Lists are fun, but the gatekeeping in the metal community can be wild. Here’s hoping no one gets mad at my awful music taste. This is my final music year-end list, before I conclude my 2021 reflections with my limited cinematic experiences in due time. x
10. Alien Weaponry – Tangaroa
Tū was no fluke. Tangaroa follows through on Alien Weaponry‘s continued promise of heavy thrash metal that fans of veterans like Sepultura and Testament would relish, and relentlessly spirited energy that infects the dullest of crowds.
Alternating between English and their native tongue, the young band keeps their brand of metal fresh with the welcome influences of their Māori heritage. When the grooves do begin to blend, one standout track Unforgiving dares break out of the formula, slowing down for emotions stripped bare.
2021 has been done for a while now. It’s about due time to round up some of the best in music and film, all in the name of fun. While there are definitely more than a dozen great rock albums last year, I have whittled them down to my 10 favourites.
10. Daughtry – Dearly Beloved
His days of reality TV far behind him, Chris Daughtry continues to prove the judges so hopelessly wrong for leaving him in fourth place. His eponymous band Daughtry is now onto their sixth album Dearly Beloved, which marks an outstanding return to his roots in rock.
Perhaps it is the creative liberity that he has earned, breaking free of a major label and latching onto his own. Whatever happened was for the best; this feels like a breakout album in many ways, possessing a much needed intensity that seemed missing in his former releases.
Much of modern blues rock tend to be drowned out by distortion and amplified volume. Not that the cartharsis isn’t its own merit, or that it is in any way, a problem at all. Still, it feels refreshing to enjoy a quieter genre performance in its barest form with nothing but an acoustic guitar, as though belonging to a different decade.
Such raw and unrestrained music necessitates utmost control, which is on full display in Geiger von Müller’s collection. Ruby Red Run! thrives on his impressive technique as the guitarist demonstrates his rare flair for articulations, approaching each note with deliberate intent. Fuelled by verve, his latest single Real Great Escape is a perfect showcase of that:
If I were to name the very best moments of my life, getting to see Rival Sons live in Derby would definitely make its way on there. The experience of finally watching my favourite band in person was indescribable and absolutely irreplicable.
So when they announced Pair of Aces – two nights of live performances on screen, the tickets were an easy decision. I might’ve been screaming before waiting impatiently for the day to arrive.
Last weekend (or 5am on a Sunday morning here), the band finally performed Before the Fire in its entirety, the album that started it all. It was exactly what the concert-deprived me needed. (In fact, I was so amped up I had to write about it.)
Introducing Heavyman, kicking off the list with their first EP comprising six killer tracks. Before this, the London-based band has already made waves last year with riff-driven singles Pigs and Baby Jean that any fans of classic rock would be loath to miss. Equally catchy as hell, the remaining new bangers only add to the excitement for these emerging rock n’ rollers to watch.
After another unintended break due to life beyond the Internet, here lies the final list that may allude to the year we would love to forget. Enjoy disagreeing with my personal favourites!
10. Wolf – Feeding the Machine
Six years after their last album Devil Seed, Swedish metallers Wolf returns with a brand new line-up to full throttle with Feeding the Machine. Frontman Niklas Stålvind is the last original bandmate standing, anchoring the group with his signature vocal that fortunately hits all the right notes.
The infectious energy doesn’t quite match that of their best work in Ravenous and Evil Star, with which they might have peaked too early. For the most part though, the song remains the same as the solos speed on while the riffs charge forth.