As part of our annual LISTMANIA series we re-publish “best album” lists from some of the the few surviving print publications that cover metal, and from a handful of “big platform” sites that include metal in their on-line coverage, along with a range of other music genres and other aspects of popular culture.
Of course, as soon as you see the words “popular culture” you know those lists aren’t going to devote too much attention to the kind of music we cover at NCS. But it’s still amusing, and sometimes even edifying, to get a glimpse of what these “taste-making” organs are telling the more above-ground world are the year’s best metal releases.
Today Revolver magazine published their list of the “25 Best Albums of 2021” on-line. Revolver claims that “millions of passionate consumers” visit their website and view their videos across desktop and mobile; that the print edition is the “biggest hard-rock and metal magazine in North America,” with a subscriber base that’s three times larger than the “next biggest U.S. metal print publication”; and that they have a “highly engaged social following with over 1B impressions per month across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.”
As in previous years there’s likely a temptation among our readers to respond with at least a bit of snarkiness after perusing this list. But if you happen to be unfamiliar with Revolver, you’ll notice from one of those quotations that they cover hard rock as well as metal, which will be evident from a review of this new list (there’s a lot of metalcore on the list too). And of course they triangulate their choices to their own readership, and perhaps to advertisers who pay their bills. So it’s not really a revelation or a fair criticism to note that the list is unlikely to open your eyes to some new underground metal gem you haven’t heard of.
Having said that, the list does include some records we’ve reviewed here at NCS in glowing terms, and others we didn’t review but are worth checking out (e.g., Slaughter To Prevail‘s album happens to be one of my personal guilty pleasures this year) — along with albums that really don’t belong on a Top 25 list, or that appear higher in these rankings than they should, but are associated with big popular names. I also confess, as I have before, that the write-ups accompanying each record at Revolver have in some cases intrigued me enough about some things I haven’t heard that I’m going to at least give them a taste-test. You can check out those write-ups HERE.
With only two entries in the part of LISTMANIA where we re-publish lists by mags and “big platform” sites, it might be too soon to begin developing a mental list of this year’s “usual suspects”, but I’ll nevertheless observe that the following bands made both the Revolver list and Decibel’s year-end list: Frozen Soul, Carcass, Gatecreeper, Full of Hell, Iron Maiden, and the Bloodmoon: I collaboration between Converge and Chelsea Wolfe.
25. Frozen Soul – Crypt of Ice
24. Slaughter to Prevail – Kostolom
23. SeeYouSpaceCowboy – The Romance of Affliction
22. Full of Hell – Garden of Burning Apparitions
21. Carcass – Torn Arteries
20. Various Artists – Dark Nights: Death Metal Soundtrack
19. Employed to Serve – Conquering
18. Whitechapel – Kin
17. Pupil Slicer – Mirrors
16. Poorstacy – Party at the Cemetery
15. The Armed – Ultrapop
14. Gatecreeper – An Unexpected Reality
13. The Devil Wears Prada – ZII
12. Architects – For Those Who Wish to Exist
11. Jinjer – Wallflowers
10. Dying Wish – Fragments of a Bitter Memory
9. Poppy – EAT (NXT Soundtrack)
8. Knocked Loose – A Tear in the Fabric of Life
7. Iron Maiden – Senjutsu
6. Converge – Bloodmoon: 1
5. Mastodon – Hushed and Grim
4. Every Time I Die – Radical
3. Turnstile – Glow On
2. Spiritbox – Eternal Blue
1. Gojira – Fortitude
The number one pick is fine with me.
We have drifted away from writing about Gojira, I think because they have become so famous, but I thoroughly enjoy their new album.
Well…I mean, congratulations to Revolver for actually knowing 4 or 5 metal bands. That’s something, I guess
The Mastodon will appear on a number of year-end worst-of lists too?: maybe my own…
#2 on my list of worst and most boring albums of 2021!
This is why I generally avoid sites like revolver. There are some good picks in this list, unfortunately there are some (SPIRITBOX I’M LOOKING AT YOU) seriously A$$ picks as well.
I’ll go on record and say that the #3 album started as a guilty pleasure album for me but has become one of my favorite albums of the year. In the midst of the dark ugly cavern of my musical listening, I’m more than happy to Glow On.
One ok album in that list. #22
What a garbage list overall. I’m not trying to discredit any band no matter the genre, but in a year as prolific as 2021, this is the best you can come up with?