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The 21 Top Albums of 2021

Accept: Too Mean to Die

It’s about time we had some thrash on this list, right? The German band have been going on and off for over four-and-a-half decades at this point, releasing a total of 16 studio albums. Their latest, Too Mean to Die, is awesome. From the balls-to-the-wall intro track to the more glam-oriented ‘Overnight Sensation’ to a couple of slower tracks, Accept show their wide versatility an awesome song writing. I believe I gave it an 8/10 upon its release!

Volbeat: Servant of the Mind

Very much a return to form for the Danish metallers. After a lighter, rather lackluster previous album, Servant of the Mind returns the heaviness and shows that Volbeat very much still have it. Highlights include ‘Becoming’, ‘Wait a Minute my Girl’ (I can’t believe it still keeps growing on me), ‘Sacred Stones’ and the awesome ‘Shotgun Blues’. 8.5/10

The Review

Inglorious: We Will Ride

Another return to form, in my eyes. I wasn’t the hugest fan of Inglorious’ second and third albums, but damn if their fourth offering isn’t awesome. Tracks like ‘Messiah’, ‘Medusa’ and ‘Cruel Intentions’ are all amazing, showing off a more mature, slightly heavier side of the band. I hope this is their sound moving forward as they are back on track to be Britain’s breakout rock band in a few years! 8.5/10

Read the review here.

Gojira: Fortitude

Of course this made this list. It had to, it’s Gojira. The band that are yet to put out a bad album keep that streak going with Fortitude. Epic, crushing riffs combine with an at times slightly more radio-friendly sound and vocal delivery to make this one of the best metal albums of the year. Tracks like ‘Amazonia’, ‘The Chant’ and ‘Sphinx’ are all a must to check out if you are into the heavy stuff! 9/10

The Review

Evanescence: The Bitter Truth

A band who always leave pretty substantial gaps between their albums, this one felt worth the wait. The album highlights a band that now feel confident in their sound for the first time in a while. Tracks such as ‘Yeah Right’, ‘Use My Voice’ and the hauntingly beautiful ‘Wasted on You’ are all massive highlights, the but the album is arguably full of highs. 8/10

The Review

Iron Maiden: Senjutsu

Talk about a band comfortable in their sound. I have been a massive fan of the band for most of my life and am a big advocate of their 2000s albums. This is another corker. Be it the shorter ‘Stratego’ or the longer epics of ‘Death of the Celts’ and ‘Lost in a Lost World’, there is a LOT to love on this album. While for some it may be a bit of a slog, 81 minutes across two discs, it is well worth the listen. It may be one of my favourite albums from the band, or at least up there in the top five! 9/10

Read the review!

Chevelle: Niratias

A band that have been quietly putting out stellar albums over the last 20 years or so, Chevelle may have topped them all with Niratias. From the opening note to the closing one, this was incredible. The best album they have ever done, hence why they got a 9.5/10

The Review

Trivium: Court of the Dragon

Somehow the best album they have put out in years, even though I have now said that about their last three. Sin and Sentence was great, Dead Men was amazing and then Court of the Dragon somehow tops them both. With tracks like the title one, ‘Shadow of the Abattoir’ and ‘The Phalanx’, this very well be the best album the band have ever done. It’s at the very least my favourite by them, even beating out Shotgun. 9.5/10

The Review

The Pretty Reckless: Death By Rock and Roll

An album that has definitely grown on me, TPR’s fourth studio album is actually damn good. I (Joe) was pretty harsh on it upon its release, while Charlotte was a big fan, hence the joint review. Even the singles have grown on me, as well as the lighter album tracks, making it a pretty solid, well rounded album. The band have really come into their own with this release and it shows in a big way. I’d happily bump the score up to a 7.5/10

Ice Nine Kills: Welcome to Horrorwood

My album of the year, and a perfect album based on my review score. I stand by it, too, and anyone who tries to tell me otherwise can fight me. From the four singles of the album to blistering tracks like ‘Ex Mortis’, ‘Rash Decision’ and the insanely heavy ‘Take Your Pick’, it is a 50-minute long masterclass in metal, and once again feels like a genre of its own. After Silver Scream was so hard to top, I thought for sure this would be a comedown, but it somehow builds on things even more. I’ve seen nowhere near enough love for this album from the mainstream press, while fans are crying out for them to be massive. 10/10

The Review

What did you think of our list? Do you agree with them all? Did we miss any? Let us know over at our Instagram here.

The 21 Top Albums of 2021

So with the end of the year fast approaching and a whole host of albums already announced for the next (a few of which you can check out here), we thought it was about time to look back on the last year and how amazing it has truly been for rock music. While the live music scene is still a little stop start, there have been some tremendous studio releases over the last 12 months. Heck, we’ve reviewed a lot of them! So, given that it is still 2021 for another week or so, we thought it was only fitting to bring you a list of 21 of the best rock albums of 2021.

