best Of introduction.
By now you’ve (hopefully) read my post talking about nine albums that didn’t make my but could have, and my 15 Honorable Mentions and how the very concept of an honorable mention seems to contradict itself when the music is so good. I would usually say that was all prelude to this, but that’s a lie. You know, and now I do as well. In the end, all we can do is recount the things we love, and hope it inspires something in you.
So if you will, a request: go back and read that intro to 2021. And then check out the albums listed below for this year. Don’t worry about rankings, don’t worry about omissions. Just check out the music, and let it hopefully inspire something in you.
Sometimes too much time can go by, and you forget just how damn good something is until you finally get that taste again. Sometimes it’s just the freshness of something you haven’t consumed in forever, and maybe after a few indulgences the flavor begins to fade. Conversely, sometimes it’s Alive, the long awaited sophomore album from Atlanta’s Dead Register and I want to go back to their debut to see if it was as good as I remember but I can’t because that would mean I have to stop listening to this album, and that is not something I’m willing to commit to.
Full transparency here; this is the week I’ve been waiting quite a while for and in extremely large part due to the top four on this here new release list. I’ve been saying we’ve had a plethora of great releases, but this week you can take that to the bank. Period. Let’s do it…Moon Tooth hit very high on my EOY list with Crux and I’m calling it now with Phototroph, they’ll do it again—the sheer energy, inventiveness, and enthusiasm for music this band has is unmatched, which leads perfectly into Alive from doomgaze-post-metallers Dead Register which is another band that truly loves what they do and it shows as this album is an absolute triumph, then we’ve got the heaviest doom band on the planet, Primitive Man, with Insurmountable and even in EP format they crush it, and speaking of crushing it, brutal death metal giants Mutilatred do just that on Determined To Rot (seriously), AND THEN there’s a very long list of other albums worthy of your time and bucks. So, get to it folks…tons to dig into here.
Another day, another dollar, another death…I just came back from a wake, poured myself a whiskey and left the bottle nearby even though I know it’s going to kill my numbers tomorrow (hello diabetes my old friend) and turned the music up. In other words I’m feeling the crush of life a little more than usual tonight, and that means the music needs to be loud. Loud and unapologetic in its intent. So whether that’s some classic Venom to kick off the 223rd edition of the Nine Circles Playlist or new music from blackened trad metal powerhouse Nite which I’ve been playing nonstop the last few weeks, it’s going to have to work overtime to get the job done.
As always there’s a lot more on deck to satisfy all metal cravings. Anton once again gets the early ticket with tracks from Defect Designer, Au-Dessus, and Sum of R. Josh comes in hot with what has become one of my most anticipated albums of the year in the form of the new Cave In, but he follows it up with some equally devastating music in the form of new music from Dead Register (back after far too long), Wormrot (JFC!) and a banging classic from The Red Chord. Leave it to Vincent to brings things to a darker, warmer place as he spins some Midwife, Ulver (you can never have too much Ulver), Orville Peck, and a double dose of Alexisonfire. Angela gets on a roll this week with a ton of new music, including Darkher, Konvent, Corpsegrinder, Holy Fawn and a little something from Jonathan Hultén. And finally Buke races in with some killer picks. He’s got Carpenter Brut right up front, and tags it with some new music from Witchcraft’s Magnus Pelander. Man, I wish I had some new rockin’ Witchcraft but I’ll take this…for now. Buke also throws in some classic Nailbomb, some killer neo old school metal with Merciless Law, and some tight new trad metal courtesy of Greyhawk.
Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offerings: Dead Register’s Don’t Fail Me and Two Brothers’ Brewing Company’s Wizard Staff.