Scholar of the First Sin: Hera’s Best of 2021

Best of 2021

I am the Scholar of the First Sin, and I have insight to give.

Last year, my list was short and to the point, as I spent more time listening to music that gave me respite and comfort than to new releases. This meant that, once I had more time on my hands, I was finally able to go out and see what I had missed. The fact that I can’t include Dark Tranquility’s Moment, an album that deserves more attention, on this list because it came out last year fucking kills me.

Despite the Omicron variant (at this time) destroying all hope for a small sense of normalcy, 2021 was an absolutely fantastic year for music. After many bands either couldn’t tour because of the onset of the pandemic or postponed a lot of their releases, this year provided us with new music, which meant that a lot of vetting had to happen in order for me to make this list. After graduation, I suddenly had more time than I ever had to do with and decided to dive deep into what I had been ignoring for the better part of five months.

Welcome to EOY list season!

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CANTO: Swallow the Sun, Behemoth, Mystic Circle, and More

So out of the all the epic new material that dropped today, what has everyone been listening to?

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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Angst and Loss in Acceptance: A Discussion of Swallow the Sun — “Moonflowers”

Swallow The Sun - Moonflowers

When I first started writing this piece, I thought I would end up writing a review where I would discuss how Moonflowers, Swallow the Sun’s newest release, was a departure from the grief we saw and heard previously. However, the more I listened, the more this evolved into something that needed to be discussed within the context of going through the stages of grief. I also felt that it was appropriate to make a call back to a piece I wrote many years ago that also dealt with doom metal and loss, but in a translated context. After all, being constantly surrounded by pain, grief, and loss makes someone introspective and reflective of where they are in this current time. This is the case with Moonflowers, an album that shows that hope and acceptance can bloom from the darkest of places.

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CANTO: Venom Prison, Swallow The Sun, The Lurking Fear, and More

I have returned from the desert of Joshua Trees, and it was awesome.

  • We can start with Venom Prison, who announced February 4th as the release date of their new album. Erebos will be out through Century Media, and you can check out the artwork here. We’ll help you keep an eye out for pre-order information and new music as it comes around.
  • This is going to be a Century Media-heavy day. Next up is Swallow The Sun, who shared more new material from Moonflowers. That album is out on November 19th, but check out the fresh clip for “Enemy” right here. They’ll also be on tour here in the U.S. next month, which is awesome.
  • Hardcore punk collective American Nightmare have announced Background Music 20th anniversary tour dates. There are eight dates slated for this run, split between the two coasts, and tickets go on sale this coming Friday at this location.
  • Of Mice & Men came at us with an album announcement and new video today. Echo is out on December 3rd through Sharptone, and the clip for “Fighting Gravity” is out… right now!
  • And the last item from Century Media today is brought to you by The Lurking Fear. The video for “Death Reborn” can be viewed directly below. That track is taken from Death, Madness, Horror, Decay, which drops on November 19th.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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CANTO: Der Weg einer Freiheit, Converge, Swallow the Sun, and More

Today has been a suboptimal day for my allergies.

  • If it wasn’t already obvious, I’m really excited about the new Der Weg einer Freiheit album. So we’ll start with this immersive VR video for “Monument”. Noktvrn is set for a November 19th release through Season of Mist.
  • And then we’ll hop over to Converge, who have announced a new collaborative album, Bloodmoon: 1. That project will feature the likes of Chelsea Wolfe, Ben Chisholm, and Stephen Brodsky, which is awesome. That’s also a November 19th release, through Epitaph Records. Check out the lead track, “Blood Moon”, right here.
  • Swallow the Sun have announced a U.S. tour scheduled for this coming November and December. Support will be in the form of Abigail Williams and Wilderun, but unfortunately there are no dates near me. That said, this is an awesome bill and you should all go.
  • Extinction A.D. have signed on with Unique Leader, and have announced a new EP titled Chaos, Collusion, Carnage & Propaganda. That will be out on November 5th, and you can stream “Chaos” immediately below.

“Ein Bier… bitte.”
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