P.S. these are in no particular order, given that we couldn’t really decide on one together!

Offspring: Let the Bad Times Roll

A return after nearly a decade from the pop-punk icons saw a real return to form, too. With fantastic singles like the title track and ‘Coming For You’, the band felt reinvigorated for the first time since Rise and Fall. Add into it a great, stripped back rendition of ‘Gone Away’ and you have an awesome album! It got a 7.5/10 from me!

Check out our review of the album here.

Florida Georgia Line: Life Rolls On

Okay, so technically not a rock album (there may be more), bro-country mega-stars Florida Georgia Line released a damn solid album this year. It’s just rock enough to qualify for this list and while yes, it’s mass produced radio-country, just watch the video below and just try to tell me it isn’t catchy. Check out the album if you like country at all! I gave it an 8/10

Unknown Refuge: From the Darkness

Our good friends from Unknown Refuge put out their debut album this year, and it was amazing. It was straight forward heavy metal with just a tinge of metalcore and it worked perfectly. From ‘To the Light’ to ‘Battle Hymn’ to ‘Palace Walls’ the album is brimming with awesome stuff, hence why it makes this list with ease! It’s an 8/10 from me!

Check out our interview with the guys here.

Jerry Cantrell: Brighten

Another album with slight country leanings, although it is definitely more rock than FGL. The Alice In Chains guitarist has always had leanings towards this style of music, just look at Jar of Flies. However, I would argue this does it even better than that record. Cantrell’s vocals sound as fantastic as ever and really fit with the lighter, blues-drive music. An awesome record for any light rock fans out there! It got a whopping 9/10 from me!

Foo Fighters: Medicine at Midnight

A definite grower for me. The album came out before Overtone became a thing but there is a review of it floating around on my laptop still. It received a pretty harsh 4/10 from me, when in actual fact I’d probably bump it up to a solid 6.5/10, maybe a 7 at a push. My main critique at the time was that it wasn’t as heavy as I like Foo Fighters being. I think that still very much stands, but there are still some good tracks on here regardless, like the fantastic one below!

Bullet For My Valentine: Bullet For My Valentine

The title for most creative album title they will not be winning, but for comeback of the year this is definitely up there. It’s a return to heaviness for the Welsh quartet after a commercially panned lighter previous album, and it works perfectly. Highlights are the singles but honestly there isn’t a bad track on it. I gave it 8/10

Read the review here.

Florence Black: WEIGHT OF THE WORLD

Another smaller band that put out a phenomenal debut album this year. Welsh NWOCRers Florence Black showed the world this year that they have what it takes to be the next big thing. Tracks like ‘SUN & MOON’ and ‘ZULU’ are amazing and a big reason why it got an 8.5/10 from me!

Review here.

Rise Against: Nowhere Generation

It should surprise no-one that the modern-day punk icons Rise Against put out another great album this year. The veteran band have been on a fantastic run of albums all the way back to 2004s Siren Song, in this writers opinion, and Nowhere Generation adds to that lineage very well. Tracks like ‘The Numbers’ and ‘Forfeit’ really show off the bands range, and while it is a formula and sound they use every album, it has somehow not yet got old.

The Review

Bo Burnham: Inside

Another album that is not at all rock, but how could I exclude it? For anyone who is a fan of music, comedy or drama I cannot recommend watching the Netflix special enough, but the music in of itself is fantastic. The story of Bo finally feeling confident enough in himself after a 5 year absence in order to perform again and then locks himself alone in his small pool house for months on end, slowly going from confident, wacky and glad-to-be-back comedian to a manic depressive terrified that the world will still judge him is nothing short of extraordinary. It’s hilarious, heart-breaking and mesmerising all at the same time. See this out and watch it ASAP, even if you’ve already seen it before. 10/10.

Tetrarch: Unstable

The flag-bearers of a new wave of nu-metal, Tetrarch put out their second album earlier this year. Unstable is full of huge riffs, catchy vocal melodies and enough breakdowns to keep even the heaviest of metal fans going. If they keep going like this they will be one of the biggest bands in the future of metal, hence why I gave them an 8/10.

The album’s review

Thunder: All The Right Noises

Whoever says they don’t like Thunder is lying to you. The band have put out some of the best glam/sleaze rock out there, they just had the disadvantage of hitting their peak in the UK in the 90s. However, I would put All the Right Noises up there with Backstreet Symphony, it is really that good. Tracks like the opener, ‘Destruction’ an ‘You’re Gonna be my Girl’ are infectiously catchy and some of the highlights of a solid album. Check this out if you liked any of their other stuff! 8.5/10

The 10 Most Anticipated Albums of 2022

2021 was a massive year for rock music. As the world came out of the pandemic (for the most part) and people could get together again, we got a massive slew of fantastic rock and metal albums being release, from the start of the year right on through to the end. From huge bands like Iron Maiden and Gojira to some of the smaller bands, it has been an impressive, high-quality year for music. A lot had been highly anticipated albums given that most had been pushed back a year.

