Monday, December 6, 2021

the Top 10 Death Metal albums of 2021

Given the state of the world we need death metal more than ever. Death is something to be celebrated not feared and these albums help provide a soundtrack for that celebration. I do not like death metal that is too technical or only heavy, so these bands all went above and beyond.   Ok now that that is out of the way, much like in years past sort through the genre lists before making the overall top ten of the year list. The fact these artists made it on the list speaks to how great these albums are, so it's not a slight that the number 8 album is above the 9th album, there is something that just gives it an edge that makes me want to listen to it more. After all we can try to look cool and pick the hippest bands for a list, but at the end of the day what makes an album the best is that it makes you want more, you look forward to listening to it again. Sure, you can bitch and complain about your favorite band not being on the list. However, I listen to five new albums a day so yes, I heard your favorite album and was not impressed. No, I do not care what you think about it. I do hope you can find your next favorite on this list and have included links to reviews of these albums if you want to check out audio on these guys. Anyways here are the top death metal albums of 2021

10-VHS- "I Heard They Suck... Blood" 

 Of course, I am going to like a death metal album about vampires, not as spooky as I wanted it to be, which is why this is more of an honorable mention, but the songs are catchy and fun.

9-Asphyx - "Necroceros" 

This is1 the 10th album by this band from the Netherlands who is not drastically changing anything. They are straight up by the books death metal.  Old school to the point their sound brings back the crossroads where death metal sprung from thrash, these guys are the real deal as they have at it since 91 and clearly perfected this aggression into hooky songwriting.  


8-Blindfolded and Led to the Woods - "Nightmare Withdrawals" 

The band from New Zealand succeeds in not sounding like any other death metal band I have covered this month which is an accomplishment. Some of this is thanks to the helter skelter angular riffs they throw at you from every direction. It is progressive but in more of a math rock way than wanky shredding.


7- Carcass- "Torn Arteries" 

This album is a return to form. I was not too thrilled by their 2013 comeback album "Surgical Steel"  When you are a legend like these guys are you have to do better than that.  we know they are never going to be a grind core band again like they were on "Reek of ...", nor do I need them to be. "Necroticism" is my favorite album by them, but it's no longer 1991 . I am more impressive when they bring riffs that have a little more groove to them,

Abysmal Hymns: Carcass : "Torn Arteries"

  6-Hundred Headless Horsemen - "Apokalepsia"

Of all the bands this one might be the most different. There are progressive elements in the atmosphere being kicked up here. The overt battery of ear drums is perhaps dialed back a little, but they are making some beautiful dark music, more prog than I bargained for, but really well done 


5- Bridgeburner- "Disempath" 

This band from New Zealand is heavily influenced by hard core, we might call this death core but they have nothing to do with the terrible Myspace styled bands who coined the term, they are not only heavier and more aggressive than those kinds of bands but much better songwriters as well. 



4-Crypt Crawler - "Future Usurper" 

Right from the bass intro they have my ear because they are not opening this going for the throat. It is not to say they are not capable of doing that they just bring more to the table. I suppose this would fall under progressive death metal, though they are not too mathy or wanky. They are a tightly coiled aggression machine with all the hooks that old school thrash used to dish out but run from a filter of classic death metal. They keep this big epic maximum head banging momentum


3- Hooded Menace - "the Tritonus Bell" 

 This band from Finland never struck me over the course of their careers so far as being as creative in the song writing department as they have so midway into the first song of this album. The have really paid more attention to their guitar melodies without becomes cheesy melo-death. The low guttural vocals could always turn into the one-dimensional element that shoots this inspiration down as the album progresses so we will see.   


2- Ruin - "Spread Plague Death " 

They come back nastier and grimmer on the title track of their new album. I really love "Human Annihilation". It had a very tangible hate to it's sound. In the time of metal growing kinder and gentler I need it to be more hateful. These miscreants deliver. It is not until a few songs in that things pick up into the faster pounding most death metal is known for. They have not gotten any softer and it is still just as effective when they go from the jack hammer into a more deliberate crunch. All too often heaviness seems to sacrifice a willingness to care about song writing yet here we are with the most dismally gurgled vocals and the songs still have me engaged. 

 1-Hypocrisy- "Worship"

The 90s never left. This is the vibe I get from the first album in over a decade from one of Sweden's best death metal acts. I first got into them back in 1994 with the 'Fourth Dimension" album. They were ahead of the curve when it came to lyrics dealing with alien conspiracies. Their experience as song writers prevails and makes this better than what a younger band eager to prove how heavy they are would do. Lyrically it is very fitting for the past year so wish it had come out earlier but will take it

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