heavy metal

The Top 3 Metal Albums of 2021

Admittedly, 2021 has been an uneventful for me in terms of my involvement with the metal scene. I have not attended a single concert and have not exactly been active on here or jumping all over a bunch of new releases. However, if you think that means that I’ve lost my passion for the genre, you’re mistaken. I simply couldn’t wrap up the year without an overview of at least a few recent releases that I have to recommend. You may recall that my top 5 list from last year was newer albums by older bands (except for one honorable mention). This year, it was the younger or somewhat younger, acts that really caught my attention.

3. Claymorean - Eulogy For the Gods

This has to be Serbian female-fronted power metal at its finest, and not just because that’s such a narrow and specific category! The album grabs your attention a quick twenty-six seconds into opening track “Hunter of the Damned” with a heavy, melodic main riff and it is easily Dejana Garcevic’s most impressive vocal performance on the record. “Battle in the Sky” will instantly remind you of Nazareth’s “Miss Misery”, but they tweak the main riff enough to give it their own take. Their songs have a great flow and structure to them, even if they do sometimes stretch the length a little more than necessary. “Spirit of Merciless Time” is my favorite track on the record, as it has such a fun and memorable hook in the chorus! The album closes with a re-recording of “Blood of the Dragon”, a ballad that they had released as a single a couple of years earlier.

2. Toledo Steel - Heading For the Fire

Remember these British metal maniacs? If the name sounds familiar, it might be because I cited their “No Quarter” album as my favorite metal album of 2018. Well, once I heard that they had a second full-length album, I knew I had to hear it. And if you want more of the chugging traditional metal riffs, high vocals, and driving rhythms that made their debut so great, then you need to jump on this release! Even just being a rehash of “No Quarter”, I still like “Heading” better. The band displays such wild energy on every song throughout the record, and you’ll notice it as soon as the record starts. Matt Dobson’s drum performance is particularly hard-hitting on closing track, “Last Rites”. “Into the Unknown” is another one of the best moments on the album!

1. Kryptos - Force of Danger

Much like my journey with Claymorean, I first discovered Indian heavy metallers Kryptos with this release. However, once I did my research, I was surprised to see that they had such an extensive back catalogue. The vocals tend to stay consistently aggressive throughout the album even when the rest of the band is taking a more harmonic direction. “Hot Wired”, a no-nonsense rager characterized by a powerful main riff, fast drumming, and repeated gang-shouts of the song’s title, is my favorite track on the album. It makes me want to go crazy, sing along, pound my fist, and repeat the track as soon as it ends. Overall, they tend to write better fast tunes than slow tunes. However, closing cut “Shadowmancer” is the best and most melodic of the record’s mid-tempo offerings!

And I can’t finish my summary of this record without saying something about the album cover. It looks like they were going for some kind of attempt to combine the “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” movie poster with Iron Maiden’s “Somewhere in Time” album artwork. Did anybody else interpret it that way? Let me know what you think about the cover art, and about these albums, in the comments section.

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Tags:  top 10ClaymoreanToledo SteelKryptosDissonance Productions

    January 01, 2022

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