However, next year doesn’t look like it’ll be any different. With a slew of albums already fully announced as well as many that are teased, hinted at or don’t have a set release date, next year definitely has some stuff to get excited about. We thought we’d give you a brief rundown of some of our favourites and list our most anticipated albums of next year. Check it out and let us know which you can’t wait for the most!

But first, a few honourable mentions: Billy Talent, Slash, Placebo, Anthrax, Ghost, Megadeth and Stereophonics.

Avenged Sevenfold: Untitled

An album that has been teased for a good year now, yet outside of the fact that it is coming we know very little about it. The follow-up to 2016’s masterful The Stage, whatever they have up their sleeves it will most likely be completely different to what came before but equally awesome. It has been so long since we have seen much activity from the band at all, especially here in the UK, so a new album has been on the wish-list of fans for a few years now!

Halestorm: Untitled

Another album announced but not yet titled or dated, but at least this one has its first single out for it! ‘Back From the Dead’ was a fantastic re-introduction to the band, and their first new music since 2018. While the only other hint of a release date is ‘early 2022’, that if anything only adds to the anticipation. The band did some fun stuff on social media leading up to the single dropping, and you’ve only got to imagine they’d do the same for the full album, too.

Check out our coverage of the single here.

Stone Broken: Revelation

Time to throw in something that’s actually all confirmed, don’t you think? British hard rockers Stone Broken are set to return with their third studio album 15th April. If it’s anything like their last two, their fans are in for a treat. The band are yet to release any tracks from it, but we are waiting rather impatiently. I’m sure when they do it will surely be awesome, too!

Korn: Requiem

Even sooner than that is the release of the nu-metal originals 14th studio album, Requiem. Arriving at the very start of February, we have gotten a taster of it already with ‘Start the Healing’. It’s a fantastic track, though the band have a lot to live up to after 2019s The Nothing. The band have been on a run of form as of late, ever since The Paradigm Shift really, so there is no reason to think this is going to be anything less than great. We can’t wait to hear it!

Frank Turner: FTHC

Another February album, punk-rock mainstay Frank Turner is releasing his 9th studio album on the 11th. While his last album was a little slower and stripped-back, focusing more on acoustic stuff, from the sounds of the lead single this one brings him right back to his rocky sound. I am personally very excited, the man writes lyrics better than almost anyone, so this is easily one of my most anticipated albums!

Shinedown: Untitled

Another album that has an announcement of being finished and out by early 2022 with no release date or single penned is the follow-up to 2018s Attention Attention. This is an interesting one for me, as anyone who knows me knows I have not been a fan of the last couple of Shinedown albums. However, with Brent promising a return to a more basic, rock-oriented sound, they definitely now actually have my attention (yes, pun indented). If they put something out akin to their first four albums, I could see it as an early album of the year contender easy.

Animals As Leaders: Parrhesia

How could I not include this album after the insane song and video they put out for it a couple of months back (below)? The instrumental, experimental metal band have always been at the forefront of incredible musicianship, but this looks to be taking things to an even higher level. And LOOK AT THE DANCING GUYS? HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE THIS?

Zeal & Ardor: Self Titled

A band that I had not even heard of before getting a subscription to Primordial Radio, I now cannot escape them or get enough of them. The Swiss avant-garde metal band are set to release their third album on February 11th (busy day, I know), and I for one cannot wait. They may not be for everyone, but their interesting blend of styles makes for one hell of a listen!

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Untitled

Another one that has been teased is the funk/pop-rock legends’ 12th studio album. After their last album, The Getaway, felt like a rather large dip in quality, the return of their former guitarist and song writing aficionado John Frusciante to the band after a decades absence has sent the hype for this album through the roof. The last album he was on, Stadium Arcadium, hit #1 in 10+ countries. Can they replicate that success again with this release?

Slipknot: Look Outside Your Window/Untitled

A cheeky wildcard entry to finish off, I know. Yep, that’s right, not one but TWO new Slipknot albums could hit shelves next year. While they put out a single a month or so ago and Corey had spoken about how the whole album is nearly done, a release date has not yet been confirmed. Look Outside Your Window, however, is even more intriguing to me. An album of B-sides from when they recorded All Hope Is Gone (one of my favourite albums from the band and the first tour I saw them live on), it’s the half of the album that was lighter and more experimental than the rest, hence why it didn’t make the cut. The album has been spoken about since AHIG’s 2008 release, with various plans for release over the years. Will it finally see the light of day next year? Man, we hope so!

And there we have it. Were there any we missed? Let us know on our Facebook here if we did!